Ovulation is characterized by the release of an egg from the ovary of a female and it occurs every month for the majority of the females. Pregnancy results if the released egg gets fertilized and is implanted in the uterus. It is important to have the knowledge of the time of ovulation to prevent or plan pregnancy. The article discusses when you ovulate, what are the signs of ovulation and ways to know for sure when you are ovulating.
How Many Days after Your Period do You Ovulate?
It is difficult to tell exactly when ovulation occurs, unless you are following fertility awareness. However, ovulation generally occurs 10 to 16 days before the beginning of a female’s next period. The days of a menstrual cycle are counted from day first of her periods. This is regarded as day one of menstrual cycle. Most females have menstrual cycles in the range of 26-32 days; hence for most of them ovulation occurs around the middle point of their menstrual cycle. However, the exact time of ovulation may differ from one cycle to another.
The average menstrual cycle is of 28 days, but both longer and shorter cycles are normal. If your menstrual cycle is of 35 days, you are most likely to ovulate between 19th and 25th day of your menstrual cycle. Similarly, if your menstrual cycle is shorter and of 23 days, then you are most likely to ovulate between days 7th and 13th of your menstrual cycle.
Purchase an ovulation predictor kit: You can also buy an OPK. These kits are able to tell when you will ovulate 12-24 hours in advance. They measure the levels of LH or luteinizing hormone, which is on its peak before ovulation. You are required to urinate on a stick and see the indicator to tell you when you are going to ovulate.
What Are the Signs of Ovulation?
Keep a calendar: Keep a calendar to track your menstrual cycle for a couple of months so that you can have an idea of the normal length of your menstrual cycle. If you have irregular periods, then you have to be even more alert and look out for other signs of ovulation.
Pay close attention to your body: Around 20% of females get a message from their body when it’s time for ovulation, either in the form of pain or cramps in lower abdomen (the cramps are generally localized to the side from which egg is being released). This phenomenon is referred to as mittelschmerz, which in German means ovulation pain. This monthly occurrence is believed to occur as a result of release or maturation of an egg from the ovary. You are more likely to get the cue when you pay close attention to the signals given by your body.
Record your BBT or basal body temperature: This is taken with a basal body thermometer and it is measured in the morning after you have slept for at least 3-5 hours and before you are out of bed, sit up or talk. There are changes in BBT all through the cycle due to the fluctuations caused in the hormone levels. Estrogen is at its peak during the first half of your menstrual cycle while after ovulation, i.e., during the latter half of your menstrual cycle there is a rise in progesterone. The temperature of your body is increased by progesterone as it makes the uterus ready for the implantation of a fertilized egg. This implies that your BBT will be lower in the initial half of the month in comparison to the latter half of the month, once ovulation has occurred.
Hence, the bottom line is-your BBT will be the lowest at ovulation and then increase dramatically and immediately post ovulation (there is a change of about ½ degree). Recording your BBT for 1 month will only provide you with evidence of ovulation once it has occurred. However, when you record your BBT for a few months, you will be able to notice a pattern to your menstrual cycles and hence will be able to predict the time of ovulation in the coming months.
Have knowledge about your cervix and cervical mucus: How many days after your period do you ovulate? One sign of upcoming ovulation is the location of the cervix. During the initial stage of your cycle the cervix lies low and is closed and hard. However, as ovulation comes near, the cervix pulls back up, opens a little and softens a bit so as to let the sperm travel through the uterus to the egg. You can use 1 or 2 fingers to check your cervix daily. The other sign that you can notice is the appearance, change in consistency and increase in quantity of the cervical mucus. There is not much cervical mucus after the end of your periods. The mucus increases during the initial days of the cycle and is often cloudy or white in appearance. It will break, if you try to stretch it while taking it between your fingers. When your ovulation becomes closer the mucus becomes copious, is clearer, thinner and is similar to an egg white. You can pull it into strings while trying to stretch it between your fingers. The discharge again becomes scanty or thicker after ovulation.
Ultrasound Monitor: Ultrasound can be used to monitor and predict when ovulation occurs. With it, the technician can see exactly how big the egg is and when it is about to be released. Ultrasound monitoring to predict ovulation is usually done when there is administration of fertility drugs to help in getting a female pregnant.
What to Do Around the Time You Ovulate?
If you are trying to conceive then in the few days leading to ovulation and within 24 hours post ovulation you can have sexual intercourse as this is the most fertile period. If you are avoiding pregnancy, then you have to refrain from sexual intercourse during this period or use contraceptives to prevent conception.