Many women do not experience any symptoms of ovulation and for some that do, the symptoms occur after the most fertile time of the cycle has passed. The best way to determine when ovulation occurs is to use a calendar to record daily basal body temperature and other signs of ovulation. The data on the calendar can be used to predict the day of the woman’s cycle when ovulation will happen.
About half of all women of child bearing age report cramping or abdominal discomfort in the middle of their menstrual cycle. Known as mittelshmerz, the German word for middle pain, these symptoms are one of the signs of ovulation.
The cramps or discomfort are usually more apparent on one side of the abdomen and they usually last from a few hours to two days. Severe pain accompanied by nausea, fever, diarrhea or dizziness is not normal and may be a symptom of a serious medical condition like appendicitis.
Another common ovulation symptom is tenderness in the breasts for a day or two in the middle of the monthly cycle. During ovulation, the level of the hormone progesterone peak and this is thought to be the cause of most signs of ovulation. The tenderness usually subsides after a day or two, but if breast tenderness occurs later than the middle of the menstrual cycle and is accompanied by swelling or darkening of the areola, it may be an early symptom of pregnancy.
Night Sweats and Hot Flashes
Most women believe these symptoms signal menopause, but they are associated with fluctuations in hormone levels which occur during ovulation and pregnancy. While night sweats and hot flashes are not common ovulation symptoms, they are experienced by some women. Ovulation usually occurs around day 12 to 14 of a 28 day cycle, and women who are charting their monthly cycle should note hot flashes or night sweats as signs of ovulation.
Ovulation is the release of a mature ovum or egg from an ovary. The egg is released when an ovarian follicle ruptures. When the follicle ruptures, it also releases a small amount of blood so women may experience very light spotting in the middle of the month.
Some women also report bloating which may be caused by fluid from the ruptured follicle irritating surrounding tissue. Increased vaginal discharge is another of the common ovulation signs as the cervical mucus becomes thinner to facilitate fertilization.
Changes in Temperature
Considered by medical professionals to be the most reliable of all the signs of ovulation, the basal body temperature drops slightly about two days before ovulation and spikes after ovulation is complete. Women who use basal body temperature to predict ovulation must take their temperature every day at about the same time and record it on a calendar. Since women with regular menses ovulate on the same day of their cycle each month, the data from one month can be used to calculate the ovulation day of the next cycle.
Days of Fertility
Women who want to become pregnant only have a three day window of fertility each month. Once an ovum is released from the ovary, it is only viable for between 12 and 24 hours. Sperm remain viable for 24 to 48 hours after intercourse.
The most fertile period of a woman’s cycle is actually the two days before ovulation occurs since intercourse at this time insures that viable sperm are present when the ovum is released. This short fertility period is the reason that it is important to know when ovulation is about to occur.
The best way to predict ovulation is to prepare an ovulation calendar that charts daily basal body temperature and any other signs of ovulation. This can be done by writing the information on a paper calendar or checking out our articles on ovulation calendars and calculators to give you visual aids and help you estimate your own days of ovulation.
Since many women have no discernible signs of ovulation, it can be difficult to pinpoint the short fertile period when pregnancy is most likely. Basal body temperature changes are experienced by all women and this makes them the most reliable indicator of ovulation. Keeping a record of ovulation symptoms can help couples predict the best time for successful conception and pregnancy.