What is an Ovulation Calculator?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

An ovulation calculator is a tool to help women determine when they are ovulating. By accurately understanding her ovulation cycle, a woman can increase or decrease the likelihood of pregnancy. Controlling sexual activity during ovulation may allow a woman to avoid an unwanted pregnancy or heighten the chance of conception.

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.

Most healthy women have an ovulation cycle that lasts between 26-30 days. An ovulation cycle is counted from the first day of a woman's period to the first day of her next period. Most women typically ovulate halfway though her cycle; in a 28 day cycle, ovulation would normally occur around day 14. An ovulation calculator can help women determine when ovulation is most likely to occur.

According to experts, pregnancy is most likely in the week preceding ovulation, and the day after ovulation occurs. A woman trying to get pregnant can use an ovulation calculator to determine the period in which her fertility is likely to be very high. A woman trying to avoid pregnancy, on the other hand, may use an ovulation calculation as a rough guide to help determine when fertility is high so she can avoid sexual activity and lower her risk of pregnancy.

Timing intercourse during the days leading up to ovulation is the best way to achieve pregnancy.
Timing intercourse during the days leading up to ovulation is the best way to achieve pregnancy.

Many ovulation calculators are available for free online. In order to get the most accurate results, a woman should know the starting dates of her period for the last two to three months. Having more information can help the calculator come up with a more accurate average, as many women's cycles vary slightly from month to month.

An ovulation calculator can help a woman to accurately understand her ovulation cycle.
An ovulation calculator can help a woman to accurately understand her ovulation cycle.

Because an ovulation calculator is only an educated guess at ovulation dates, some women also use alternative methods to help determine their date of ovulation. Some women may use thermometers to monitor their cycles, as temperature rises just after ovulation. Other women may keep track of the thickness and color of their cervical mucus, as it changes throughout a normal menstrual cycle.

An ovulation calculator can be a useful tool, but it is very important to remember it is meant as a guideline rather than a concrete rule. Cycle length and ovulation time can fluctuate several days from month to month, and can be affected by changes in diet, exercise, stress level, or lifestyle. An ovulation calculator is not a substitute for birth control, but it can be used in conjunction with birth control methods in order to help determine the period where a woman is least likely to get pregnant. Especially cautious women may choose to abstain from sex for the week prior to and after expected ovulation, using an ovulation calculator to guide them.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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    • 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.
    • Timing intercourse during the days leading up to ovulation is the best way to achieve pregnancy.
      Timing intercourse during the days leading up to ovulation is the best way to achieve pregnancy.
    • An ovulation calculator can help a woman to accurately understand her ovulation cycle.
      An ovulation calculator can help a woman to accurately understand her ovulation cycle.