If you're trying to get pregnant, one of the first things you may want to know is when do you ovulate?
Knowing when you ovulate provides a very valuable piece of knowledge, because it can help you to get pregnant, sooner!
When you ovulate, at least one mature egg is released from the ovary. In response to a surge in the levels of luteinizing hormone, the egg is released and travels down the fallopian tube.
If the egg gets fertilised, you are pregnant. If it is not fertilised within 12-24 hours, it will start to disintegrate.
When Do You Ovulate?
Generally speaking, ovulation occurs between 10-16 days before the first day of your period. The exact day will be dependent on your cycle, so it may be difficult to pinpoint unless you are charting your fertility each month.
The first day of your menstrual period is considered to be the first day of your cycle. The last day of your cycle is the last day before the start of your next period. The length of a woman’s cycle is generally considered to be 28 days, although this ignores the wide range of normal cycle lengths that exist.
If you have a 28 day cycle, you are likely to ovulate sometime around day 14. However, if your cycle is shorter or longer than this, then the day you ovulate may vary. To work out when you are likely to ovulate, look at the expected date of your next menstrual period. Count back 14 days, and then another five days. Those five days are your fertile period, with ovulation likely to occur 14 days before your next period is due.
Take a look at BellyBelly’s Ovulation Calculator to work out when you are next likely to ovulate.
Possible Signs Of Ovulation
You may be able to identify your fertile days by looking out for the following signs of ovulation:
- Vaginal discharge – during your fertile days, your vaginal discharge will be clear and slippery (like egg white)
- Breast tenderness
- Increased sex drive
- Increase in basal body temperature – your basal body temperature is different to your normal body temperature. To chart this you will need a basal thermometer which are available at most pharmacies.
- Ovulation pain can occur around ovulation. A sensation is normal, but pain is not. If you have painful ovulation, please read BellyBelly's article here.
You can chart your vaginal discharge, cervical position and basal body temperature throughout the month to determine when ovulation is most likely to occur. Take a look at BellyBelly’s article on charting your cycle for conception to find out more. If you have an irregular cycle, you may find charting helps you to better understand your body and determine when ovulation is most likely to occur.
It is also possible to purchase ovulation kits from pharmacies to track your cycle. These kits use urine samples to determine when ovulation is about to occur. Luteinizing hormone surges in the days leading up to ovulation, so by checking the level of this hormone the test can make estimate when you will ovulate. These kits usually predict ovulation in advance, which has the added benefit of giving you time to plan. These kits are not cheap though and the price can soon add up over a couple of cycles.
When Should I Have Sex?
Once ovulation has occurred, the egg will only survive for up to 24 hours unless fertilisation occurs. Sperm can survive for several days.
You are at your most fertile during ovulation, so it’s important to have sex during this time if you are trying to conceive. The fertile period lasts from around five days before ovulation until the day after ovulation occurs.
Six days before ovulation, your chance of conceiving is virtually zero. Five days before ovulation, this rises to 10 percent. The likelihood continues to rise throughout the fertile period. By the day after ovulation, the chance of conception has dropped down to about zero again.
Some experts recommend having sex at least every couple of days throughout your cycle if you are trying to get pregnant. This means that whenever ovulation occurs, there is a chance that sperm will be present in your body to fertilise the egg. However, to maximise your chance of conceiving, you should aim to have sex every day during your fertile period, and every other day throughout your cycle.
Find out how the female orgasm can help increase your chances of conception here.
Check out BellyBelly’s Ovulation Calculator to work out when you are most likely to be fertile.
You can find more information about charting your cycle for conception here.