If you're trying to get pregnant, the time you'll be most fertile begins one day prior to the day you ovulate and lasts for three days after you ovulate. Ovulation is the process by which your body releases one or more eggs from your ovary. If the egg is fertilized and successfully implants, you're pregnant.
There are several signs that could indicate you're ovulating. Learn to recognize these changes, and you can boost the odds of getting pregnant by having sexual intercourse during this optimal time.
The following observable symptoms can indicate ovulation:
- Breast tenderness
- Abdominal cramps or twinges
- Increased vaginal discharge
- Change in position and firmness of the cervix (ask your doctor how to detect cervix changes)
Basal body temperature
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), immediately following ovulation most women experience a slight but detectable rise in their normal body temperature. By monitoring your basal body temperature first thing in the morning before you rise on a daily basis, and tracking the results on a basal body temperature chart, it's possible to determine that ovulation has occurred. However, conditions such as fever, restless sleep, and exertion can affect the accuracy of the temperature readings.
According to ACOG, another way to detect impending ovulation is to monitor your vaginal secretions or cervical mucus by checking regularly for mucus at the opening of the vagina. In general, your vagina produces the least amount of secretions immediately following the conclusion of your menstrual cycle. The amount and consistency of vaginal secretions follow this pattern for most women:
- Soon after your menstrual cycle, you might notice a sticky or "tacky" vaginal secretion.
- Immediately prior to ovulation, most women usually detect increased vaginal secretions that are wet and slippery (similar to the consistency of raw egg white). Generally, your body produces the greatest amount of this type of vaginal discharge is on the day of ovulation.
- Immediately following the day of ovulation, your vaginal discharge gradually becomes thicker in consistency, and less is secreted.
Be mindful of the following factors that could affect the amount and consistency of your vaginal secretions:
- Vaginal infection or sexually transmitted disease
- Sexual excitement
- Use of lubricants during intercourse
According to Planned Parenthood, the following factors might also influence your vaginal secretions:
- Surgery performed on the cervix
Source: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; Planned Parenthood
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Alway seek the direct advice of your own health or the health of others.