Do you know when you are ovulating?….

The importance of tracking ovulation

Understanding and getting to know your cycles is so important, not only for women wishing to conceive but to understand your body even before you decide it’s time to start a family.

Monitoring our cycles can indicate when you’re most fertile and how that can change over the course of your menstrual cycle. For women which are ready to conceive, knowing when ovulation is approaching and being able to detect exactly when ovulation happens is key for maximising your chances of conception. Likewise, with the right training, monitoring your cycles correctly can support those who are trying to prevent pregnancy when taught correctly (rather than use synthetic birth control).

When trying to conceive, detecting ovulation is critical and this is a very short window after your period, where your egg is released and is the best time to try for a baby. To maximise your baby-making chances, it’s advised to have sex on the three days before you ovulate and on the day of (if you can!).

Detecting ovulation can be an incredibly detailed process or fairly easy depending on the tool chosen.

Methods to track ovulation explained

Ovulation Calculator 

An ovulation calculator is an easy and fast way to find out when you’re ovulating.  There are many websites that provide an ovulation calculator free of charge. You just need to enter the first day of your menstrual period and the length of your cycle (how many days are in your cycle) into the pre-programmed calculator. The ovulation calculator will then estimate your fertile days and is able to estimate your due date if you get pregnant during this time frame. However, if your periods are irregular, it’s wise to take your results with a pinch of salt.

Basal Body Temperature (BBT) 

You can time ovulation by charting your menstrual cycle.  Combining multiple methods of charting can greatly help you to determine if you are ovulating. Charting helps know if and when you may be ovulating, which will help you know the best time to conceive. In addition to detecting your most fertile days, it can help with the timing of your supplements or seed cycling, while also helping you keep on track. You can also monitor your progress. Keeping a chart, either written or online will help you to map out your entire cycle. This gives you a window into the inner workings of your fertility, especially your hormone fluctuation.

How do you use a BBT chart to detect ovulation?

This does require a little bit of dedication. You’ll need to use a digital BBT thermometer, a special type that tracks temperature changes to a tenth of a degree).

  • Take your temperature:

To create an accurate basal body temperature chart, take your temperature first thing every morning at the same time (plus or minus no more than 30 minutes). Use a digital BBT thermometer as soon as you wake up. You need to have had at least three to four straight hours of sleep before taking your temperature. If you stayed up all night, or you woke up and walked around at night repeatedly, it will throw off your results. Do it while you’re still lying down and resting before you do anything else — even sitting up, talking, or taking a sip of water, to not skew results. You should use the same thermometer throughout the cycle. (If you buy a new one, start using it on day one of the next cycle.)

  • Record your temperature:

Plot your temperature on the BBT chart or record the data in a BBT app. If you’re using a smart BBT thermometer, your temperature can be stored on your phone automatically. The higher your basal temperature, the more likely you are to be ovulating. Your BBT rises about half a degree immediately after ovulation, so if the increase has held steady for three days or more, it’s safe to assume that you’ve ovulated.

  • Look for a pattern:

Once you have been charting for a few months you should start to detect a pattern of temperatures which includes highs and lows. You can use this information to predict when you’ll ovulate during your next cycle. 

Ovulation usually happens a day or two before your BBT rises. (For instance, if your BBT increase happens on day 16 of your cycle each month, you’re probably ovulating on day 14 or 15.) Plan to have intercourse one or two days before, during, and after ovulation. (Sperm can hang around for a few days waiting for the egg to show up.)

Fertility Apps 

There are plenty of fertility apps available which can help you determine when the best time to try for a baby. Usually, you will need to input your BBT and your discharge changes. These apps will learn with your cycle – the more you use them, the better!

Tests are available that include a BBT thermometer and tracking mechanism. Examples include the Femometer Vinca and Natural Cycles. The most sophisticated among them include a Bluetooth thermometer and app that allow for easier tracking.

Simply using the thermometer you have at home and an ovulation-predicting app, may be a solution as well. Some apps include Kindara, Fertility Friend, Ovia, Glow, Flo, and Clue.

What if my cycles are irregular, have PCOS, or I work night shifts?

In addition to my personal experience with PCOS, I recommend you look into OvuSense, developed by fertility specialists for use in home and clinic. OvuSense technology is backed by 3 clinical studies, 9 peer-reviewed publications, and 10 patents. OvuSense is the only fertility monitoring solution on the market with full regulatory approval in USA (510k), Europe (CE), Canada, and Australia.

The OvuSense choices

If you’re looking for the ultimate in ovulation monitoring accuracy, or you know you have an ovulatory issue, OvuCore sensor might be the choice for you.

If you’re already talking to a doctor or functional practitioner or plan to see one soon, then adding the OvuSense Pro will help screen for common ovulatory issues and track any treatment you may receive.

  • Measure what matters

Unlike monitoring with luteinizing hormone (LH), by measuring the minute fluctuations in temperature caused by progesterone, OvuSense is able to both track when you are about to ovulate and confirm that you did. By measuring with OvuSense you don’t need to use other devices at home for your fertility tracking.

  • Tested and Trusted

I am living proof of this! In addition to implementing nutritional therapy, OvuSense was such a valuable part of my journey whilst trying to conceive, it took out so much guesswork. Apart from my personal success with OvuSense, many users (to include my clients) have been successful and have learnt so much about their bodies.

  • 8-day fertile window

OvuCore is ideal if you’ve been trying for some time, giving you 99% accuracy for confirming the exact day of ovulation, and also provides a full 8-day fertile window at the start of the next cycle.

  • Live 24-hour advance ovulation prediction

OvuSense offers a range of monitors from just starting out to remote monitoring by the clinic. The unique OvuCore sensor can be used to alert you up to 24-hours before you ovulate based on your in-cycle data, meaning it works even if you have irregular cycles or PCOS. OvuCore is clinically proven to correctly predict ovulation in cycle 96% of the time.

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Charting cervical mucus 

Before you started trying for a baby, you probably paid absolutely no attention to monthly changes in your vaginal discharge. But this is actually a very important sign that your body is ready to conceive. Your vaginal discharge changes from being cloudy and quite thick or even non-existent after your period to clear and slippery, increasing in volume and wateriness as you near ovulation.  What you’re looking for is the mucus that is a bit like raw egg white. An abundant watery mucus makes it easier for the sperm to swim up through the cervix to the waiting egg.

  • Ovulation predictor strips

These ovulation predictor tests are very similar to pregnancy tests, but instead of telling you if you are or aren’t pregnant, they tell you when you are ovulating. These test sticks or strips react with the urine, and you will get a result based on colour changes or digital readings. One of the hormones detected by these tests is luteinizing hormone (LH), which indicates your body is trying to release an egg.

Using an ovulation test kit to help pinpoint fertile times for conception may not give you reliable results if you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The problems with the accuracy of these tests for women with PCOS stems from what all PCOS challenges do—abnormal hormone levels.

It is important to note, if you have PCOS, you may have a constant high level or multiple peaks of luteinizing hormone or oestrogen for the expected peaks around ovulation. Therefore, results can falsely reflect whether or not you have ovulated.

  • Saliva ferning test;

Saliva ferning test is not well-known, but definitely worth a go for some women. This type of ovulation tracker is an at-home test that uses a microscope to check your saliva. It relies on a phenomenon in which dried saliva may form a fern-shaped pattern when your oestrogen level is high, as can happen around the time of ovulation.

If you have a consistently high level of oestrogen due to PCOS, this test may be even less likely to be useful for predicting ovulation.

Fertility Awareness Method (FAM)

The Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) offers a natural alternative to medical contraception methods that is both safe and very effective. The Fertility Awareness Method teaches women how to develop a deep awareness of their fertility by observing their personal menstrual cycles, identifying their most fertile time, all while committing to building a respectful relationship with their body. Rather than suppress and ignore the menstrual cycle, the goal with FAM is to teach women how to recognize their hormonal signals in order to become experts on their fertility. Appropriate training by a specialist is required.

What If You’re Not Ovulating?

One of the advantages of charting is you can see whether you are ovulating. Signs on your chart that may indicate that you’re not ovulating include…

• Irregular cycles

• Cycles that are abnormally long or short

• No sustained rise in temperature

• Extremely short “luteal phase” (like less than 9 days)

• No fertile cervical mucus days (though there may be other reasons for this)

If you’re not ovulating or you are ovulating irregularly, it may indicate a possible infertility risk. 

The good news is, in addition to seeking medical advice, as a fertility Nutritional Therapist, I can support you on a personal level in order to assist you on your journey whilst trying to conceive. I would love to be part of your journey. Contact me link