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How Can I Tell if I’m Ovulating?

You might be able to tell you’re ovulating if you experience minor cramping, unusual discharge, and an increased sex drive. Not all women can tell when they’re ovulating, however, and ovulation doesn’t happen on the same day of each month.

What Happens During Ovulation?

Once a month, your ovaries release an egg in anticipation of being fertilized by sperm. A few days before this occurs, your body undergoes a few changes in preparation for ovulation. These include:

  • Changes to your vaginal and cervical mucus. It becomes clearer and slicker to help transport sperm into the uterus and fallopian tubes to fertilize the egg.
  • The release of luteinizing hormone (LH), which signals the ovary to release an egg.
  • A higher resting body temperature in response to the pregnancy hormone progesterone.

You’re most likely to get pregnant within the three to five days surrounding ovulation.

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Signs of Ovulation

You might notice subtle signs of ovulation a day or two before you actually ovulate, as well as the day of ovulation, including:

  • Mild cramping.
  • Clear, slick vaginal discharge, often described as having the appearance and texture of egg whites.
  • Increased sex drive.
  • Increased basal body temperature, which is your body’s temperature as soon as you wake up in the morning. To find out if your basal body temperature has risen due to ovulation, use a basal body thermometer to track your oral temperature every morning as soon as you wake up. A rise as tiny as 0.4 to 0.8 degrees Fahrenheit can mean you’re about to ovulate.
  • Higher LH levels. You can order a simple urine LH kit online to test these hormone levels — they typically spike within 36 hours of ovulating.

Watch for these signs of ovulation to determine when you’re most fertile, and use birth control and barrier methods such as condoms during this time if you don’t plan to get pregnant.

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