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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


my periods are very regular 2

i know when i ovulate and when to have sex, i have done all these things but still no BFP, i have the mucus and also have mid pain in the cycle which i put it down to ovulation pains, can you get this if your infertile as am starting to think this is what it could be now Sad

I really need to conceive this month, have been trying in the past 2 months but without success. My period started on 30th Nov. 2010 and my cycle length range between 28- 30 days. When is my ovulation day? Does the stretch mucus come before or after ovulation? Can use of saliva as lubricant affect the process of conceiving. Please help, so desperate to get a child. Waiting to get your email as soon as possible. Thnxs.

so im trying to get pregnant and doing the bbt and i also looked online at an ovulation chart and today is nov 26th the first day of my last menstrual was nov 9th and i woke up with what it feels like overys hurt like their swollen it hurts when i sit or walk i have alot of clear discharge so could i be ovulating?

my last period was on 13th november ,2010 wat is my ovulation date..and we do sex in night after sex i lay down in bed and when i wake up in the morning sperm comes out is it normal can i become pregnant?


I had sex October 15th un-protected multiple times. Then My period started October 17th for six- seven days. My cycle usually lasts three to four days. Now today October 29th I am cramping severly off and on since this morning. Is there anyway I could be pregnant? Why am I Cramping after my a week after my cylce?

Well, now it sounds like there is a bit of PMS in the room. We don't need that here! Let's give AF a boot for once and for all! We are all having our own difficulties here. It is very judgemental for ANYONE to say that someone else shouldn't be having kids. Their situation is unknown to us and for God's sake, let's never be robotic! If someone wants to plan around a calendar, so be it! That does not mean they are being robotic. It is their choice all together and does NOT affect anyone else and believe me, men like more sex (most of them anyways lol) so relax ladies and let's celebrate the opportunity to share with eachother. Kindness breeds kindness!

Thank you - lovin him**&scared - I was thinking the exact same thing about that comment! My husband and i have never used protection in the 8 years we have been having sex, and still no babies, weren't really trying before....and now we really are trying and have to make sure we have sex around that certain time. if anything this experience is bringing us closer! so thank you for taking the time to share your opinion, and doing it in such a respectful way! Hopefully more people will understand that everyone and every situation is different! No need for judgements! lets remember people, 'If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all!'

Hi, my last period started on 6th sep. n end date was on 16th sep. i had intercourse with my husband on 20th sep. night and now, i hv noticed a blood spot on 24th sep. n now it's slight bleed on 26th sep. and i'm also experiencing slight pain on my left side lower stomach.. i'm worried.. what it can be?? is it normal or abnormal.. ur immediate response will be highly appreciated.. thanks in advance.. pls reply to my email id.

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Ovulation Calculator

Format: 5/26/2018
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By TTC veteran and mother of two, Elizabeth Andrews.