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Ovulation Symptoms – Expert Guide

Table of Contents

Signs of Ovulation

When and how do you recognize ovulation, and for how long does it last? Here are the most important ovulation symptoms, as well as methods for predicting when ovulation will occur.

  • What exactly is ovulation?
  • When do you get your period?
  • How long does it take for ovulation to occur?
  • Ovulation symptoms and indicators to be aware of
  • How can you tell if you’re ovulating?

What exactly is ovulation?

Every month, one of the ovaries releases a mature egg. This process is called ovulation. Ovulation is a woman’s most fertile period.

Tracking ovulation can be an effective way to increase the chances of getting pregnant. During the fertile window, which typically lasts for around six days, women may experience various symptoms that indicate ovulation is occurring.

One common symptom is changes in vaginal discharge, which may become thinner and more slippery during this time.

This is due to an increase in estrogen levels, which is a key hormone involved in the ovulation process.

By tracking these symptoms, women can identify their most fertile days and increase their chances of conceiving.

When do you get your period?

Ovulation usually happens about halfway through a woman’s menstrual cycle, or on day 14 of a 28-day cycle that starts with the first day of one period and ends with the first day of the next.

As with any topic about pregnancy, there is a wide range of what is normal. Periods can last anywhere from 23 to 35 days, and your own menstrual cycle and when you ovulate can change from month to month.

How long does it take for ovulation to occur?

An egg can be fertilized 12 to 24 hours after ovulation. As explained below, it can take anywhere from 12 to 24 hours after an LH surge for the ovary to release the egg and the fallopian tube to take it in.

How can you tell if you’re ovulating?

There are numerous methods for determining when ovulation may begin. Here is how to prepare for ovulation and predict when it will occur:

Look out for these ovulation symptoms.

Here are the seven most common ovulation symptoms to be on the watch for:

  1. Your basal body temp drops somewhat before rising again.
  2. Cervical mucus change: becomes whiter and thinner, with a slicker consistency akin to egg whites.
  3. Your cervix softens and expands.
  4. You may have a minor pang of discomfort or cramping in your lower abdomen.
  5. Your desire for sex may grow.
  6. There may be some mild spotting.
  7. It is possible that your vulva or vagina will seem enlarged.
  8. Heightened sense of smell 
  9. Hormone levels increase around the time of ovulation and this can be detected using ovulation predictor kits 

How can you tell if you’re ovulating? Ovulation symptoms

There are a number of methods for predicting when ovulation will occur. Here is how to prepare for ovulation and predict when it will occur:

Pay attention to your body.

Can you sense ovulation approaching? If you’re like 20% of women, you’ll feel a twinge of pain or a series of cramps in your lower abdomen (typically confined to one side – the side from which you’re ovulating) when you’re ovulating. This monthly fertility reminder, mittelschmerz (German for “middle pain”), is believed to be caused by the maturation or release of an egg from the ovary. If you pay close attention, you may have a greater chance of understanding the message. Maintain a record of your menstrual cycle.

Keep a monthly cycle calendar for a few months to determine your typical cycle, or use an online ovulation calculator. If your periods are irregular, you should search for additional ovulation signs.

Keep track of your basal body temperature.

That is, your BBT, or basic body temperature. The basal body temperature is measured first thing in the morning, after at least three to five hours of sleep and prior to getting out of bed, speaking, or sitting up. It is measured with a specific basal body thermometer. Your BBT fluctuates throughout your cycle as a result of hormonal changes. Before ovulation, estrogen predominates throughout the early phases of your menstrual cycle.

During the second phase of the ovulatory cycle, progesterone levels rise. This raises your body temperature and gets your uterus ready for an egg that has been fertilized and implanted. This indicates that the first half of the month will have cooler temperatures than the second.

Confused? The main conclusion is that during ovulation, your body temperature will drop to its lowest point and then rise by about half a degree right after ovulation. Keep in mind that monitoring your BBT for only one month will not allow you to predict the day you will ovulate, but will instead provide evidence of ovulation after the fact. But if you keep track of it for a few months, you’ll be able to see a pattern in your cycles. This will let you know when your fertile days are and when to go to bed.

Many women find this method annoying, and it’s important to keep in mind that studies show that the time of ovulation after a temperature drop is different for each woman. More precise ovulation prediction kits are available.

ovulation experience

Understand your cervix.

Ovulation is not an entirely hidden process, and there are observable physical signs of ovulation. When your body notices changes in hormones that mean an egg is ready to be released from the ovary, it starts getting ready for the swarms of sperm to come so that the egg has the best chance of being fertilized.

The position of the cervix is an observable sign of ovulation. At the beginning of a cycle, your cervix — the neck-like tube between your vagina and uterus that must expand during delivery to accommodate your baby’s head — is low, rigid, and closed. When ovulation is getting close, the cervix pulls back, softens, and opens up a little to let sperm pass through on their way to where they need to go. Some women are able to detect these changes easily, while others have difficulty. Check your cervix daily with one or two fingers and record your observations.

A change in mucus is another indicator of ovulation in the cervix. The sperm is transported to the egg deep within you by cervical mucus, which appears as discharge. After your period ends, you’ll experience a dry phase; you shouldn’t expect much, if any, cervical mucus. As the cycle progresses, you will observe an increase in the quantity of mucus, which will be white or hazy and will break apart when you attempt to stretch it.

This mucus becomes more abundant as ovulation approaches, but it becomes thinner, clearer, and more slippery, similar to egg white. How’s that for bathroom entertainment? If you stretch it between your fingers, you can pull it into a string a few inches long before it snaps. In addition to egg white cervical mucus, the presence of egg white cervical mucus is a sign of impending ovulation.

You may experience either a dry period or a heavier discharge after ovulation. Cervical mucus, when combined with cervical position and BBT on a single chart, may be a very effective (albeit slightly messy) tool for predicting the day you are most likely to ovulate – giving you ample time to prepare. Some women, especially those who have had cervix surgery due to abnormal PAP smears, may not produce a substantial amount of cervical mucus (such as a LEEP procedure).

ovulation prediction

Purchase an ovulation prediction kit.

You do not wish to deal with mucus? You have no obligation to. Many women use ovulation predictor kits, which measure levels of luteinizing hormone, or LH, the last hormone to peak before ovulation, to figure out when ovulation will happen. You simply pee on a stick and wait for the indication to tell you whether you’re going to ovulate. These methods are more accurate than applications that predict when ovulation should occur but not necessarily when it actually occurs.

A saliva test, which monitors estrogen levels in your saliva as ovulation approaches, is a less precise and uncommon method. When you are ovulating, you will see a pattern in your saliva that looks like fern leaves or frost on a window when you look at it through the test’s eyepiece. This reusable test may be less expensive than the kits, but few women obtain a beautiful “fern.”

Other devices detect the fluctuating salts (chloride, sodium, potassium) in a woman’s perspiration, which change throughout the month. This change, known as the chloride ion surge, occurs prior to the estrogen and LH surges; therefore, these tests provide a four-day notice when a woman may be ovulating, as opposed to the 12-to-24-hour notice provided by conventional ovulation predictors. The saliva and chloride ion surge tests have not been looked at in great detail, and they are used much less often.

Remember that you need to be patient and work hard to get pregnant, and that even if you are ovulating, there are no guarantees. However, keeping an eye out for these common ovulation signs and then planning a candlelight dinner, a warm bubble bath, or a romantic weekend getaway — whatever will get you and your partner in the mood to start a family — is a good idea.

common ovulation symptoms

Ovulation Symptoms That Can Help You Find Your Most Fertile Period

Pay attention to these ovulation indications to become pregnant quickly.

Common Ovulation Symptoms | Predict ovulation

It may be hard to figure out exactly when you ovulate, but there are many ways to figure out when you are most fertile during your cycle. Here are eight indications that ovulation is imminent or has occurred.

Positive Results from an Ovulation Test Kit

The function of an ovulation prediction kit is comparable to that of a home pregnancy test.

  1. Urine is collected on a stick or in a cup containing a stick or test strip. Two lines will be present. Positive results are indicated when the test line is darker than the control line, indicating that ovulation is imminent. This is the time to have sexual relations in order to conceive.
  2. Commonly used to detect ovulation, ovulation tests have both advantages and disadvantages.
  3. They require less effort than recording your temperature baseline.
  4. Digital ovulation monitors are typically user-friendly.
  5. It is not always apparent when the test line is darker than the control line, making it more difficult to interpret simpler tests.
  6. They can be expensive, especially if you have irregular periods or have been trying to conceive for a long time.
  7. They are not a sure indicator that you ovulated. You might get a positive test result yet not ovulate.
  8. Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) may have many positive findings even if they are not ovulating, rendering the tests ineffective.

Cervical Mucus Fertile

As ovulation approaches, cervical mucus discharges around the cervix increase and take on the consistency of raw egg whites.

Cervical mucus of viable quality assists sperm in swimming up into the female reproductive system, thereby making sexual activity easier and more pleasurable.

When you are not in a fertile phase of your cycle, your cervical mucus is thicker. Cervical mucus progresses from nearly dry to nonexistent, sticky, creamy, watery, raw-egg-white-like, and then back to sticky or dry. You can learn to predict ovulation by keeping track of these changes.

In order to become pregnant, you should engage in sexual activity when your cervical mucus is moist or egg-white-colored.

Enhanced Sexual Desire

Nature knows precisely how to induce sexual activity at the optimal time for conception. Prior to ovulation, a woman’s sexual desire increases. Her sexual desire grows, but she also appears sexier. If a woman dances, her facial bone structure changes slightly, her stride becomes more seductive, and her hips have a more seductive swing.

Attempt some horizontal baby dancing if the mood strikes you. This is a straightforward method for timing sexual activity during pregnancy. Obviously, ovulation is not the only factor that may increase your sexual desire. Additionally, if you are anxious, agitated, or depressed, you may not detect or experience an increase in sexual desire, even just prior to ovulation.

Increase in Basal Body Temperature

Your basal body temperature (BBT) is the temperature at which your body is at rest. While 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit may seem like a standard temperature, your body temperature actually fluctuates throughout the day and month. It fluctuates based on your activity level, what you consume, your hormones, your sleeping patterns, and, of course, your health.

Before getting out of bed, you must take your temperature every morning, at the same time every morning (no sleeping in).

  • You can track your BBT using free applications and websites.
  • Though it cannot forecast ovulation, it can tell you the approximate day of ovulation—after the fact.
  • Working the night shift or having irregularities in your sleep habits make measuring BBT challenging.
  • Using your BBT chart, your doctor can discover irregular periods or ovulation difficulties.

Progesterone levels in your body rise after ovulation, causing your temperature to rise somewhat. You can know when you ovulated if you keep track of your BBT.

Cervical Position Shift

If your vagina were a tube, it would end at the cervix. Throughout the menstrual cycle, the cervix changes position and moves. 4 You are able to monitor these alterations.

Before ovulation, the cervix rises higher (you may have difficulty reaching it), becomes softer to the touch, and opens slightly. The cervix is lower, firmer, and more closed during nonfertile phases of the menstrual cycle.

You may believe that cervix checking is only performed by OB/GYNs during labor, but you can learn this skill. When examining your cervix, you can also observe cervical mucosal changes.

Tenderness of the Breast

Have you ever observed that your breasts are sometimes tender to the touch? Not always though? This is due to the hormones your body produces during ovulation. This modification can be used to establish that ovulation has likely occurred.

This method cannot predict ovulation, but it may be reassuring if you are unsure whether you ovulated during this menstrual cycle. However, breast discomfort may be a side effect of fertility drugs.

Pattern of Saliva Ferning

A ferning pattern in your saliva is another possible symptom of ovulation.

3 A ferning pattern resembles frost on a windowpane and is a novel and uncommon method for determining ovulation. For this purpose, specialized microscopes are available, but any toy store microscope will suffice.

Some women are incapable of recognizing the ferning pattern. Due to the unique nature of this method of ovulation tracking, few resources and peer support are available. (There are a number of support groups where you can receive feedback and assistance, whether you’re monitoring cervical mucus or basal temperature.)

Ovulation Symptoms: Pain

Have you ever experienced recurrent, severe discomfort in your lower abdomen? If the pain occurs in the middle of your menstrual cycle, it may be ovulation pain. 5

Some women experience ovulation discomfort each month. Mid-cycle pain (also known as mittelschmerz, German for “middle agony”) occurs just before ovulation, when a woman is at her most fertile.

The majority of women experience ovulation discomfort as a brief, intense lower abdominal ache. Others, however, are unable to engage in sexual activity during their most fertile period due to extreme discomfort.

Ultrasound can be used to identify the time of ovulation.

Three researchers compared ultrasound results to common ovulation tracking methods. They discovered that basal temperature monitoring accurately predicted the day of ovulation only 43% of the time. The accuracy of ovulation prediction kits that detect the LH hormone spike that occurs prior to ovulation may be as low as 60%.

Calculate ovulation

Treatment Options for Ovulation Symptoms

There are several options for treating ovulation symptoms, including:

  1. Over-the-counter pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help relieve cramps and other types of pain associated with ovulation.
  2. Hormonal birth control: Hormonal birth control can regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle and reduce the frequency and severity of ovulation symptoms.
  3. Herbal remedies: Herbs such as chasteberry, ginger, and red raspberry leaf may help relieve symptoms such as cramping, bloating, and mood swings.
  4. Heat therapy: Applying heat to the lower abdomen, such as a heating pad or hot water bottle, can help relieve cramping and discomfort during ovulation.
  5. Exercise: Regular exercise can help reduce stress and improve overall physical and emotional well-being, which can help alleviate ovulation symptoms.

It’s important to note that every woman’s experience with ovulation symptoms is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. If your symptoms are severe or persistent, it’s best to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment for you.

Causes of Ovulation Symptoms:

  1. Hormonal Imbalance: Ovulation symptoms can be caused by hormonal imbalances, such as fluctuations in levels of estrogen and progesterone.
  2. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): PCOS is a hormonal disorder that can cause ovulation symptoms, including irregular menstrual cycles and changes in hormone levels.
  3. Thyroid Disorders: Thyroid disorders, such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, can cause ovulation symptoms by altering hormone levels.
  4. Stress: Stress can disrupt the normal hormonal balance in the body and cause ovulation symptoms.

Risk Factors for Ovulation Symptoms:

  1. Age: Ovulation symptoms are more common in women over the age of 35, as hormonal changes associated with aging can cause irregularities in menstrual cycles.
  2. Obesity: Women who are obese are at a higher risk of developing ovulation symptoms due to hormonal imbalances caused by excess body fat.
  3. Family History: Women who have a family history of hormonal disorders or infertility are at a higher risk of developing ovulation symptoms.
  4. Lifestyle Factors: Certain lifestyle factors, such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, can increase the risk of developing ovulation symptoms.

About the author

  • Board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist
  • Former Assistant Clinical Professor of Loma Linda University Medical School training medical students
  • Former Attending Physician of Loma Linda University Medical Center training obstetricians and gynecologists

Dr. Jennifer Broad is a highly skilled and knowledgeable obstetrician and gynecologist, renowned for her expertise in women’s health and cosmetic gynecology

With over 10 years of experience in her field, she has built a reputation for her exceptional surgical skills, particularly in the vaginal region of a woman. She has undergone extensive training in gynecology, making her an expert in the field.

Dr. Broad’s dedication to her craft has been recognized by her peers and patients alike, earning her recognition as a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (FACOG). 

Her academic achievements include a medical degree from the esteemed Loma Linda University Medical School, where she also served as an Assistant Clinical Professor and Attending Physician. 

During her 14 years at the university, she performed over 1000 gynecological surgeries, establishing her as a sought-after practitioner in her field.

Dr. Jennifer Broad is the best choice for women who want high-quality care in the field of obstetrics and gynecology. She has a lot of training, experience, and a strong desire to do her best.


Mayo Clinic

American Pregnancy Association

About the Author

Dr. Jennifer Broad is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist who has been practicing in Newport Beach, California for over a decade. She received her medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco, and completed her residency training at the University of California, Irvine.

Dr. Broad is dedicated to providing personalized care to her patients and is committed to staying up-to-date with the latest medical advances in her field. She is a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and a member of the Orange County Medical Association.



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