Let’s start off with a quick biology lesson.
Did you know that sperm can survive in the uterus for up to five days, while the egg can only do so for up to 24 hours right after ovulation?
This means there’s only a grand total of around 6 days during which conception can successfully take place. With such odds, is it any wonder becoming pregnant doesn’t come as quickly as we’d expect?
That’s why for couples trying to conceive (TTC), you’ll probably want to take advantage of this natural family planning method called ovulation tracking.
ICYDK, ovulation is the one-day event during your fertile window in which the egg is released from the ovaries. The fertile window is a short 5-6 days when you’re most likely to get pregnant. This is when you should be having sex with your partner or inseminating yourself if you’re working with donated sperm.
After all, not many TTC couples can perform intercourse every 2 or 3 days throughout the month, given the busy, stress-filled modern lives we lead. Hence, tracking your ovulation day, and by extension, your fertile window, to maximize sex-for-conception may be more practical and efficient.
Ahead, you’ll learn how to track your ovulation in seven different ways to help you get a BFP (big fat positive) on your next pregnancy test. We’ll also share how accurate each ovulation tracking method is to help you pick the best one.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your doctor or a fertility specialist before trying home insemination.
Why You Should Learn How To Track Your Ovulation When TTC
To the uninitiated, tracking your ovulation may sound somewhat clinical. But it’s actually simple and non-invasive.
The Science of Ovulation
Firstly, let’s go back in time and revisit the basics of biology regarding the female reproductive system:
- Every month, the ovaries release an egg during ovulation.
- When sperm is in the near vicinity, i.e., deposited near or at the cervical opening, there’s a good chance the egg will be fertilized.
- The fertilized egg then travels to the uterus and implants in the uterine lining.
- The egg slowly develops into a fully-formed human being in the next 10 months.
So, how do you know when you’re ovulating? When do I start tracking my ovulation?
The Importance of Ovulation Tracking for Pregnancy Success
Unfortunately, the human body doesn’t get an obvious signal when a mature egg is released from the ovaries. That’s why learning how to track your ovulation is so important when trying to conceive.
Not everyone who is TTC ovulates at the same time. The exact ovulation day depends on how long your menstrual cycle is and how regular it is.
For example, you may have a relatively short cycle of 19 days that’s pretty regular. Meanwhile, your bestie, who’s also trying to get pregnant, may struggle with irregular periods on a longer cycle.
The good news is there are tools to help you predict or detect when your body releases an egg. This way, you’ll know the optimal time to have sex and boost your chances of a bun in the oven. (Fingers crossed!)
How Can I Track My Ovulation Naturally? 7 Different Ways
If you’re new to ovulation tracking, rest assured that it’s a natural family planning method widely practiced by women worldwide. You can either use it to help you get pregnant or avoid pregnancy.
Below, we share the seven top ways of tracking your ovulation and how accurate each method is.
1. Consider the Calendar Method
You may find the calendar method highly effective for healthy, fertile TTC individuals with regular periods. Before you use this method, determine what’s your cycle length.
Here’s a refresher on how to calculate your menstrual cycle:
- The first day of menstruation marks the first day of your cycle.
- Count forward from that day until the first day of your next period.
- Record the number of days for three consecutive months before averaging the numbers to find your average cycle length.
- Month 1: 25 days
- Month 2: 29 days
- Month 3: 30 days
- Average cycle length: (25 + 29 + 30) / 3 = 28 days
To determine if your cycle length is shorter or longer than the average, check out our post on irregular periods and pregnancy.
Once you know your cycle length, use the calendar method to track your ovulation.
How it works:
- Mark the first day of your period.
- Go back 14 days, or two weeks, from the first day of your period. This is typically when you ovulate.
- Ovulation day, plus the 5-6 days leading up to it, is your fertile window. Read our post on your chances of getting pregnant before, during, and after ovulation.
As you can see, the calendar method for tracking ovulation requires some effort. You also need to commit to it for at least a few months so you can gauge your average cycle length.
The twoplus note: The calendar method isn’t 100% effective in tracking your ovulation. It can be even less accurate for people with irregular periods. If you’re wondering how to track ovulation with irregular periods, keep on reading.
2. Try Digital Fertility Monitors and Cervical Mucus Trackers
As millennials and Gen Zs, we are fans of digital tools to make our lives easier and more productive. The same goes for ovulation tracking. That’s why countless digital fertility monitors and cervical mucus trackers help track your period conveniently and discreetly, especially if you experience irregular periods.
Leveraging personal data, these apps utilize algorithms and data science to try and predict your fertility window. Depending on the ovulation tracking app, there are other useful features, such as personalized forecasts, health tips and insights, and tracking for health, mood, weight, intimacy, and more.
To help simplify your decision-making process, we’ve shortlisted some of the most popular ovulation predictors that you can download and use on your smartphone or tablet.
Ovulation tracking app
What it offers
|kegg Fertility Tracker||
That said, period tracking apps are not immune to data privacy breaches and personal information leaks. A 2019 study in the British Medical Journal analyzed 24 mobile health apps and found that a whopping 79% of them “shared user data” and were “far from transparent” about it.
In fact, with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade and make abortion illegal in some states, tons of American women have since deleted their tracking apps. This is to safeguard themselves from a scenario where their personal data on these apps may be used to criminalize them for an illegal abortion in court.
3. Use Ovulation Predictor Kits
Did you know that your body undergoes several hormonal changes during ovulation?
- Luteinizing hormone (LH) levels spike, which takes place roughly 16-32 hours before ovulation.
- Estrogen levels, a sex hormone, increase during the mid-follicular phase (read: egg preparation phase). After ovulation, they fall sharply.
Zeroing in on the LH surge, you’ll likely be able to predict your optimum fertility window.
And that’s a great thing for TTC individuals since LH levels can be quickly and conveniently measured in your urine. All you need is a suitable urine test kit.
Enter the twoplus Ovulation Test Kit. It’s a single-use, rapid test kit to detect ovulation by measuring LH levels in your urine.
All you have to do is to urinate directly onto the ovulation test kit for 5-10 seconds, and you’ll get results within 10 minutes. If you prefer, dip the stick into urine collected in a clean receptacle.
How To Tell You’re Ovulating With an Ovulation Test Kit
A positive test result (i.e., two distinct, clearly marked lines) tells you that your LH levels are high, meaning that ovulation is about to occur. This lets you know the optimal time to have procreative sex.
For the most accurate results, we recommend doing the test between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Consecutive tests should be performed at the same time each day for consistency.
When To Start Tracking Ovulation With Ovulation Test Kits
You can start tracking ovulation with ovulation test kits in the few days leading up to your ovulation day. Using the earlier example of a 28-day cycle, you’ll probably ovulate on day 14, plus or minus one day. From there, count backward and start testing from day 10 onward.
Even if you have irregular periods, you can still try ovulation tracking with these test kits. The trick is to test more often over a wider timeframe.
Because you’ll be testing consecutively for a few days, get the twoplus Ovulation Test Kit in a bundle of 4 or 6 to cover your bases.
4. Track Your Basal Body Temperature
Another widely used method for detecting ovulation is to keep track of your basal body temperature. This refers to the temperature of your body when you’re at rest.
When tracking your BBT for conception, follow these tips:
- Measure your BBT first thing in the morning: Before getting out of bed, use a digital oral thermometer or a thermometer specifically designed to measure the basal body temperature. For greater accuracy, ensure you have at least three hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
- Consistency matters when taking your BBT: As much as possible, take your basal body temperature at the same time every day. You can skip BBT tracking if you’re traveling or partook in alcohol the night before.
- Chart your BBT results: Recording your results on a chart helps you see the pattern of your average basal body temperature for better understanding. If your temperature has increased by roughly 0.4 °C and stayed that way for three days, you have likely ovulated.
Consistent basal body temperature tracking can help you guess your fertile window. But the BBT method only shows whether ovulation has occurred, not when it happened.
As such, BBT chart tracking may not be an accurate way to determine your fertile window.
5. Monitor Your Cervical Mucus Changes and Cervical Position
Changes in Cervical Mucus
The consistency, amount, and appearance of cervical mucus change with your menstrual cycle. As such, it can also be used to track ovulation. Cervical mucus typically goes from dry and sticky to more fluid and watery as ovulation approaches. When ovulation finally occurs, cervical mucus becomes wet and stretchy, resembling raw egg whites.
The reason? It’s a naturally occurring biological process to help sperm pass into the cervix during sex while providing a more hospitable alkaline environment to help them survive.
Changes in Cervical Position
Another bodily sign of ovulation is variation in your cervical position. Taking note of these physical changes can help you detect ovulation.
As ovulation approaches, your cervix goes from:
- Firm to soft,
- Closed to slightly opened up, and
- Sitting lower in your vagina to moving up higher
Learning how to track your cervical position changes may take some time, so you might want to consult your OB-GYN for advice.
6. Look Out for Breast Tenderness and Ovulation Pain
Hormonal changes that accompany ovulation can cause your breasts to become more tender to the touch. As such, breast tenderness could be a way to confirm that ovulation has taken place.
Some women may also experience ovulation pain, commonly characterized as a temporary sharp pain in the lower abdomen. Experiencing this pain may indicate you’re about to ovulate or have ovulated. However, in some women, the pain is severe enough to prevent intercourse.
7. Experience a Surge in Sexual Desire
Perhaps the most primal and natural sign that you’re ovulating is an increased libido. If you’re experiencing a heightened desire for sex, that’s a good indication you’re ovulating.
Of course, this isn’t a foolproof method to track ovulation. There are, after all, multiple reasons to feel like getting it on. Also, feeling stressed, tired, anxious, or down can detract you from the surge in libido or even negate it altogether.
Optimize Your Chances of Conception With Ovulation Tracking
Whether you’ve just started trying or have tried for a while now, there’s merit in learning how to track your ovulation to optimize your chances of a successful pregnancy. Ovulation tracking can also be helpful for those who have miscarried before.
Given the various ovulation tracking methods available, you’re bound to find one that suits your needs. As you can tell by now, there’s no right or wrong answer to “What is the best way to track ovulation?” After all, there’s no 100% foolproof method, and some of the options may take some trial and error to determine your ovulation day.
For a fuss-free option that doesn’t take up much time in your busy schedule, try the twoplus Ovulation Test Kit.
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