Signs and symptoms of ovulation
Ovulation is the phase of the menstrual cycle in which a mature egg is released from the ovaries and into the fallopian tubes — where it can be fertilized by incoming sperm. Typically, about two weeks after menstruation begins, a woman will release one egg per month.
There are several signs and symptoms that can point to ovulation:
Changes in cervical mucus
Research shows that observing changes in cervical mucus is one of the most effective ways to track ovulation and your current place in the menstrual cycle.
During ovulation, rising estrogen causes an increase in cervical mucus. At the peak of your fertility, your cervical mucus may be stretchy and “egg white”-like in texture. During your fertile window, you are producing the largest amount of mucus you will experience during your cycle.
Observing these qualities can be an accurate sign of ovulation, during which you are two to three times more likely to conceive.
After ovulation, your body starts to produce less cervical mucus. During the post-ovulation period of time, the mucus you produce may:
- Appear clouded
- Have a sticky or tacky consistency
- Dry up
If you are not pregnant, your cervical mucus will be dramatically reduced. However, if the egg is fertilized, you will experience an increase in discharge due to the rising hormone levels in the body.
Increased sex drive
During the middle of your menstrual cycle, you may notice a drastic boost in your libido. This is one of the most common signs of ovulation.
Many women experience tenderness or soreness of the breasts during ovulation. Though it may be subtle, this can be a sign of ovulation — especially when it occurs mid-cycle.
Increased basal body temperature
During ovulation, your body experiences a surge in progesterone, which causes your basal temperature to increase. Your basal body temperature is your lowest body temperature, which is attained during rest and typically measured immediately upon waking. Tracking your morning basal temperature and making a note of increases can help you pinpoint your most fertile days each month.
Pain or aching of ovaries
Some women feel a physical sensation in their ovaries around ovulation, though the sensation varies widely from person to person. You may experience a noticeable ache or twinge of sharp pain. You may experience ovulation sensations as a one-sided backache or cramping — also known as Mittelschmerz.