Ovulation Tracking

Lee Bladon 6:28 pm

Ovulation Tracking

To know when are you most fertile

5 Ways to Track Your Monthly Fertility

When you’re trying to get pregnant, it is essential to understand the stages of your monthly cycle, because it can help you to identify the days that you’re most likely to conceive. You’re at your most fertile on the day of ovulation and a few days before, because sperm can survive about 5 days in the uterus and fallopian tubes.

There are a number of completely natural ways to keep track of your ovulation in order to determine the best days to have sex. These include tracking your menstrual cycle to calculate when you are most likely to ovulate, charting your basal body temperature (BBT), and monitoring changes in your cervical mucus. For best results, it’s helpful to use a combination of these. The above methods are effective if your cycle is regular, but if your cycle is erratic, using ovulation test strips is a more reliable option. And if you are still struggling, perhaps due to PCOS, you may want to try an OvuSense Advanced Fertility Monitor?

Ovulation Tracking

1. Ovulation Test Strips (with Phone App)

The most convenient way to track your ovulation is with ovulation test strips and a phone app. Bulk packs of test strips are inexpensive, and the phone app is free.

A surge of Luteinising Hormone (LH) triggers the release of an egg (ovulation). The LH surge can take a few hours (rapid onset) or a few days (gradual onset) to reach its peak before ovulation. The test strips work by detecting LH in your urine. You simply need to pee into a cup, dip the test stick in for 5-10 seconds, then wait 5 minutes. The results are scanned into the app (using your phone camera), and the app predicts your peak fertility days.

Packs of ovulation test strips usually also include some pregnancy test strips, which saves you having to buy them separately:

  • Ovulation test strips are most accurate when used in the afternoon.
  • Pregnancy test strips are most accurate when used first thing in the morning.

Note: The Premom phone app will try to get you to “upgrade to premium”, for a fee, but there’s no need to do this, because all basic functions you require are free.

2. Menstrual Cycle Tracking & Ovulation Calculator

There are about 6 days each menstrual cycle when you can get pregnant, which is known as your “fertile window”. It includes the day of ovulation and the 5 days before, because sperm can survive in the uterus and fallopian tubes for 5 days. Having sex within this fertile window is key, although it shouldn’t be limited to only these dates.

Manually calculating your “fertile window” can a bit complicated, but this free online ovulation calculator does all the hard work you. You just need to know the date your last menstrual cycle started and the normal length of your mental cycle:

  • Click the link to open the free ovulation calculator (in a pop-up window).
  • Enter the two pieces of required information, then click “Calculate”.
  • Then either print the document or make a note of the “green” dates, which are your “fertile window”, the dates you are most likely to conceive.
  • We recommend having sex one or two days before the first “green” date, then on the first, middle and last days of the “green” dates. But you can be flexible, and please don’t stress if you can’t, or don’t feel like doing it on those exact dates – a day earlier or later is perfectly fine. For the rest of the month, simply relax and have sex at your usual frequency.

3. Basal Body Temperature

Your basal body temperature (BBT) is your lowest body temperature in a 24-hour period, which is first thing in the morning when you wake up. A rise in BBT (often as slight as 0.2°C to 0.5°C) is one of the signs that your body is ready to ovulate. So, by recording your temperature at the start of each day, you should be able to see the temperature change, which means one of your ovaries has released an egg.

You’ll need a basal body thermometer, which is more sensitive than most and can track changes down to a 10th of a degree. They’re available in pharmacies or online (see the links). For best results, take your temperature at roughly the same time each morning, and do it before you even sit up in bed. So, keep the thermometer and a phone or paper chart on your bedside table and measure your BBT as soon as you wake up. The thermometer should be placed under the tongue for 1 minute, making good contact with the underside of the tounge so an accurate reading can be obtained.

Remember, it may take a month or two before you begin to see a pattern and understand what your body is doing. It is important to know that your basal body temperature usually increases the day after ovulation, so it isn’t a green light to start trying – it should only be used for prediction. BBT is up to 78% accurate at predicting ovulation.

DID YOU KNOW? If your basal body temperature is consistently low (e.g. below 36°C), you could have an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism), which could be contributing to your infertility. If so, please consider getting a thyroid test, either via your GP or online.

You’re most likely to get pregnant when you have sex in the 3 or 4 days before ovulation, the day of ovulation or the day after ovulation. After your temperature has spiked for three days, your chances of conceiving are greatly reduced.

4. Cervical Mucus Changes

Throughout the month, a woman’s cervical mucus changes in consistency and colour. Just before and during ovulation, the viscosity, colour and quantity of cervical mucus change to make it easier for you to get pregnant. So this is a very simple way to know the best days to have sex if you want to conceive.

As your ovaries prepare to release an egg, your cervix makes more mucus. A couple of days before you ovulate, the mucus gets more slippery and stretchy, like egg whites. This stage, which usually lasts about 5 days, is when you’re most fertile, so most likely to get pregnant.

  • Dry (non-fertile): Days 1 to 3 after your period, there is little or no cervical mucus.
  • Sticky (non-fertile): Days 4 to 6, the mucus is like a gluey paste and can be bit lumpy.
  • Creamy (semi-fertile): Days 7 to 9, the mucus is like pearly-white or creamy-yellow lotion.
  • Egg White (most fertile): Days 10 to 14, the mucus is like raw egg whites. It’s clear, slippery, stretchy, and there’s lots of it. It’s perfect for sperm to swim through, so this is the best time to have sex.

A good time to check your cervical mucus is first thing in the morning, but it can be done at any time of day. Some days you may see cervical mucus on the toilet paper after you wipe. If not, you’ll need to insert a clean finger into your vagina (towards your cervix) to get enough mucus to examine properly. Cervical Mucus changes can be recorded on the Basal Body Temperature Paper Chart.

Feminine hygiene products and thrush can affect your cervical mucus, which is why it’s best charted in conjunction with other methods, such as Basal Body Temperature. Cervical mucus can be increased and improved by consuming more water, evening primrose oil, grapefruit juice, carrots and dark green leafy vegetables.

    5. OvuSense Fertility Monitors

    The OvuSense Advanced Fertility Monitor is very useful for women who struggle to track their ovulation by conventional methods, and want to take control of their fertility. The OvuSense vaginal sensor is a fully approved class II medical device with 10 patents, and is clinically proven in 10 peer reviewed journals.

    If you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), Endometriosis, Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR) or Thyroid Issues, you may be experiencing irregular cycles and/or irregular ovulation. You may have regular cycles but irregular ovulation, or you may have infrequent periods, making it impossible to know exactly when ovulation occurs. In these situations, OvuSense Advanced really comes into its own, because it predicts ovulation in real time. By monitoring continuously, its also shows you exactly what’s happening throughout the rest of your cycle, which is vital in helping you to conceive and stay in control of your issues.

    OvuSense is 96% accurate at predicting ovulation, and 99% accurate at confirming ovulation. It is clinically proven to predict your ovulation up to 24 hours in advance, and studies show it can save you up to 15 months trying to conceive. OvuSense Advanced costs £199 per year, and there is a 90 day money-back guarantee.

    If you don’t like the idea of a vaginal sensor, you may want to consider the OvuSense Flex which uses a sensor that is worn in a wristband or armband. It confirms ovulation with 99% accuracy, and it displays your 8 day fertile window at the start of each monthly cycle (after the first month of use). OvuSense Flex costs £25 per month, and if you don’t get pregnant within the first 3 months, you’ll receive a free nurse consultation and the option upgrade to the advanced vaginal sensor, for the same monthly fee.

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