How to Keep Track of Ovulation
Posted by Christina Pistotnik
There are a few different methods that a woman can use in order to know when she is ovulating and these include the use of ovarian test strips, basal body temperature (BBT) charting, and cervical fluid monitoring. These are not the only methods to tell if you are ovulating however they are the most popular.
Ovulation test strips
These strips test for ovulation by detecting when there is an increase in quantity of luteinizing hormone (LH) being released by the body and into the urine. This is because when a woman is about to ovulate there is a surge of LH that is released just prior to the ovary releasing the egg. The best possible chance for a woman to conceive in her entire menstrual cycle will be within 36 hours following this LH surge.
Testing strips should be purchased in large quantities because testing has to be done on a daily basis in order to know the exact day of her LH surge. For example if a cycle length is 28 days testing should start on day 12 and continue everyday until a positive test is shown (*note: the start day has to be adjusted depending on cycle length). Due to daily use of testing strips, they are the more pricey option. However, on the plus side they are one of the more accurate ways to tell when your chances of conception are the highest. We do have ovulation test strips available for purchase at Whole Family Health and instructions on how to use them will accompany the product you buy.
Basal Body Temperature (BBT) Charting
Basal body temperature is the temperature the body is at when you first wake up in the morning. A woman’s BBT can predict if ovulation has occurred because tiny shifts up or down in BBT mean weather or not she is ovulating and how well hormones are acting within her body in order to conceive.
A “normal BBT” chart is biphasic (one part with lower temperature readings and second part with higher temperature readings). In the follicular phase (first 12-14 days of cycle prior to ovulation) temperatures are usually lower ranging from 36.1C-36.36C. The Luteal phase (after ovulation) is when the BBT rises ranging from 36.4C-36.8C and continues to stay high until menstruation occurs. However, if you happen to be pregnant your basal body temperature will remain high. BBT charting won’t predict when you are going to ovulate but it will give you an estimate and if you follow it for a few months you should start to notice a pattern occurring from month to month.
How to Properly Take Your BBT
First you will need a Basal body thermometer (one can be purchased from a pharmacy) because this type of thermometer has the capability to detect tiny changes within your temperature ranges. Secondly you will need a chart to keep track of your readings and you can print one from here or from our resource page, another option is if you have a smart phone they now have applications that can graph your everyday BBT readings once imputed.
As stated previously BBT is the temperature of the body first thing in the morning and therefore, it is important to take your BBT first thing upon waking prior to getting out of bed and a minimum of 5 hours sleep is needed for the most accurate reading. It is also important that this is done around the same time each morning within 1 hour. For example if you usually wake up at 7 a.m. then an accurate reading can still be made between 6-8 a.m.
Cervical Fluid Monitoring
Cervical fluid is a type of vaginal discharge that changes throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle due to variables in hormone levels. When tracking the changes in colour, consistency, and texture of your cervical fluid, it can help you figure out when you are ovulating.
Types of Cervical Fluid Throughout Your Cycle
Post menstruation: Once menstruation has finished you will most likely be dry (not much cervical fluid being produced) and will continue for several days. Then shortly after, the cervix will start to produce a cloudy-sticky-couloured fluid that can be compared to a thick lotion or sticky rice consistency. During this time you are less likely to conceive because this type of fluid is not related to ovulation and does not provide a good enough lubricant for the sperm to swim easily in order to reach the egg.
Pre-ovulation: a couple days prior to ovulation cervical fluid will change and become clear-stretchy-slippery with a higher quantity being produced that can be compared to raw egg white consistency. This type of cervical discharge will continue for 1-3days with the last day being the time that you are most fertile because you are about to ovulate. This type of fluid provides enough lubricant to help the sperm swim easily and can propel them towards the egg.
How to Check for Cervical Fluid
Some women produce enough cervical fluid that they can monitor it by wiping a piece of toilet paper from front to back over the perineum and looking at the paper afterwards. If this is the case for you, then the best time to check is after using the washroom first thing in the morning or after having a bowel movement.
However, if you do not produce enough cervical fluid to check this way then you will have to check manually. This can be done while sitting on the toilet, by gently inserting a clean index or middle finger into your vagina reach up toward your cervix and you should feel liquid on your figure and this is what should be examined for consistency and colour.
By keeping track of your ovulation via anyone or all three of these methods, will give you a better understanding of your body and the times that you are most likely to conceive. All of the practitioners at Whole Family Health are here to help you on your journey to becoming a parent through treatments, knowledge, resources, and care.
For information on our fertility acupuncture programs or fertility health, call us today at: 780.756.7736.