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When Is Ovulation Day?

Detecting Ovulation and Your Most Fertile Days

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Updated May 19, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

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Knowing what day is Ovulation Day can help you conceive faster. While you don't have to know when your ovulation day is to get pregnant -- since having sex frequently all month long may be good enough and less stressful -- timing baby-making sex for the two days before you ovulate may boost your odds considerably.

If you know when ovulation day occurred, you may also be better able to predict your next period. This can help you decide whether or not your period is late and if it's worth taking a pregnancy test.

However, figuring out your ovulation day is not always simple. There are a variety of ovulation detection methods, but none of them are perfect. You may need to try each one out until you find a method that fits your lifestyle and menstrual cycles.

Ovulation Predictor Kits

An ovulation predictor kit can help determine your ovulation day. Ovulation predictor kits work like pregnancy tests, in that you pee on a stick or strip of paper. Unlike pregnancy tests, which you use once to get a result, ovulation predictor tests are used for several days in a row. When the test line is darker than the control line, ovulation should occur within the next 48 hours.

At least, this is how it works ideally. Ovulation predictor kits may be difficult to use if your period is irregular, and you may need to use more than one set of strips or purchase a kit with extra test strips so you can test over several days.

Ovulation predictor kits may also be inaccurate if you have polycystic ovaries (PCOS). Women with PCOS may have several surges of the hormone LH, which is what ovulation predictor kits test for. While normally a surge of LH indicates the approach of ovulation, for women with PCOS, it may or may not indicate ovulation.

Still, some women have great success with ovulation test kits.

Fertile Cervical Mucus and Ovulation Day

When you're not in the ovulation period, cervical mucus is thick and sticky, so it can trap bacteria and other intruders, including sperm. As ovulation day approaches, your vaginal discharge changes, becoming more abundant and more like raw egg whites. This is to help the sperm swim their way up into the reproductive tract. Once ovulation passes, the cervical mucus will dry up again and become sticky.

Tracking changes in your cervical mucus may help you determine when you're most fertile. In fact, research has found that having sex on days with abundant fertile cervical mucus is one of the best methods of timing sex for pregnancy.

The disadvantage of this method is that some women don't notice changes in their cervical mucus or they lack cervical mucus. Cervical mucus diminishes with age and some medications can dry up cervical fluids, making detection (and conception) more difficult.

Women with PCOS may also have trouble with cervical mucus checks. As with ovulation predictor kits, LH hormone surges can cause fertile cervical mucus to appear several times throughout your cycle.

Body Basal Temperature Charting

Your body basal temperature (BBT) is your body's temperature at rest. If you take your temperature first thing in the morning, before you get up or brush your teeth, you'll get your BBT.

Progesterone is a hormone that rises after ovulation. It also happens to raise your BBT. By charting your BBT, you can figure out your ovulation day. There are free BBT charting computer programs and websites, so don't worry -- graphing know-how isn't necessary!

The disadvantage of using your BBT to detect ovulation is you'll only know after it passes, about three days past your ovulation day. If your cycles are somewhat regular, a BBT chart can help you estimate future ovulation days, but if your cycles are irregular, you may not be able to estimate from month to month.

Ovulation Signs and Symptoms

While you may not have noticed before, ovulation day is proceeded by a number of signs and symptoms. Increasing fertile cervical mucus is one, but there are others, including an increased desire for sex and ovulation pains.

If you're aware of ovulation signs and symptoms, you may be able to figure out intuitively that ovulation day is coming. Unless you're also fertility charting, you may not know the exact date of your ovulation day, but as long as you are having sex if you have any potential symptoms, your odds of having sex on the right days are pretty good.

More on detecting ovulation day:

More on how to get pregnant:

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