Spot signs of ovulation to take the stress out of planning your pregnancy 

Quick notes

• If you’re not using birth control there’s up to a 30 percent chance you’ll get pregnant

• You can only conceive when the egg is viable, which is between 12-24 hours per month

• There are several physical signs of ovulation to look out for

You can probably relate to spending a lot of time avoiding pregnancy when you were younger. The risk seemed to be that if you have sex even once you’ll find yourself in the family way. The reality, however, is that once you plan to get pregnant and come off birth control, you realize it’s harder than people would have had you believe.

In fact, there’s only around a 30 percent chance of pregnancy each month, because you need to be ovulating in order for your egg to get fertilized by sperm. And to stand the best chance, ideally, that sperm needs to be ready and waiting for the egg to emerge.

So, how do you know when your body is preparing for ovulation, in order to increase your success?

Listen to the signs of your body

Thankfully your body does a pretty job in letting you know when it’s egg time. You get your period on day one of your cycle, and you tend to ovulate between day 11 and day 21. This means you are at your most fertile between days 8-21.

This is quite a long window for guesswork, and there are ovulation tests available to check for sure, however, the following physical indicators can help with accuracy:

  • An increased sex drive
  • A dip then increasing rise in resting  body temperature
  • Your cervix softens and opens up
  • Your vulva may appear swollen
  • Light spotting can occur
  • You may experience mild cramps

[Pixabay/Pexels]
Once you know that you are ovulating, it’s time for the fun bit! Your body’s sexual signals will be increased, meaning subtle changes to the way you walk and even smell, to the opposite sex. This means your libido is higher and you will enjoy sex more, plus you’re more attractive to boot! Try to have sex at least every other day during your ovulation period. Once inside, sperm will stay active for around six days waiting for the egg.

Your breasts may feel slightly more tender due to the change in hormones. You can also check for any cervical changes with your fingers. If there is an increase in cervical mucus or discharge, and it has a thinner, clearer and more slippery consistency (like egg white) then it is a good sign of ovulation.

What if nothing is happening?

It’s easier said than done of course. Feeling anxious or depressed can lower your libido and an increase in the stress hormone cortisol has also been linked to troubles in getting pregnant.

It can also be harder to detect when you are ovulating if you tend to have irregular periods. Missed, or unpredictable periods may themselves be a sign of problems with ovulation, or it may be that you’re less susceptible to ovulation symptoms.

If you don’t have any symptoms, and a home test is inconclusive, then consult your ob-gyn for further tests to ensure everything is ok.

Staying patient is the key to conceiving.

If you eat healthily and stay well-rested, fertilization during your ovulation period will likely be successful. But don’t limit sex to that monthly window. Go at it through the whole month and it’ll further increase your chances, and remind you that sex isn’t all about baby-making!

Keep in mind that parenthood is something you and your partner are embarking on together, so don’t just communicate between the sheets! Make sure to spend quality couple time together to ensure you are both feeling good about your new adventure, and enjoy the next chapter in your relationship.

A deeper dive – related reading on the 101: