a calendar on a yellow background to track ovulation

Trying To Conceive? Here’s How You Can Track Your Ovulation

Amongst other things, getting the timing right is crucial when trying to get pregnant. Here’s everything you need to know about ovulation, including tracking it confidently.

Let’s start off with a quick biology lesson.

Did you know that sperm can survive in the uterus for up to 5 days [1], while the egg can only do so for 12-24 hours after ovulation [2]? 

This means there’s only a grand total of around 6 days during which conception can successfully take place, a period which is also known as the “fertile window.” With such slim odds, it’s no wonder that a successful pregnancy doesn't come as easily as we’d expect!

As such, couples trying to conceive (TTC) would do well to pay attention to when ovulation occurs. This will let you know when you are most fertile [3] and, naturally, when you should be having sex for the best chances of conception.

You also may have heard that some people have sex every 2-3 days throughout the month to get pregnant. While that sounds idyllic, not all couples can commit to such a baby-making schedule, given our busy, stress-filled modern lives. Hence, tracking your ovulation to heighten your chances of conceiving may be a more appealing (and realistic) option for many.

This article will cover the basics behind ovulation tracking, the two approaches you can use, and some tips and suggestions to help you along the way.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended as medical advice.

 

The basics behind tracking your ovulation

For the uninitiated, tracking your ovulation may sound somewhat clinical, but it’s actually very simple and logical. Also, you won’t have to do anything invasive, nor are there any costly medical devices or equipment you’ll need.

The goal of tracking your ovulation is to predict or detect when your body releases an egg. That’s when conditions are primed for fertilisation, marking the optimal time to have sex.

Ovulation tracking is widely practised by women all around the world, which has led to many tried-and-tested methods. In other words, there’s bound to be an option or two that will suit your needs and preferences.

Generally speaking, there are two approaches to tracking ovulation — one attempts to predict when you are most fertile, while the other detects when your body is ripe for conceiving. We’ll take a closer look at each approach in the following sections.

 

Predicting ovulation via the menstrual cycle

The first approach to predicting your ovulation is keeping track of the menstrual cycle.

This approach works based on the principle that ovulation commonly takes place around 14 days before your period begins [4]. While this sounds fairly straightforward, the success of this approach hinges on how regular your menstrual cycle is and how familiar you are with it.

In this case, women with irregular periods, or those prone to occasional bouts of irregularities, may find this ovulation tracking method less accurate [5]. Additionally, you may need to familiarise yourself with your menstrual cycle before finding your average cycle length — a process that can take several months.

 

Fertility monitors and ovulation predictors

kegg Fertility Tracker

If you want to try tracking your menstrual cycle to work out your fertile window, an easy way to do so is with a mobile app or online calendar.

Commonly known as fertility monitors or ovulation predictors, they generally work by giving you tools to track your period conveniently and discreetly. Using the data you provide, these apps then utilise algorithms and data science to try and predict your fertility window. You may also find other useful features, such as personalised forecasts, health tips and insights, and tracking for health, mood, weight, intimacy, and more.

If you would like to try this method of ovulation tracking, we’ve shortlisted some popular fertility monitors and ovulation predictors that you can download and use on your mobile phone or tablet:


Ovulation tracking app

What it offers

kegg Fertility Tracker
  • Fertile window predictions via cervical mucus tracking
  • Personalised fertility readings and patterns in real-time
  • Fast and easy to use with advanced sensing technology

Clue Period and Cycle Tracker

  • Period and PMS predictions
  • Calendar-style overview
  • Personal health tracking with over 30 variables

Flo Period Tracker

  • Period cycle prediction and pattern-tracking
  • Personalised health insights
  • Private chat with other Flo users 

Ovia Fertility & Cycle Tracker

  • Fertile window predictions and daily fertility scores
  • Data feedback and real-time health alerts, daily tips, and insights
  • Anonymous Q&A with the community

Eve Period Tracker

  • View cycle history, forecast ovulation, and upcoming period 
  • Log sex, mood and health trends, and identify personal patterns
  • Visualise health and menstrual data with calendars and charts

Detecting ovulation via hormonal and bodily changes

The other approach to ovulation tracking revolves around detecting your body’s fertility window by monitoring various bodily and hormonal changes. They indicate that ovulation is about to take place or taking place, alerting you to the optimal time to start having sex.

Several biological signs that can be used to detect ovulation. We’ll discuss two of the most convenient ones in-depth and also give an overview of other common methods you can explore.

 

Measuring luteinising hormones in urine [6]

twoplus Fertility Ovulation Test Kit

When ovulation occurs in the body, it is preceded by a surge in the levels of luteinising hormones (LH). This increase occurs between 12-36 hours before an egg is released, reliably indicating your optimum fertility window.

Good thing, then, that LH levels can be quickly and conveniently measured — they can be detected in your urine, so all you need is a suitable urine test kit.

The twoplus Ovulation Test Kit is a single-use, rapid test kit designed to detect ovulation by measuring LH levels in your urine.

All you have to do is pee directly on the ovulation test kit for 5-10 seconds, and you’ll get results within 10 minutes. If you prefer, you may also dip the stick into your urine collected in a clean container.

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.

Try The twoplus Ovulation Test Kit

 

Monitoring your basal body temperature (BBT) [7]

Another widely used method for detecting ovulation is to keep track of your body temperature. In particular, we want to measure the basal body temperature (BBT), i.e., the temperature of your body when you are 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, make sure 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. That said, you can skip BBT tracking if you’re travelling 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.

While consistent tracking of your basal body temperature can help you guess your fertile window, the BBT method only shows whether ovulation has occurred, but not when it happened.

As such, BBT chart tracking may not be an accurate way to determine your fertile window.

 

Other signs that ovulation is taking place [8]

Besides the methods above, other bodily changes signal ovulation is taking place.

 

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.

 

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 [9].

Some women may also experience ovulation pain, commonly characterised as a temporary, sharp pain in the lower abdomen. Experiencing this pain can indicate you’re about to ovulate or have ovulated, although, in some women, the pain is severe enough to prevent intercourse [10].

 

Increased 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. 

 

Ovulation tracking takes on many faces 

twoplus Fertility Ovulation Test Kit shows positive result

As you can see, there are countless ways to track your ovulation and, by extent, the ideal time frame for sex-to-conceive.

You can use your menstrual cycle to predict your fertile window, provided that your period is regular and you’re familiar with it. If that’s not an option, don’t worry, you can always try fertility monitors and ovulation predictors like kegg.

Another common method of ovulation tracking is to take note of your hormonal and bodily changes. From using the twoplus Ovulation Test Kit to recording your basal body temperature results, the good news is, you’ve got options. So, choose the one that works best for you! 

 

Sources:
[1] Nova IVF Fertility, How Long Can Sperm Live Inside The Vagina After Intercourse?, https://www.novaivffertility.com/fertility-help/sperm-live-inside-the-vagina
[2] Nova IVF Fertility, How Long Is A Woman’s Egg Viable After Ovulation?, https://www.novaivffertility.com/fertility-help/how-long-womans-egg-viable-after-ovulation
[3] Medical News Today, What Days Can You Get Pregnant?, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322951
[4] Healthline, What Is Ovulation And The Menstrual Cycle?, https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/what-is-ovulation#timing
[5] Womens-Health.sg, Irregular Periods And Missed Periods, https://womens-health.sg/irregular-periods-and-missed-periods/
[6] Medical News Today, What Does The LH Surge Mean For Pregnancy?, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322954
[7] Flo Health, Basal Body Temperature: How To Measure BBT To Detect Ovulation, https://flo.health/getting-pregnant/trying-to-conceive/tracking-ovulation/basal-body-temperature
[8] The Bump, Ovulation Symptoms: 9 Signs Of Ovulation, https://www.thebump.com/a/ovulation-symptoms-signs-of-ovulation
[9] 
Natural family planning III. Intermenstrual symptoms and estimated time of ovulation, Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7254726/
[10] Is Ovulation Pain Normal?, Verywell Family, https://www.verywellfamily.com/is-ovulation-pain-normal-1960292