There are 6 different ways to track ovulation:
1) Changes in discharge
This is one of the easiest ways to track your ovulation. However, for many women, there is shame and misunderstanding about the vaginal discharge and a perception that it is unclean or unhealthy. The truth is that vaginal discharge is very healthy – it reflects the vagina’s pH, lubrication, and healthy state of vaginal tissue. Here is what you should look for in healthy cervical fluid throughout the month (these dates are based on a 28 day cycle):
- Menstruation (Days 1 – 7) – Period time!
- Follicular Phase (Day 8 – Day 13) – Cloudy, perhaps slightly yellowish with a ‘’tacky’’ consistency
- Ovulation (Day 14 – 15) – Clear with a sticky, slippery, egg-white like texture
- Luteal phase (Day 16 – 28) – Tacky & cloudy, becoming more dry as you approach your period.
2) Basal temperature
Taking your basal body temperature is ritual that requires discipline. It must be taken at the same time each morning, as soon as you wake up, while still in bed, before you do anything. As you ovulate, your temperature will spike and remain higher until you get your period. The ovulation temperature is equal to or greater than 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit. There are things that can help you to do this in a simple and technologically synced way. I recommend Wink from Kindara as a tool for basal body temperature tracking that syncs with your smart phone.
3) Cervical position
The cervix changes position and texture throughout the menstrual cycle. You can check this while sitting on the toilet. Gently insert a finger into your vagina and feel for the cervix on the top or upper front.
- Follicular phase - it is firm and sits low
- Ovulation – it is soft, high and more open
- Luteal phase – it returns to firm and low
4) Phone Apps
Using an app is one of the easiest way to track your period, to keep notes about your symptoms throughout the month, and to document your ovulation tracking. I love my app called the Period Tracker but there are loads of options on the market.
5) Noting symptoms
Certain symptoms may also be signs as to whether or not you are ovulating. These symptoms include:
- Pain or cramping on one side – This can be pain from when the egg ruptures from the follicle.
- Light spotting – This can be a bit unsettling, but light spotting at ovulation can be a normal occurrence.
- Increased sex drive
- Increased energy and sociability
- Breast tenderness
6) Ovulation Tests
These tests are handy when you have a general idea as to when you should be ovulating. They work similarly to the standard, drug-store pregnancy test, in that you urinate on a stick and wait for the results. They are used to measure the levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) levels. A surge of LH occurs a day or 2 before you ovulate to stimulate the release of the egg.
The tracking options that I use monthly are tracking changes in cervical discharge, noting my symptoms, and using my phone app. When I was trying to get pregnant, I incorporated the ovulation tests and tracking my basal body temperature. Experiment with what you feel comfortable doing and what gives you the most accurate insight into the changes in your cycle and your ovulation timing. If you are concerned that you may not be ovulating, see your doctor, who can perform blood tests to investigate hormonal fluctuations throughout the month more in depth.
Understanding your cycle, including knowing when you ovulate, should not be reserved for when you’re trying to get pregnant. This knowledge is empowering for health, self-awareness, and for emotional well-being. This practice can aid in reconnecting to your natural cycles, feminine strength, and creativity.