Ovulating days or the most fertile days in a woman that starts around the 14th day of the menstrual cycle. However, this may vary from person to person. Ovulation is the female reproductive process of releasing a mature egg from the ovary and transferring it to the fallopian tubes for its union with the sperm. Generally, one egg is released every month, which happens 2 weeks after the menstruation begins. Normally, the ovulation is said to occur between the 10th to 16th day of a menstrual cycle (counting from the first day when the bleeding starts). However, the menstrual cycle varies from one woman to the other. Below are a few common symptoms when a woman may be ovulating:
- Increased sex drive: Feeling sexually aroused or more sociable than normal may be signs of ovulation. Especially when the woman is in the middle of the cycle (10th to 16th day of a menstrual cycle), the body may be showing a few signs to convey that it is ready for sexual intercourse, as the egg is released.
- Changes in breasts: A few women feel that their breasts are a little sore during the middle of the cycle, which may be a sign of ovulation.
- Increase in basal body temperature: Due to a surge in progesterone hormone levels, a woman’s basal body temperature may increase by 0.5 degrees during ovulation, especially at rest. One can measure it by taking temperature first thing in the morning. Keeping a track of basal temperature can chart out the most fertile days in the month.
- Stomach pain: A few women may feel something happening in their ovaries around ovulation. These sensations may vary wildly and could be anything from mild aches to twinges of pain. Some women have a condition called Mittelschmerz, where they feel the ovulation as a one-sided backache. The feeling may last anywhere between a few minutes to a few days.
- Change in vaginal discharge: Women usually notice a change in the vaginal discharges (cervical mucus), especially during ovulating days. The changes are caused by rising levels of estrogen in the body, which is needed to release an egg. Women may be most fertile when the cervical mucus has the consistency of a raw egg white, which may be clear and slippery. This is helpful for sperms moving through the uterus, as it helps speed them up and nourishes and protects them as they travel towards the fallopian tubes to meet the egg.
- Mild spotting: Around 3% of women experience spotting during ovulation. Rapid hormonal changes can potentially cause spotting; the spotting is usually pink or pale red during ovulation. However, it is not very common.
Which tests are usually considered to know the ovulation days for pregnancy?
A woman may rely on a few accurate and common tests, such as
- Ovulation kits: These contain antibodies to luteinizing hormones, which peak around 12 to 36 hours before ovulation. Testing the morning urine sample with these kits helps to determine whether ovulation has occurred or not. These home testing kits give accurate results in about 90 % cases.
- Fertility monitors: It is an all-inclusive device that monitors monthly cycles, hormone levels, body temperature, and electrolyte levels. This may help in charting out the ovulating days every month.
- Blood tests: The most common blood test is detecting the progesterone level. It is typically done in the third week of the cycle around day 21 to 23. Progesterone is released in pulses after the ovulation, so even a low progesterone level might be perfectly normal. Luteinizing hormone (LH) can also be detected at high levels in the blood during the 48 hours around ovulation. This test is not commonly performed and requires frequent trips to the laboratory for blood testing.
- Transvaginal ultrasound: The egg develops within a part of the ovary called the follicle (a fluid-filled sac). As the egg gets ready to ovulate the follicle grows larger. Follicle growth can be measured with the ultrasound, a technique that uses sound waves to produce an image on a monitor screen using a tampon-like probe placed in the vagina. Before ovulation, the follicle is thin-walled and filled with fluid. Ovulation generally happens when the follicle measures between 1.8 and 2.5 cm. For women on fertility treatment, ultrasound may help time intercourse or insemination. In women taking fertility drugs, ultrasound may be done on several different days during the menstrual cycle to measure and monitor each follicle.
Why should a woman chart her ovulating days?
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