The Best Way to Know You Are Ovulating
The best way to tell when you are ovulating - cervical mucus, pee sticks, cervix, taking your temperature...?
The timing to get knocked up is about as delicate as nabbing a reservation at n/naka as their reservation line opens once a month and only for thirty minutes.
You absolutely Need To Know Now when you’re window of opportunity is so he can send his super-swimmers into port on time (if he doesn’t, the egg dissolves after 12 to 24 hours of waiting. Which, honestly, is generous, if my husband is twenty late for drinks, I-out).
Apps draws on an aggregate of averages, and we all know, there is nothing average about you. You are a Hot Bird and need something tailored to your body. We’ll give you all your options, then share with you the B&B way. We want you to optimize every month and leave no egg un-turnt.
Our multi-talented Madeline did this rad sketch to show us our ovulation options at-a-glance.
And here's a chart that shows options in more detail with pricing...
Which is the B&B way? Putting your finger up in’it obvi, among other body-listening methods. We want you to get messy, sticky-familiar and in-love with your body and all her incredible rhythms. There are out-sourced ways to know when you are ovulating (pee on various sticks and devices - all totally valid and important to add to your regime) and then there are your in-sourced ways (several natural body indicators). Why might it be vital to balance both? Take me for instance. Two months ago I ovulated on DAY EIGHT - that’s *early* - too early for me to have started to pee on a stick, so I would have missed my peak entirely if I only relied on out-sourced methods. I normally pop-off between CD 12-14 and for a 28 day cycle, which is a typical ovulation window for this cycle length.
We at B&B want to help you cultivate what we call Body-Listening, or being in communication with your body. She’ll give you a shout out to where she’s at and what she needs. Some of you may be thinking, “But my bodies a beautiful wild wonder to me, I never know wtf’s going on with her?” (I get it, I'm a bit of a tom-boy and each month when aunt flow came, I was shocked, unprepared and left borrowing tampons crusted at the bottom or friends or strangers purses… it was a whole thing). We’ll do this together Birds.
Check out our meditation that helps cultivate body-listening to get more in touch with your rhythms on the reg. Second, we want you to be aware of the specific in-sourced body cues that indicate you are ovulating so you know what to pay attention to.
Repeat after me, My Body Is Strong, My Body Is Healthy, I Know My Body Better Than Anyone Else In The World. (You are invited - on us - to reaffirm this mantra with our Big Chill visualization to destress and energize your baby-making regions).
My favorite pro-fondle method to know when you are ovulating is investigating your Cervical Mucus, also called CM or cervical fluid. Depending on the timing of your cycle, CM can act as a barrier to sperm (sticky, unfriendly) or a super-slick slip n’ slide (slick elastic type that aids the sperm getting to the egg while also keeping it alive while the egg is taking her time primping for her big night out). I want you to learn what optimal fertile mucus looks like, feels like and acts like, then get familiar with yourself and understand your own personal undulations. Let's continue to deepen our conversation with our bodies. Here's a visual guide to CM or cervical fluid.
How to test your Cervical Mucus:
- Either swiping your clean fingers front to back to gather a sample (some find it best to do right after a number one or two, after a nice morning push).
- Or put a clean finger or two inside the vagina.
- Once you have a fluid sample, play with it between two fingers, it's important to gauge color, clarity, its sticky-to-slick ratio and to see whether it stretches. Get it between two fingers and pull it apart to see how much stretch it has. I’ve had even a small amount of fluid stretch like cray.
- Note, after your peak egg-white stretchy fertile fluid, it will become more watery, then becomes sticky, then drys up until your next period.
Pro-tip, always wash your fingers, rinsing off any lotion and germs by using natural perfume-free soap and finish with a long flow of plain water (we don’t want to introduce any bacteria that might alter your perfect pH), also keep nails trim so as not to scratch your sweet-lady.
Here’s the other body nuances you can tune into to know you are ovulating:
- cervix changes
- ovulation sensations
- basal body temperature
- very slight ovulation spotting
- increased sexual desire
- heightened senses
- abdominal bloating, breast tenderness, and/or nausea or headaches.
Let’s start with Cervical Changes as it acts as the gatekeeper that allows sperm in or not. We recommend observing changes over several cycles to gain confidence in identifying shifts. (We can do this together, see the end of the article).
You don’t remember much from sixth-grade sex-ed (I didn’t either!), let’s refresh. The cervix is the lowermost part of the uterus, located 3 to 6 inches inside the vagina at the end of the vag tunnel.
It’s shaped like a mini-donut with a tiny hole in the center, would you like to see what the donut hole looks like, it is good to visualize before you go poking around? Are you prepared for some serious honest visuals? A'ight, I warned ya.
Here’s how to test your cervix yourself.
- You may find it easier to “take a dip” while sitting or curling over in bed or by the loo. Get in the habit of testing in the same position and same time of day so it's apples to apples, or donuts to donuts.
- Put your middle or pointer finger in like when you are putting a tampon in, also remember TTC Birds, no tampons! If you need some lube, use natural options.
- You’ll know it’s your cervix if your finger isn’t able to keep reaching further. You'll be able to move your finger around the cervix and feel the little donut-dent at it's sweet center.
Here's how the difference between your Fertile Phase and Non-fertile.
- the cervix will feel softer (like your lips) and has some give when pushed
- may feel slightly open and squishy or wet (due to the cervical mucus)
- it might feel higher and further to reach
- It will feel firm (like the tip of your nose) or slightly hard with less give
- It will feel "tight" or squeezed shut or closed for bizness
- It also maybe closer and easier to reach and sit lower in the vagina
- It may feel dry (makes sense, it’s like one big physical Stay Out)
Post ovulation, your cervix returns to the infertile position. It's not uncommon for the cervix to be tilted to one side. Also note, if you have a retroverted uterus, you may find your cervix easier during ovulation (also women who have given birth vaginally typically have softer cervices throughout their cycle).
Keep feeling the mini-donut every day over the course of a month, noting the differences in the cervix from week to week and eventually, you’ll be able to tell the differences and whats normal for you, in fact you will be a cervix-whisperer.
Some women can feel Ovulation Sensations, also called mittelschmerz (which sounds about right).
What Ovulation Sensations feel like:
- sharp and sudden abdominal pain or dull cramping
- lasting a few minutes to a few hours (some women report these sensations or pain for several days)
- occurring on the side that you are ovulating, so you may feel the cramps on one side or the other, unless (like me this month) you ovulate on both sides.
Pay attention if you have cramps after ovulation, these might be a sign of either pregnancy/implantation (yeah! But also, not all Birds experience this, so don’t over think it), but it may also be a sign of endometriosis. If you experience cramping after ovulation and it’s not pregnancy or your period, you may want to see your doctor and discuss the possibility of endometriosis as it can be a painful condition that may interfere with your ability to conceive and I’d want you to get the help you need right away.
Basal Body Temperature, or BBT, which is your lowest temperature when you’re body is at rest (like when you are catching zzz’s). After ovulation, high levels of progesterone will trigger your BBT to rise slightly and stay elevated. This method does not offer you a warning before you are ovulating, but rather helps to understand future cycles or confirm that ovulation did occur. The rise is only about .5 to 1 degrees F. Please use a digital thermometer.
Slight Spotting can occur due to the drop in estrogen at the time of ovulation and the uterus lining decreasing a little which causes minor spotting. Like an eye dropper amount.
Another radical sign? Increased Sexual Desire. I personally feel horny (remember the word humping, did you say that too when you were a kid? Horny made me think of humping :>) Also right before I get my period I feel horny, like my body is saying, last call doll! It makes sense that we would feel more stimulated during ovulation, like the bodies natural encouragement to get’er done. Do you ever feel this? Are you in touch with your natural pleasure rhythms? We have some great articles to check out in Sexy-time.
Women can also experience Heightened Senses due to the hormone levels (think, a better sense of smell, taste, and vision - trip out on that!)
Other physical signs you can tune into are - Abdominal Bloating (increased water retention from a rise in estrogen), Breast Tenderness, Nausea or Headaches (sensitivity to hormone changes).
Cool, now you know what to listen for, when’s the best time to get frisky?
Make sure to begin having sex two days before you are due to ovulate. This is your most fertile period, as well as the third day when you actually ovulate. Read more about this, it’s important to learn about optimal semen and more on timing.
Share this article with another Magical Unicorn so she too can get In Touch with her sweet, unique rhythms. (share buttons below)
Also, email me if you’d like to be a part of an exclusive Cervix Whispering month where we chart our in-sourcing together in our mucus/cervix body-listening group. :) We are a sisterhood of brave TTC warriors and we tend to learn quicker as a community of We.
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Main photo credit: http://archive.azcentral.com/commphotos/azcentral/6742/8/18/164714#23