Tracking Ovulation - Ovulation Is Tricky Business

Like Nailing Jello To A Wall

While women have much in common, they also have many differences. It would be lovely to be able to say that all women ovulate exactly mid-cycle, and that all women have predictable menstrual cycles. However, that is not the case. There are so many variables. Periods aren't always regular, affected by stress, illness, physical activity and hormones. Sometimes a woman skips a period and sometimes she'll have two in one month. It just depends upon what is going on at the time. At the end of the day, a woman's menstrual period can often be hard to track. However, if she knows when she ovulates, a woman can track her cycles better, and that's a good thing-especially if she's trying to conceive.

What Is Ovulation?

Ovulation happens during the ovulatory phase of the menstrual cycle. During this phase, an egg is released from an ovary and caught up into the fallopian tube where it will wait to be fertilized by a sperm. Signals are sent to the body to increase the amount of estrogen being produced which, in turn, signals increased production of luteinizing hormone (LH) that helps a woman to ovulate. When the LH hits a certain level, an egg is released from an ovary.

How Can I Know?

Some women are fortunate enough to have their menstrual cycle very regularly, every 28 days, rain or shine, and for these women figuring out when they ovulate is pretty simple. Other women have a more difficult task because their periods are irregular or off by one or two days every month. A safe bet in figuring out when ovulation occurs is to count two weeks (14 days) from the first day of menstruation. Or, counting backwards, two weeks before the beginning of the next menstruation. This isn't always easy to do. Understanding body signs can aid immeasurably in discovering individual ovulation.

Knowing when ovulation occurs allows a woman to have some control over her reproductive life. There are some benefits to knowing when ovulation is happening. Tracking ovulation is a good way to track menstruation. Women who deal with endometriosis or irregular periods will benefit because often ovulation is irregular for them. A woman is her most fertile during ovulation so if she is desiring to conceive, this is the time to have intercourse. For women who chose not to conceive, tracking ovulation is a good way to prevent pregnancy.

Some Signs Of Ovulation

Animals give off scents or overt signs of fertility. Humans don't have the same faculties, so discerning ovulation can be challenging. However, there are some signs that humans do give off during ovulation to be aware of: the rise in hormones may cause a woman's breasts to be tender both before and during ovulation. Mittelschmerz is the name given to pain in the abdomen which occurs during ovulation, often presenting itself as a sharp twinge or cramp. Basal body temperature usually increases during this time and the cervix will produce a different type of mucous.

Learning how to read the signs can help a woman keep track of her ovulatory cycle.

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