If you go to a coffee shop and ask a group of women when they ovulate, chances are you’ll receive a mixed bag of answers. While most people know what ovulation is, others aren’t aware of when it happens, how long it lasts and when you can expect it to be over. So how do you know when you’ve ovulated? Are the signs really that obvious?
When does ovulation happen?
Ovulation doesn’t just happen out of the blue. It most commonly occurs midway through your menstrual cycle or approximately 14-15 days after first starting your period. But this can vary depending on how long or short your cycle is. Generally speaking, if you have a 28-day cycle, Ovulation occurs around 14 days before your expected period.
If you’re someone with a regular and predictable period, it’s easier to track your ovulation and stay on top of your business. If your period is unpredictable or inconsistent, ovulation may be trickier to track. This also applies to people with certain health conditions that can affect ovulation, including PCOS, Thyroid dysfunction, and hormone imbalances.
How long does ovulation last?
While this may come as a surprise, ovulation is the moment when your egg leaves its follicle. After that, it hangs out in the fallopian tube, where fertilization takes place, and can live for 24 hours. But it’s important to note that your fertile window extends beyond the day you ovulate. Since sperm can remain in the female reproductive tract for up to six days, there is a possibility of getting pregnant before you ovulate.
So when exactly can I get pregnant?
It’s generally estimated that women have approximately six days during their cycle when conception is possible. This includes the day of ovulation as well as the days leading up to it. This can of course vary depending on the person in question, with the likelihood of getting pregnant changing day by day.
What about delayed ovulation?
And just when you think you’ve got a handle on ovulation, we’re here to burst your bubble and let you know that delayed ovulation can happen too. Some women just happen to have a longer first part of their cycle! In this case, ovulation would occur later on.
Is ovulation really that complex?
Err… Yes and no. Some women ovulate at the same time every month like clockwork. Others do not. Just like with everything in life, we’re all different. While we can advise on ovulation in a general sense, it’s important to remember that human beings are complex. Your situation may look different to your bestie’s – and that’s okay!
So, how do you know you’ve ovulated?
Now we’re getting to the good part! Once you find out when you’re likely to ovulate, you can keep track of your next ovulation date by using a simple calendar. Many women prefer to use a handy calculator or their Hormona app for added accuracy. This helps you stay on track of your ovulation each month while also detailing what you can expect hormone-wise. But there are also general symptoms to look out for.
While apps and calculators have their place, sometimes it can help to rely on good ol’ Mother Nature. How do you know you’ve ovulated? Well, for a start, look out for the below signs:
- Discharge changes: When you ovulate, your cervical mucus becomes clear and thin with a slippery consistency – similar to the feeling and texture of egg whites. Lots of women can spot this change in their underwear.
- Increased libido: You may find yourself with a heightened sex drive just before and during ovulation. Thanks to your ovaries producing more Testosterone, ovulation usually coincides with feeling flirty and frisky. After you’ve finished ovulating, your sexual prowess should chill out a bit.
- Vulva changes: While this doesn’t apply across the board, some women notice that their labia become swollen during ovulation and subside afterward.
You may also experience the following symptoms, although they aren’t necessarily specific to ovulation:
- Tender breasts: The change in hormones during ovulation can lead to tender breasts and nipples.
- Have your bathroom trips become regular again? Chances are you’ve ovulated!
- Happier mood: Have you noticed that you’re in an exceptionally good mood out of nowhere? This could be a tell-tale sign that you’ve ovulated.
- Appetite changes: Lots of women find themselves with a decreased appetite right before they ovulate. This tends to pick back up just after ovulation occurs.
Track your body temperature
If you want to be super clued up on your ovulation schedule, you can also chart your basal body temperature, or BBT, by using a special thermometer. During and after you ovulate, most women’s BBT rises. This can also be really useful for women looking to pinpoint when they’re most fertile.
Take a test
To help track your most fertile days, you could take an ovulation test. Tracking Estrogen and Luteinizing Hormone, AKA LH, these specialized tests can help you identify the lead-up to ovulation.
Most women experience a surge in LH 1 to 2 days before ovulation, combined with a peak in Estrogen around 24 hours before, and this is what triggers the release of an egg. Once ovulation is over, you can expect both your Estrogen and LH levels to drop down again.
While Estrogen and LH levels decrease after ovulation, Progesterone goes against the grain and increases. To be sure that ovulation is over, test your level of Progesterone. It can be a telltale sign that ovulation was successful if you’ve noted a surge.
While ovulation may seem a little complex, it’s all about getting to know your individual cycle and signs. And one of the best ways to do that is by tracking your hormones and symptoms. And what better way to do that than with the Hormona app! You can track and monitor your most common symptoms, get daily insights into what your hormones are doing, and build a detailed record of what’s going on in your body. We’ll see you there!