You’ve got the uterus. You’ve got the sperm. Now it’s time to make a baby.
But, wait, you’re missing one important aspect of conception – the perfect timing! This is where ovulation comes in. Here are ten ways to track your body and understand your cycle for maximum baby-making success.
If every woman was the same, then we would all experience 28 day menstrual cycles. We would all ovulate on day 14, and remain fertile until day 16. And we would all have no problem falling pregnant.
But this isn’t the case. Every woman will experience different menstrual cycles, different ovulation days (and duration) and different signs/symptoms during ovulation. And thus, it’s up to every woman to uncover what her unique cycle is.
Learning how to recognise ovulation can help increase your chances of falling pregnant (by knowing when to have sex).
Here are the 10 signs that it’s time to get busy!
1. You feel an annoying pain in your lower abdomen
There is a technical term for this sudden, constant pain – mittleschmerz, which translates to ‘mid pain’ in German. The pain shouldn’t be intense (if it is, see your doctor), but it can be noticed in some women.
2. Your basal body temperature drops slightly
Taking your temperature every morning is not what you would normally wake up to do (I’d much prefer to be greeted with a cup of tea, not a basal thermometer). But, if you are trying to conceive, it’s probably a good idea.
Right after ovulation your basal temperature will rise (very slightly). It will normally stay at this temperature until your next period or, if you are pregnant, it will continue to stay higher than normal.
3. Your cervical mucus becomes clear and stretchy
Tracking your cervical mucus is another easy way to determine ovulation from the comfort of your toilet seat. Cervical mucus goes through stages during your cycle. Right after your period it tends to be dry, then creamy, then watery and then, clear, slippery and stretchy (sort of like raw egg white). When it reaches this latter stage, it’s a clear sign of ovulation.
4. Your cervix gets softer and higher
You can also track your cycle by checking the position of your cervix every morning. The best position to do this is sitting on the toilet, squatting or standing with one leg on the edge of the bathtub.
Insert one or two fingers into the vagina and feel for the cervix, located in the upper front or the top.
When you are not fertile, your cervix will be low and hard. The opening to the uterus will be closed. During ovulation the cervix rises to the top of the vagina, becomes softer, higher, open and wet (SHOW).
5.Your breasts become more sensitive
Tender breasts can happen throughout your cycle, especially if you have fibrocystic breasts. Breast sensitivity right before ovulation is caused by hormones. By checking your breasts every day, you may be able to determine this slight change in sensation.
6. You start to sprout a food baby /belly bloat.
Belly bloat typically occurs around ovulation. Why? You can thank the rise in oestrogen for the increased water retention and lovely looking food baby.
7. Your senses are slightly heightened
Hormone levels can also increase your sense of smell, vision and taste. Again, this isn’t always noticeable and you may need to track your senses every day to determine this.
8. You experience slight spotting
Very light bleeding can occur during ovulation due to the change in oestrogen. If this were the case in all women, then it would a lot easier to predict ovulation. However, ovulation bleeding only occurs in a small percentage of women and not always regularly every month.
9. Your libido increases
We all have highs and lows when it comes to our sex drive. But you may find that you have increased desire to get naked right before and during ovulation.
10. Your saliva changes patterns
You’re already tracking your temperature, cervical mucus, cervix position and breast tenderness on a daily basis. So why not add saliva to the mix too?
You can check the pattern of your saliva through a special microscope or even a toy one. Right before ovulation the pattern will change from little raindrop-like dots to criss-crossed lines (similar to the way a scar is drawn). This change occurs about 24-36 hours before ovulation.
Learning how to monitor your cycle isn’t always easy and it can take a few months to get used to your body and the changes that occur every month. And, of course, if you do fall pregnant, you can expect your body to undergo even more unexpected surprises!
When you’re pregnant, try our Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Smoothie!
Pregnant women need additional calories and nutrients in pregnancy and our Pregnancy Smoothie has been specially formulated to help women reach these additional calorie and nutrient needs.
The Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Smoothie is designed to complement, not replace, your prenatal vitamin intake. Our nutritionists ensured that the vitamins and minerals in the smoothie are at a low level so there is no risk of doubling up on any pregnancy vitamins.
It is ideal as a high-protein, high-calcium snack in pregnancy. You can download the Pregnancy Smoothie Label here.