Ovulation involves the release of an egg from the female ovary in preparation for fertilisation and pregnancy.
Do I hear you say why should I care?
For women trying to get pregnant, knowing when you ovulate is quite important in determining the fertile window (that is, the period where intercourse is likeliest to lead to pregnancy).
The sperm can live up to five days in the female reproductive system, so having sex within this window greatly increases the chance of pregnancy.
When does ovulation occur?
In a regular, 28-day circle, ovulation usually takes place around day 14. However, most women’s menstrual cycle are not usually this regular. In this setting, ovulation usually takes place within four days before or after the midpoint of the menstrual cycle.
How would I know I am ovulating?
Basal body temperature: The body temperature slightly increases after ovulation. By getting a thermometer specifically made for that purpose, track your body temperature over a period of time till a pattern emerges. Having observed this pattern, you can have sex just before you are expecting a rise in your temperature.
Change in cervical mucus: Before ovulation, you might observe that the cervical mucus becomes clearer (some people say it looks like egg whites), slippery and quite stretchy. This will be observed as a vaginal discharge
Progesterone ovulation tests: These test strips check for progesterone metabolites levels in the urine. The level of these metabolites usually increases after ovulation, so studying your body and timing sex before a rise in progesterone levels help increase the chance of pregnancy.
Ovulation predictor kits: The levels of Luteinising hormone (LH) usually increase during ovulation, so these test kits give you a fairly accurate idea of your fertile window. By monitoring the levels of LH throughout your menstrual cycle, you would be able to determine your fertile window.
None of these methods are 100% reliable.
It is very important that you are patient with yourself and your body while you are trying to conceive. Please, also carry your doctor along in any steps you may be taking to get pregnant.