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Ovulation: Primary and Secondary Signs

When Do I Ovulate During My Menstrual Cycle?
Listening to Your Body and Reading the Signals

This article provides a brief overview of those both celebrated and less valorized signs of ovulation and high-fertility. Each of these physiological signs are dealt with in-depth throughout our site, so we'll provide links to articles that elaborate on these topics in detail. Bookmark this page as an index for looking up potential fertility signs and natural cycle patterns that indicate when you are most like to become pregnant.

The cycle days prior to and during ovulation mark your period of highest fertility. Timing lovemaking during this window of opportunity will vastly increase your chances of getting pregnant - that's a fact any doctor will confirm. Understanding the natural body signals that anticipate when you ovulate - or confirm that ovulation has taken place - is the key to distilling fertility patterns, predicting peak fertility, and timing lovemaking accordingly.

Above all, the purpose of understanding these signs is to learn from your body and recognize your body's unique fertility patterns (within the large context of your monthly menstrual cycle). Indeed, your patterns - or personal fertility profile if you will - are what you are looking for, and these bodily indicators, signs, and signals can be noted on a comprehensive fertility chart so you can observe calendrical patterns from month to month. You'll also be able to cross-check fertility indicators with other signs or home ovulation testing results.

If you understand how your menstrual cycle works, read on... If you need a brief refresher on your menstrual cycle (as well as the dynamics of fertility and reproductive processes) click here.

Primary Ovulation Signs: The Fundament of Your Fertility Chart

Changes in Cervical Mucus (CM): During your cycle, you should be able observe and record changes in the look and feel of cervical fluids (also referred to as cervical mucus, or CM). When it comes to examining cervical fluid, there are three referential poles for determining fertility patterns: the amount of CM present, the appearance/color of CM, and the texture of CM. On another referential axis - and based on these descriptive factors above - you will be able to determine if you are experiencing Non-Fertile CM, Transitional CM, or Fertile CM.

Non-Fertile CM: When you are not fertile, cervical fluids will be scant or not present at all. You may experience sensations of dryness, or your cervical mucus will be sticky, firm, and will not stretch between the fingertips (it will break). Non-fertile CM will hold its form. From a visual standpoint, non-fertile cervical mucus will be opaque (can't see through it) and of a white or yellow color. You'll experience non-fertile CM both early and late in your cycle.

Transitional CM: As you approach your ovulation date, estrogen-based hormones flood the body and facilitate changes in the structure of cervical fluids. Now, you'll start to see an increase in the amount of CM, as well as tactile and visual changes. Transitional CM will start to thin out, will be less able to hold its shape (from a formal or structural standpoint), and should become less sticky. While the color may remain white or yellow, you may be able to view a translucent quality to the CM.

Fertile CM: Around the time you ovulate, you should be able to observe big changes in the quality and quantity of CM. CM should be abundant, thin (even watery to some degree) and very stretchy: In fact, it should be able to stretch between your fingers without breaking and will not hold its form. To the eye, fertile cervical fluids will be more transparent and if you hold it up to light, you may be able to see through it to some degree.

More on Cervical Mucus...
> How to Observe Cervical Fluids
> Spinnbarkeit (Egg-White CM)
> Reproductive Purpose of Cervical Mucus
> Products to Support Cervical Fluids: Fertile CM

Position and Feel of Your Cervix: As with cervical mucus, the position and feel of your cervix will also undergo several marked changes during your menstrual cycle. You can detect theses changes through simple self-examination with clean, dry fingers.

The cervix is the part of a woman's body that connects the vagina to the uterus. As you approach ovulation, the cervix will soften and become moist. The cervical entrance will open and the tip of the cervix will begin to lift. Of course, all of these descriptive terms are relative and require that you monitor the position, texture, and openness of the cervix throughout your cycle.

By writing down daily observations on your fertility chart, you will be able to flush out the unique patterns of these descriptive characteristics. You will also be able to determine how the patterns of one unique fertility sign (cervical position) cross-reference and temporally parallel other fertility signs (e.g., CM, ovulation test results). Read more about cervix position and ovulation.

Charting Basal Body Temperature: BBT charting with a basal thermometer is typically considered the primary foundation of your overall fertility chart/ovulation calendar. In brief, bbt charting requires you to measure your resting temperature each morning before getting out of bed. When you ovulate, progesterone levels will increase - and progesterone will heat up the body markedly. Therefore, once ovulation takes place you will be able to recognize a increase in your baseline body temperature. This increase will start with ovulation and last for most of the rest of your cycle, trailing down right before you have your period.

BBT charting performs two major functions. It 1) Allows you to determine when you ovulated during your cycle 2) Verifies that ovulation in fact took place. Besides these key function, BBT charting can also tell you many important things about your menstrual cycle (length of luteal phase) and many women claim they can detect pregnancy by monitoring BBT temperatures.

More on BBT Charting..
> How to BBT Chart
> Mercury-Free Basal Thermometers
> Question and Answers about BBT Charting

Secondary Fertility Signs are more contingent than the primary signs above. This means that they may not occur in all women - and in the case of ovulation spotting or mittelschmerz, only a minority of women will experience these body signals. It also means that variation in intensity and duration of these body signals will also be unique and difficult to "universalize". That said, by educating yourself to what characterizes these physical signs, and by knowing when they might occur, you may develop a more acute awareness and start to recognize feelings and sensations that would otherwise be attributed to causes unrelated to fertility or completely disregarded.

Increased Libido: Around the time you ovulate, you may experience increased libido and a higher overall sex drive. This makes sense, considering that your body is preparing itself to become pregnant; its logical that you might feel a libidinal charge this time of month.

Breast Sensitivity: After you ovulate, progesterone is secreted by the corpus luteum. This increase in the hormone progesterone may also contribute to increased breast and nipple sensitivity directly following ovulation.

Mittelschmerz (Ovulation Pains) and Spotting During Ovulation: Mittelschmerz - a pain on one side of the lower abdomen - is caused by the egg bursting form the ovary at the very moment you ovulate. This bursting forth may also cause a very light bleeding with resultant spotting (a faint appearance of blood that may show up, for example, in cervical fluids). While only about 20% of women will experience ovulation pains, even less will be able to detect ovulation spotting. Nevertheless, both of these symptoms do allow you to pinpoint fertility as they are physical-symptomatic correlates of the very process of the ovulation itself.

More on BBT Charting..
> Ovulation Spotting
> Ovulation Pains
> Symptoms
> Implantation Bleeding


Who you think you are??? If, by any chance, you are a teacher, what a, and I fell sorry for those kids who have to deal w/ such an as...hole, if that's so. Mind you business and let other people express what they want or need without thinking they have a writing problem,,,
Or better yet, look for some one who can give you attention (si es que quieren estar con una inadaptada social como tu).

Dear Anonymous - Jan 20, 2011,

A few points which I'm sure your smug self has already considered.

1)The comma should be placed after "or" as follows:

...can barely type or, as it seems, speak proper English.

2)How can you deduce from someone's typing whether they can "speak proper English"? Writing and speaking are two completely different skills and my friend you have a rare gift indeed if you can accurately assess someone's speaking skills just from seeing how they type.

3)Have you ever met a newborn who wasn't illiterate?

If you brought a literate child into the world, you should definitely write a book or, better yet, have them write it for you.

And finally, next time you slam people in a forum, use your real name instead of hiding behind "Anonymous". Hopefully your literate child will never stumble across your post and see how utterly devoid of courage and kindness you truly are.

Hi, Just wondered if your cycles range between 25-28 days each month, when doing a ovulation test do you base it on how many days in that cycle or on a average.

My husband and I are trying for number two. According to my OC, I am ovulating. I feel slight cramps and have slight spotting. Is this an indication that I will ovulate soon, or have I already ovulated? We will try, just in case, but I am curious to know if it is too late. If is is a sign of fetilization, I wonder if anyone can tell me how much time I have base upon this indicator (if it is).

Dear Anonymous January 20, 2011,

Just because someone does not speak or type proper english, does not give you the right to speak in such a negative manner. Telling people not to bring a child in this world, is not your place. English may not be their first language. That was not very classy, for such a proper english speaking person. Karma is a b*tch! What goes around comes around. I hope one day you don't, if you don't have children born with a learning or speech disability! You are a sad, miserable person! Have a nice day Smile

It's a shame that most women who have posted on this website can barely type, or as it seems, speak proper English. Please don't bring another illiterate person into this world.

I have been trying to get pregnant for about 2 months and nothing has happened yet. My first day of the last period was Dec. 18. 2010 and my Menstruation length usually lasts for 4 to 5 days. Since we started trying my cycle has become irregular meaning that I have had a cycle of 21 days and the following month a cycle of 25 days. I was not on birth control pills before start trying so I do not know why my cycles have become irregular. Please give me some tips on how I can increase my chances to get pregnant.

Thank you.

my last period was on the 12th december 2010 pls i wat to no when have sex with husband cos i wat to get pregnant and to have a girl as my next child.please help so despirate to have a child.thanks

Saliva, as with most normal lubes kills sperm. It also in not the right consistency for the sperm that do survive to swim in. There are special lubes out there made for those trying to conceive. I use the brand Pre-seed, it works great, I just found out I was pregnant after a month of using it after 7 months of other methods. Hope this helps.

hi. My menstrual cycle is 25-28days.i want to become pregnant this month.on nov 25th my periods started.plz help me out.Thanks

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By TTC veteran and mother of two, Elizabeth Andrews.