Ovulation occurs when an oocyte (egg) that has matured in the ovary detaches and begins its journey through the fallopian tubes to uterus. The inner wall of the uterus thickens in preparation to receive the fertilized egg cell (oocyte). The oocyte lives for up to 24 hours and sperm for up to three days, so “fertile days” theoretically last for several days, during which conception can occur.
How to predict ovulation
A woman can sense her ovulation just by noticing reactions of her body and changes through the course of a cycle. Here are some common indicators and ovulation symptoms which you can use to predict your ovulation.
Increased body temperature
Progesterone, which is secreted in the second phase of the cycle, causes the rise of basal body temperature by impacting hypothalamus. Under the action of progesterone a day or two after ovulation the so-called basal or morning body temperature rises. Temperature usually increase around 0.3 to 0.5 degrees Celsius, and lasts until the beginning of the next period. The measurement is simple: measure your temperature in the morning, after waking and before getting up, by placing a thermometer under your tongue. Always use the same thermometer. The resulting value should be recorded or, better yet, write into a special form and obtain the appropriate curves. Morning basal temperature should be measured at least three cycles in a row.
There are specialized computer programs which can help you chart your temperature if that’s the approach you’re going to use. Here is one such free program, with a lot of other features included as well: fertility charts program.
Increased cervical mucus
Daily observation of your genitals and charting down changes is required for this method. 4 or 5 days after menstruation vulva is dry, and around 9th od 10th day (with a usual cycle), sticky mucus starts appearing. Together with this mucus infertile period stops and potentially fertile period begins. Then amount of glassy, stretch mucus increases, and vulva is swollen and sensitive. Las day of this heavy cervical mucus is the most fertile day. After that mucus becomes scarce and sticky.
Four to five days after the peak occurence of abundant cervical mucus begins inferile period, which lasts until the beginning of the next menstrual period.
Change of position and firmness of cervix
At the time of ovulation, under the influence of estrogen, cervix becomes soft, high and open, and glands in the cervical canal produce abundant cervical mucus under. The mucus is stretchy, and if you strech it with a forceps you can get up to 4 to 6 inches uninterrupted glimpse of mucus. If you dry mucus on a glass slide you can see under a microscope how a fern leafy crystallization forms. After ovulation, under the influence of progesterone, all these signs revers. Once again, cervical mucus dries up, and the cervix becomes firm, low and closed.
Abdominal cramps (Mittelschmerz)
Approximately 25% of women “feel” abdominal cramps (so-called Mitteslchmerz) during ovulation. They feel it as, which can last from several minutes to several hours.
Other common ovulation symptoms and signs
- Increased libido
- Tender breasts
- Increased stress
- Increase in appetite
- Increased sense of smell, taste and vision