Trying to conceive can be an exciting, if not stressful, time. You’re past the birds-and-bees talk, but a mini tutorial on ovulation may be in order to understand how this whole conception thing works.
Forgive the health-class flashback, but ovulation is the phase of the menstrual cycle that involves one of the ovaries releasing an egg (ovum). It generally occurs about two weeks before your period begins. Now, if that egg meets a sperm on its path along the fallopian tube, you’ve conceived. Mission accomplished.
Typical symptoms of ovulation:
Changes in cervical mucus. Cervical mucus changes throughout the menstrual cycle indicating fertile and infertile periods. The infertile cervical mucus that follows a menstrual period is sticky, dense and opaque. This mucus will gradually change until it becomes slippery, wet and clear, which indicates fertility and impending ovulation.
A rise in basal temperature. Basal temperature is what your body temperature is when you first wake up in the morning before eating or moving around. When ovulation occurs, your basal temperature will rise.
Regular menstrual cycles. If your period is regular (arriving every 24-35 days) you’re more likely to ovulate than a woman with irregular periods.
Abdominal pain. Otherwise known as cramps, abdominal pain can last between a few minutes (if you’re lucky) to 48 hours while ovulation occurs. Though the pain and discomfort may feel like it’s coming from everywhere, it’s really emanating from your lower abdomen, just inside the hipbone. You can have pain on the right or left side depending on which ovary is releasing an egg.
Premenstrual symptoms. For some women, sore breasts, abdominal bloating and moodiness are all part of ovulation station. (Just consider it an excuse to take it easy or eat chocolate without any guilt.)