How To Identify Ovulation Symptoms
Whether you are trying to get pregnant or understand your menstrual cycle a bit better, being able to identify ovulation symptoms is a great place to start. The tricky part of identifying ovulation symptoms is knowing that it is going to be unique for every single woman. But just like your period, while different from another woman, there are signs we can point to that indicate we are ovulating.
To get even a little more unique, ovulating symptoms can change as a woman ages. So, to take it a step further. Even ovulation symptoms can be unique to a woman throughout the years before menopause.
By learning how to identify these ovulation symptoms, you can increase your chances of getting pregnant and recognize if some of your ovulating symptoms are warning signs of your general health.
Start here to learn how to recognize when you are ovulating.
What Is Ovulation?
Luckily ovulation is one of the easier things to understand. Ovulation is when a mature egg gets released from your ovaries This is during a specific stage of your menstrual cycle and when you become most fertile. In other words, this is the best time to get pregnant because the chances are at their highest.
The mature egg comes from when the ovaries are stimulated by the reproductive hormones (estrogen and progesterone.) What happens here is that the ovaries respond to those hormones by developing follicles. Those follicles are where the immature egg lies and begins to mature as the follicle grows.
Typically, one egg will be released but if two eggs are released simultaneously. it’s possible that you could conceive non-identical twins.
Women are born with many eggs and as they mature, they are released every month. This is why you most likely heard the term “freezing your eggs.” This is when a woman becomes less fertile because of the decreased number of eggs and the number of them that have abnormal chromosomes.
When Does Ovulation Occur?
As mentioned, ovulation can be not only different for every woman but different for a woman at different times. While “normal” cycles will report to you it is somewhat in the middle of your menstruation cycle, there are several other factors that determine when you ovulate.
These could be things like irregular periods, medications, and certain diseases or health complications.
Halfway is a very broad term when it comes to women’s menstruation cycles. Because these cycles can last a woman anywhere between 21-35 days, when a woman ovulates depends on that cycle.
This is why it’s a great idea to get familiar with your period not only so you know when to use a pad or tampon but also know when you have the highest chances of getting pregnant. This goes for both women actively trying and those who are trying to practice safe sex.
If you are a woman that has irregular cycles then you can count on having a different ovulation time each month. If your period comes late or early a lot the general rule that it is halfway through your menstruation cycle still applies.
That’s why women who have a 35-day cycle may experience ovulation on day 17 or 18 rather than day 12 or 14. That’s why a woman really can ovulate between day 11 and day 19.
It’s also important to note that extreme irregular periods can produce no eggs at all.
Some women won’t ovulate at all. If you are on birth control whether it be pills, an IUD, the ring, Nexplanon, or other options, it will prevent you from ovulating/releasing an egg. There are several other factors we should consider when it comes to preventing ovulation.
- Underweight/overweight – if your body fat is too low you won’t be able to have a normal menstrual cycle
As we know the phase lengths for each woman can vary depending on the length of her cycle each time. Having said that, we can better refer to this as the phases of the menstruation cycle rather than the ovulation phases. The whole process is to get a woman’s body ready each month to get pregnant by releasing a mature egg. However, the ovulation phase is just one of four main phases in this process. These phases are in order.
The Menstrual Phase
Despite having our periods at the end of the month, our cycle starts with our menstrual phase or when a woman is on her period. This is because the previous egg has not been fertilized. Then your hormone levels of estrogen and progesterone begin to lower.
Your uterine lining that became thick during the previous stages of the cycle is no longer needed and begins to break down and shed. This tissue along with the egg then exits in the form of blood through the vagina. This is the process of your period or the menstrual phase.
The average period will experience this for 3-5 days along with certain common side effects.
The most common associated with a period are:
- Feeling Bloated
- Breast Tenderness
- Achy Legs/Back
The Follicular Phase
At the same time your period starts, the follicular phase begins as well. This means that both phases are working simultaneously rather than one after another. This is when (FSH) or follicle-stimulating hormone begins to release and work on the ovaries. The follicles then start developing. Follicles are tiny fluid sacs that contain an immature egg.
If the woman’s body wasn’t already cool, consider this. Then the most mature egg will be released while the rest of the follicles go back into the body to keep the mature eggs. The follicle that has decided to stay will start to release more estrogen which is why the uterine lining begins to thicken.
This phase ends when a person ovulates and can last between 10-16 days.
The Ovulation Phase
When the process starts of releasing the mature egg this is the ovulation phase. The egg gets released because a hormone cause luteinizing hormone (LH) is released to stimulate the ovaries. Once the egg is released it will travel out of the ovary, through the fallopian tube, and into the uterus.
While the egg is traveling from the ovary to the uterus, sperm can catch it at any time and begin the fertilization. An egg will remain fertile for roughly 24 hours before it will dissolve.
This may be a flashback to health class but a quick refresher is always a good thing.
The Luteal Phase
This is the last stage of the menstrual cycle or the overall process of ovulation. This is when what is referred to as the corpus luteum will release progesterone to assist in keeping your uterine wall thick. We need the wall to remain thick because it gives a chance for the fertilized egg to implant there and hopefully develop into an embryo.
If the egg is unsuccessful in becoming fertilized then the uterine wall will start to shed, and progesterone and estrogen levels will drop as mentioned in phase one. This is typically the PMS phase or premenstrual symptoms where you may have all the symptoms of a period plus a few more.
- Food cravings
- Sleep Trouble
- Changes in Sex Drive
How To Predict Ovulation
Predicting when you are ovulating can be difficult for any woman. We already know that it is halfway (usually) through your entire menstruation cycle but sometimes knowing how long your cycle can be is the tricky part.
Luckily, technology has saved us and we can use certain apps and online resources to give us a better idea of how to track our period therefore how to track when we are ovulating.
Flo Period and Ovulation Tracker:
Most women love using Flo Period and Ovulation Tracker because the app makes things simple. If you log in when you are having your period month to month and click on the symptoms you are having the app makes a calculated guess on when you are ovulating. The more information you put down and the more frequent you do it, the better off you are!
Here are some other recommendations for popular apps.
- Glow Cycle and Fertility Tracker
- Fertility Friend FF App
- Ovia Fertility and Cycle Tracker
If you would rather not get on an app or use the technology you can always try to look out for ovulation symptoms yourself. Let’s get into them.
We can look for symptoms both before ovulation and after to determine when you were ovulating. Ideally, women looking to get pregnant will want to know before but you can start the investigative tactics now to know what to look out for when the time comes!
These are the symptoms to look out for before you start ovulating. While we don’t have an exact date there are similar things women may experience. It doesn’t mean you will experience all of the symptoms. It just means you could experience one or many.
- If you are experiencing an increase in your sexual desire.
- You have increased cervical mucus.
- Ovulation pain can feel like cramps in the lower abdomen. This is usually right before an egg is going to be released.
- Softening or opening of the cervix. You can check by feeling for a slight dent or opening in the middle.
Some women like to use ovulation kits to see if they are ovulating. However, they are not always accurate which is why some women will look to their resting body temperature as a sign as well. An increased body temperature or feeling hot (hot flashes) can be a symptom before or during ovulation.
These are usually going to transform into the symptoms you most associate with your period.
- This will be a decreased sexual desire.
- A decrease in cervical mucus.
- It is possible that now your breasts will start to become tender and achy.
- The body temperature can remain high as it is going through the process.
Even with all this information, there is so much more to be said. Here are common questions that expecting and new mothers tend to ask.
Can you get pregnant during your period?
This question confuses a lot of couples and women because you cannot conceive on your period due to the phases of menstruation listed above. However, you can become pregnant from the sex you had on your period because even though an egg will only last 12-24 hours, sperm can last in the body for 3-5 days which makes it possible to get pregnant from the sex you have on your period.
Is ovulation possible right after your menstruation phase?
This is completely dependent on the length of your cycle. The length of your cycle is the number of days between your first period and your last period and if you have a short menstruation cycle but a longer period then it is possible and hence the chance to get pregnant from the sex on your period.
Is ovulation possible in your period?
No. You cannot ovulate on your period because this is the process where the uterine lining is being shed and the egg is being deposited. The next egg cannot be released until this happens. Only one (possible two simultaneously) eggs are released each cycle.
What irregular signs should prompt me to call my doctor?
Irregular periods and cycles should be checked out by an OB-GYN or a doctor at least once a year to make sure there is not something more serious going on. While irregular periods are common signs of abnormal bleeding, abnormal bloating, excessively long periods or painful periods, or no period, are all symptoms that should be checked in with a health professional.
While that may have been a refresher to P.E. or health class from years ago it is such important information for a woman to know. Regardless of whether you are trying to conceive or not, knowing ovarian health and ovulating can be useful. Most importantly the ability to identify those symptoms from the part of the menstruation cycle is not always easy and an app can assist you when determining when you are ovulating.