There are several ways to predict ovulation in efforts to know the optimal time to attempt conception. Some methods simply need you to become aware of your body’s changes during the menstrual cycle while others require special equipment.
Ovulation predictor kits can play a key role in determining ovulation. These kits detect a surge in the Luteinizing hormone (LH) that occurs when ovulation is about to take place. LH is released by the pituitary gland and is always in the bloodstream in small amounts. Its job is to stimulate the ovaries into producing and releasing eggs. The LH indicates that ovulation will happen in about 24 to 36 hours. The day the LH surge is detected and the day after are prime baby making time.
There is an array of home ovulation tests and they have been shown to be 99% percent accurate. Home ovulation tests detect the LH surge through chemically analyzing a urine sample.
A basal body temperature thermometer is often considered a necessity in tracking menstrual cycle changes. Basal body temperature (BBT) is your temperature at rest, before any daily activity takes place. A BBT thermometer is a special thermometer with one-tenth degree increments. BBT will range from 96.0 to 98.0 Fahrenheit during the first two weeks of the menstrual cycle prior to ovulation. As the hormone estrogen increases to prepare for ovulation, BBT will have an upward shift that will range between 0.4 and 1.5 degrees. This shift indicates the egg has been released from the ovary.
While BBT does not change before ovulation happens, it does provide a lot of information about your menstrual cycle. Recording the changes in BBT helps you to be able to predict patterns in future cycles. This method is best when used in conjunction with other natural predictors.
Another technique in predicting ovulation is through the relatively new method of salivary ferning. There is also an initial upfront cost when purchasing a mini microscope to test saliva. Due to an increase in estrogen levels, mucous membranes have been shown to produce more salt as you enter the fertile period of your menstrual cycle. This increase in salt causes saliva to crystallize into fern-like patterns when viewed through a microscope. These fern-like patterns are only present when ovulation is about to begin. During non-fertile periods of the menstrual cycle, dried saliva will create a random pattern of dots when dried and viewed through a microscope.
Studies have shown that ferning begins within one to two days of egg white cervical mucous. Studies also show that using salivary ferning with other body cues can render a 99% accuracy rate in predicting ovulation.
Checking cervical mucus is natural way to predict ovulation. During the non-fertile phase of the menstrual cycle, cervical mucus is non-existent or present in minute amounts. This cervical mucus present during this time will be thick, cloudy and brittle.
As your cycle approaches ovulation, estrogen levels increase thereby increasing the amount of salt and water found in cervical mucus. This mucus will begin to increase ten times in volume while becoming slippery, stretchy and clear, often resembling egg whites. This “egg white” mucus indicates when it is time to make a baby.
Also, changes in cervical positioning is an indicator of impending ovulation. Checking the position of your cervix can be difficult. The best way to learn the position of your cervix is to discuss it during your next wellness visit. After menstruation has ended, the cervix will rest low, feel hard, and the opening will be closed. Often, people describe it as feeling like your nose. As ovulation approaches, the cervix will continually soften as it rises to the top of the vagina. At the apex of ovulation, the opening will widen to allow sperm to enter. At this point, it may feel like your lips. When the cervix seems to disappear, it is because it has blended in with the texture of vaginal walls and has risen to high to be reached. This stage is known as SHOW: soft, high, open, and wet.
Finally, an ovulation calendar and fertility chart is an excellent aid when attempting to predict ovulation. A chart is used to record the cyclical changes to predict future patterns based on the previously charted information. The chart provides a place to record the beginning of your period, physiological and emotional fluctuations, BBT, cervical changes, cervical mucus cycles, and ovulation test results.
By testing and recording the changes, you should be able to determine a trend in your cycle. This understanding of your cycle in addition to ovulation tests should help you identify those magical few days when your body is capable of creating a new life. Happy baby making!