Accurate and reliable cycle tracking methods, such as hormonal observation, can help letting you know when exactly your ovulation and the best time to get pregnant is. For optimal predictions though, you can also observe the following symptoms of ovulation:
A pain in the lower abdomen can occur because of a burst of the egg released during the time of ovulation. During that time, women can feel slight or heavy cramping which lasts from minutes to hours. If you are experiencing severe, long-lasting pain, it is recommended to refer to a doctor who may perform an abdominal or pelvic examination in order to rule out other possible causes of pain such as endometriosis, fibroids or ovarian cysts.
Increased sexual desire
Several studies have found that women experience an increase in sexual desire when they are most fertile, around the time of ovulation. This is explained to happen because of a rise of estradiol levels, which cause some women to have an increased sex drive.
Some women experience tenderness in their breasts around ovulation. This can sometimes be confusing, as breast tenderness is also one of the first pregnancy symptoms. In both conditions, it relates to the changes of hormone levels in your body, getting ready for ovulation or for a potential pregnancy.
Headache or Nausea
Unfortunately, some women may experience nausea and/or headaches during ovulation. The changes of estrogen and progesterone levels during ovulation are the cause of these symptoms you experience during this period.
Cervical mucus changes
Cervical mucus, also known as cervical fluid (CF) is a natural and normal substance that is produced by glands in your cervix which is released into the vagina. The appearance and consistency of cervical mucus varies during different stages of the menstrual cycle. As you enter your fertile window, under the effect of estrogen, women experience an increased amount of vaginal discharge that resembles raw egg white in consistency. You may simply observe the external watery mucus by using your fingers and being able to stretch out the secretion between your thumb and finger.
Ovulation bleeding is a common symptom of ovulation and there is no reason to be alarmed about it. Variations in sex- hormone levels are hypothesized to be associated with bleeding patterns, therefore it usually does not require treatment. However, if you have mid-cycle bleeding with heavy spotting and severe cramps that last for a long time and in repeated episodes, it may be due to other complications which is why its recommended to consult your doctor to make sure there are no additional underlying conditions.
A slight rise of Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
Your BBT is a healthy body's temperature when at rest. After ovulation, high levels of progesterone will cause your BBT to slightly rise and stay elevated until the end of your cycle. The shift happens about one to two days after ovulation. However, although measuring your BBT may help you to figure out whether you have ovulated, it does not help you determine the best time to conceive, since your body temperature only rises as soon as ovulation is over. At this point, it is too late to conceive. Furthermore, your temperature is easily affected by many altering factors- such as stress, illness, jet lags or alcohol consumption.
A positive Ovulation Predictor Kit (OPK) result
Keeping track of your hormonal levels during the menstrual cycle is the best method to help you estimate the possible time of ovulation, so be sure to choose an OPK that allows you to monitor your hormones accurately. Following manufacturer’s instructions carefully will help you to identify the “fertile window” and the optimal time frame to conceive in order to maximize your chances to get pregnant.
Regan, P. C. (1996). Rhythms of desire: The association between menstrual cycle phases and female sexual desire. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 5(3).
E.L. Billings, J.B. Brown, J.J. Billings, H.G. Burger, (1972):Symptoms and hormonal changes accompanying ovulation. Vol. 299, Issue 7745, 282-284.