Women who are trying to become pregnant need to know the date of ovulation so they can time sexual intercourse for their 3 fertile days of the month. An ovulation calendar is a tool that helps women track their monthly symptoms, such as basal body temperatures, cramping, spotting, hot flashes, and cervical discharge, to predict the time in their menstrual cycle when they are most likely to ovulate.
Below, you will learn about the typical signs present during ovulation, how to predict your cycle using a calendar, and the days you should expect to be most fertile.
Ovulation and Fertilization
Once an ovum is released by an ovary, it remains viable for 12 to 24 hours and then disintegrates, but sperm are viable for between 24 and 48 hours after intercourse. Since fertilization is more likely to occur if viable sperm are present when the ovum is released, the best time to have sexual intercourse is in the 2 days before ovulation takes place and then again on the day you are ovulating.
While intercourse on the day of ovulation may result in fertilization and pregnancy, the short viability period of the ovum makes it less likely.
On the flip side, if you are trying to avoid a pregnancy, do not have intercourse during these 3 days; though, planning this should not be a substitute for safe sex or contraceptives.
Most women ovulate in the middle of the menstrual cycle, or on about day 14 of a 28 day cycle. All women are different and some may ovulate on day 12 or day 15. An ovulation calendar is a tool that helps women find the most likely day for ovulation so they can plan intercourse for their most fertile period.
The calendar helps women chart their ovulation signs and basal body temperature so future ovulation cycles can be predicted, thus increasing the chances for conception. Although charting your symptoms can be tedious and time-consuming work, this system offers the best opportunity to understand your body and cycle.
The ovulation calendar below can give you an idea of when to expect ovulation to occur.
Basal Body Temperature
Most medical professionals agree that the most reliable indicator of ovulation is basal body temperature. In the two days before ovulation the basal body temperature drops slightly then spikes after ovulation has occurred.
To chart her basal body temperature, a woman must use a special thermometer and take her temperature every day at about the same time. She then notes the temperature on her ovulation calendar along with any other signs of ovulation she experiences.
Abdominal Pain and Cramping
Although not all women experience ovulation symptoms, about 50% report mittelshmerz, or mid-month abdominal pain and cramping. The discomfort is usually mild to moderate and lasts from a few hours to two days.
Very light spotting may occur after ovulation because when the ovarian follicle releases the egg it ruptures and this rupture causes very light bleeding. The discomfort of mittelshmerz is usually more prominent on one side of the abdomen and can be a dull achy feeling or mild cramps.
Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
While these complaints are more common among women experiencing menopause, they can be an ovulation sign. Hot flashes and night sweats are caused by fluctuations in the hormone levels in a woman’s body and there is an increase in the hormone progesterone just before ovulation occurs.
Breast tenderness is another common symptom of ovulation and women who keep an ovulation calendar should note these symptoms as possible indicators of ovulation.
No Special Calendar Is Needed
The only requirement for an ovulation calendar is that there is sufficient space to note the basal body temperature and any other ovulation signs each day. A calendar from a store that has the dates in boxes with room for notations is perfect.
Some ovulation websites offer printable calendars that are designed for the specific purpose of keeping monthly records. The most important part of an ovulation calendar is keeping daily records so the date of ovulation can be pinpointed and predicted in future months.
Some couples have intercourse on the fertile days of a woman’s cycle and still fail to become pregnant. If a couple has failed to conceive after four to six months using an ovulation calendar, they may wish to seek medical advice.
Certain medical conditions like blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease and uterine fibroids can interfere with a woman’s ability to conceive. Male partners should also be tested since a low sperm count or low motility can also impede fertilization.
Calculating the dates of ovulation with an ovulation calendar can help couples fertilize an egg but unless the fertilized egg (zygote) implants in the uterine wall, pregnancy does not occur. The same medical conditions that can interfere with fertilization may also interfere with a zygote’s ability to attach itself to the uterus.
Some STDs and uterine or vaginal infections may also prevent a woman from achieving pregnancy. Since many of these conditions are treatable, it is a good idea to seek medical advice when trying to get pregnant.
Since the hormones that signal pregnancy cannot be detected until at least 2 days after implantation, women trying to conceive should not take a pregnancy test until at least 9 days after ovulation.
Implantation occurs 7 days after ovulation and women who use an ovulation calendar can pinpoint the date they ovulate. Home pregnancy tests may give a negative or inconclusive response in the early days of pregnancy so if the test is negative, wait a few days and test again.
While an ovulation calendar is a useful tool for predicting the date of ovulation, it cannot guarantee that a woman will become pregnant. Women whose menstrual cycles are irregular may have difficulty predicting their ovulation date. Medical professionals are able to treat medical conditions that interfere with conception and help couples to realize their dream of having a baby.