How Do You Confirm Ovulation?

Ovulation is the release of an egg from one of your ovaries during your menstrual cycle. This process happens every month, about two weeks before you would normally get your period. It’s a key time in the cycle because it can lead to pregnancy if an unfertilized egg is fertilized by sperm. Identifying and tracking when you’re most likely to ovulate is important for women who are trying to conceive.

Many methods exist for predicting and monitoring when ovulation will occur, but some are more reliable than others. The most accurate and precise way to confirm ovulation is through hormone tracking and testing. This involves measuring your levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) and estrogen, which rise around the time you’re most likely to ovulate. Your healthcare provider can run blood tests to monitor these hormones during your fertility evaluation.

Another reliable way to confirm ovulation is to use at-home or over-the-counter ovulation kits. These kits test your urine for the presence of a certain substance that is released when an egg is about to be ovulated. This kit can help you pinpoint the day of ovulation, but it cannot tell you exactly when your fertile window will occur.

A change in your cervical mucus can also indicate ovulation. The consistency of your cervical mucus shifts from a thick, sticky fluid to a slippery texture just before you’re ovulating. This is a sign that the cervix is softening and opening up to accept an egg, which can then be fertilized by sperm.

Some women who ovulate each month experience pain in their lower abdomen just before they ovulate. This pain can be dull and consistent or sharp and sudden. If you’re experiencing this pain, see your gynecologist to rule out any medical conditions that could affect your fertility.

You can track cervical mucus changes with a simple finger check, as well. During the fertile window, your cervix moves up higher, is softer and easier to feel with a fingertip, and opens slightly. It may even begin to curve or swell.

Using a microscope, you can also look for a pattern of tiny, delicate fern-like shapes in your saliva. A ferning pattern in your sex is not considered a reliable indicator of ovulation, but it can be useful if you’re already tracking your basal body temperature and other signs of ovulation. You can buy specialized ovulation microscopes to view your saliva, but you can also use an ordinary toy store microscope to see the ferning pattern.

If you have a very irregular menstrual cycle, tracking and confirming your ovulation can be more difficult. However, most women do ovulate each month, and there are treatment options available for those who have difficulty conceiving or who have irregular cycles. If you have irregular periods, work with your OB/GYN to figure out what’s going on and how best to approach ovulation this cycle. By working together, you can increase your chances of a successful pregnancy.