What are the Signs of Ovulation?

Margo Upson
Margo Upson
Margo Upson
Margo Upson
Cramps are a possible sign that a woman is nearing ovulation.
Cramps are a possible sign that a woman is nearing ovulation.

There are clear signs that almost every woman experiences right before she ovulates. Understanding the female cycle can allow a woman to notice any changes in her cycle, which may indicate a health concern, and also help her better understand her body. There are several signs of ovulation that can be useful in monitoring the menstrual cycle, once a woman knows what they are and what they mean.

Recording body temperature daily may help a woman keep track of ovulation cycles.
Recording body temperature daily may help a woman keep track of ovulation cycles.

A woman's temperature, if checked first thing in the morning, can alert her to the fact that she is about to release an egg. Before a woman ovulates, her temperatures are lower than they will be a few weeks later. Basal body temperature (BBT) charting requires the use of a specialized thermometer before a woman eats, drinks, or even gets out of bed. On the day after she ovulates, her temperatures will go up almost a whole degree.

Timing intercourse during these few days of peak fertility is the best way to achieve pregnancy.
Timing intercourse during these few days of peak fertility is the best way to achieve pregnancy.

Changes in the cervix is another indication that a woman is about to ovulate. During most of a woman's cycle, the cervix is low, firm, and closed tightly. When she is approaching ovulation, however, her cervix will get softer, raise up, and open, to allow sperm to easily enter the uterus. If a woman has already had a child, her cervix may not close up all the way. Instead, she will feel a small, flat opening on the tip. This will open up more during ovulation, and most women will still be able to notice a difference.

Changes in vaginal discharge is a sign of ovulation.
Changes in vaginal discharge is a sign of ovulation.

Another sign is changes in cervical fluid, sometimes called vaginal discharge. As a woman's body prepares to ovulate, her cervical fluid will become thinner and have a wetter feel to it. In the day or two before ovulation, the fluid becomes clear, thin, and stretchy, resembling raw egg whites. This cervical fluid is specially designed to assist sperm in reaching the egg. It is easy for them to travel through, unlike the fluid that is available other times of the cycle.

Discharge often changes in color and texture during hormonal changes.
Discharge often changes in color and texture during hormonal changes.

Monitoring some signs requires special tools. An estrogen surge, which reaches its peak right before ovulation, can be monitored using a fertility microscope. This microscope typically uses saliva, although some use cervical fluid, to detect the presence of estrogen. When a higher than normal amount of estrogen is present, dried saliva will have a distinct fern-like pattern than can be easily seen under the microscope. Luteinizing hormone (LH) also peaks right before ovulation, which can be monitored using a ovulation prediction test.

Some woman experience cramps, headaches, and breast tenderness as they near ovulation. A small amount of spotting and an increase in desire are also sometime signs of ovulation. All of these signs can help a woman discover her fertility window. Timing intercourse during these few days of peak fertility is the best way to achieve pregnancy.

Margo Upson
Margo Upson

Margo has a varied academic background, which has involved everything from psychology and culinary arts to criminal justice and education. These wide-ranging interests make her an ideal writer, as she always enjoys becoming an expert on new and unfamiliar topics.

Margo Upson
Margo Upson

Margo has a varied academic background, which has involved everything from psychology and culinary arts to criminal justice and education. These wide-ranging interests make her an ideal writer, as she always enjoys becoming an expert on new and unfamiliar topics.

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    • Cramps are a possible sign that a woman is nearing ovulation.
      By: Johan Larson
      Cramps are a possible sign that a woman is nearing ovulation.
    • Recording body temperature daily may help a woman keep track of ovulation cycles.
      By: Rob Byron
      Recording body temperature daily may help a woman keep track of ovulation cycles.
    • Timing intercourse during these few days of peak fertility is the best way to achieve pregnancy.
      By: CandyBox Images
      Timing intercourse during these few days of peak fertility is the best way to achieve pregnancy.
    • Changes in vaginal discharge is a sign of ovulation.
      By: WavebreakMediaMicro
      Changes in vaginal discharge is a sign of ovulation.
    • Discharge often changes in color and texture during hormonal changes.
      By: picsfive
      Discharge often changes in color and texture during hormonal changes.