Why every woman should know when she ovulates
Tracking the date of your last menstrual period, looking at cervical mucus, and using an ovulation calendar are typically associated with trying to conceive. But every woman benefits from knowing when she ovulates. What are the reasons you, too, should find out when you ovulate — whether you are hoping for a baby, or trying to avoid pregnancy?
Boost your chances of conception
A woman’s fertile window — the time during which she may conceive if she has intercourse — starts around five days before she actually ovulates. Many couples who are trying to conceive increase their efforts around the date of ovulation, for instance by having as much sex as possible when an ovulation test shows up positive. An ovulation calendar or fertility chart allows for advance planning and increases your odds that you will get pregnant.
Seek treatment if you are not ovulating
Changes in your menstrual bleeding and the length of your cycle can indicate medical problems. The same goes for the absence of ovulation or a change in the length of your luteal phase, which is the time between your ovulation and the next expected menstrual period. Women who monitor their ovulation day have a better chance of catching problems with their reproductive health, earlier on. Those who are trying to conceive and are not ovulating will spend less time trying to conceive without seeking treatment if they notice the lack of ovulation themselves.
Preventing unwanted pregnancy
Knowing when you ovulate is really useful if you are trying to avoid pregnancy, too! If you are using condoms, the birth control pill, or another hormonal contraceptive method, the chances are that you will make a mistake sooner or later. Knowing when you ovulate can help strengthen your defenses against an unwanted pregnancy. Some couples have even decided that the rhythm method of preventing conception, in which intercourse is avoided during the woman’s fertile days, is secure enough for them. If you decide to give this method a go, do so at your own risk! (But have in mind that using the pill in a lazy way may be even less reliable, too.)
There are roughly four ways to find out when you are ovulating:
- An ovulation calendar
- Ovulation tests
- Fertility charting using body temperature
- Looking at physical symptoms of ovulation, like ovulation bleeding and pain
Out of these techniques, signing up for an ovulation calendar to give you a good idea of when you are fertile, and then adding ovulation tests to confirm the exact date, is the simplest way to find out exactly when you ovulate. Once you are more familiar with how you feel during your ovulation, you may even recognize the day all on your own.
Olivia writes about how to get pregnant and health and fitness while you’re expecting at Trying To Conceive.