Signs & Symptoms
Your monthly cycle starts and is measured from the first day of one period, until the first day of the next. A normal cycle should be about 28-32 days, but many women vary from this number to some degree. Ovulation will occur in the middle of this number - usually about 12 to 16 days from the first day of your last period. If you are unsure when you ovulate and would like to find the ideal time to conceive (or use extra caution), keep a calendar of your cycle length for a few months to find your average. While these are your most fertile days, conception can occur at any time during your monthly cycle, and on a different day within each month. Ovulation patterns may also shift if you have a month or two of excess stress, illness, or changes in hormones.
Signs of ovulation may be easy to spot for some women. One of the most obvious ways to know you are ovulating is to pay attention to your vaginal secretions. When you ovulate, secretions become thinner and increase in amount. Almost mucus -like, this discharge is very stretchy and slippery. These secretions, though a bit unpleasant, are key to helping sperm migrate through the female reproductive tract to meet an egg. Another symptom of ovulation may be a twinge of pain either on the left or right side of the central abdomen in the middle of your cycle. This pain, known as mittelschmerz in German simply means "middle pain". Other women report light spotting around the time of ovulation as well.
Once an egg is released from the ovary, it can live 12-24 hours before it must be fertilized to make a baby, or move down to the uterine lining where it will dissolve and be passed out of the body with your period. Usually, only one egg is released at a time. If an egg is fertilized, the rapid and complex process of cell division begins, and the egg will migrate down into the blood-filled, nutrient rich lining of the uterus for growth and support. In order to sustain the pregnancy, your body will flood with baby-supporting hormones - these hormones are the ones responsible for those early symptoms that make you wonder if you might just be pregnant. For some women, they may begin to notice these symptoms a week to a few days before their period is due. Some women don't identify them until much later.
Monitoring Your FertilityMonitoring your fertility - Depending on the person, the budget, the condition it can be anywhere from free and easy to expensive and complicated.
A look at some of the standard options for tracking your cycle & pinpointing ovulation:
Going by the calendar, Basal Body Temperature (BBT) (also known as "charting"), Checking physical fertility signs, Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs), Ferning Microscope, Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor (CBEFM), OvWatch
Read the full article on all the standard options available