How to Track Ovulation When Trying to Conceive

7th March 2022

Understanding your menstrual cycle, and in particular when ovulation occurs, is very important when trying to conceive. Although you might have an idea of when ovulation may occur, if you don’t have sex during these most fertile days, your chances of conceiving that month could be reduced. 

In this article we will look at when ovulation usually occurs, and how you can track ovulation more accurately to increase your chances of becoming pregnant.

Why is Tracking Ovulation Important?

Ovulation is the process by which a mature egg cell is released into the fallopian tube ready to travel towards the uterus (womb). If you have sex around the time of ovulation, the egg should reach the uterus at the same time as the sperm cells, facilitating successful fertilisation and the beginning of a pregnancy. Ovulation therefore signifies the time when you are most fertile.

When you are trying to conceive, you should aim to have sex every two to three days to avoid missing the window of ovulation. However, in addition to regular sex, there are other ways to estimate and track when ovulation is likely to occur, so that you can ensure that you and your partner try to conceive on these days.

When Does Ovulation Occur?

The length of a woman’s cycle will vary from person to person. Women who have a regular, 28 day cycle, are most likely to ovulate in the middle of the cycle at around day 14. Women with a shorter cycle may ovulate by day 10, and those with a longer cycle will ovulate from day 15 onwards. Understanding the phases of the menstrual cycle can help you to pinpoint when your body is most likely to release an egg ready for fertilisation. 

The Follicular Phase 

The follicular phase of the menstrual cycle lasts from the first day of your period to ovulation. It tends to last between 11 and 27 days. 

The follicular phase usually lasts for a similar number of days each month. However, you may have experienced a period that was a few days late when you were under a lot of stress. This is because the follicular phase can be lengthened (or shortened) by external factors. Travel and illness can also disrupt the length of the follicular phase, meaning that ovulation can occur earlier or later than you might expect. 

Although you may have a rough idea of when you will ovulate based on previous cycles, when trying to conceive it is important to have more accurate indicators of when you will ovulate each month. This ensures that you can have sex close to the time of ovulation.

The Luteal Phase

The luteal phase lasts from ovulation until your next period starts. For most women, the luteal phase will last between 10 and 16 days, with the number of days remaining consistent each month. The length of the luteal phase is usually unaffected by external factors.

How Can I Track Ovulation?

To track when ovulation is most likely to occur, you can empower yourself to understand your body and your menstrual cycle. The following tips may help you to better predict your most fertile days.

Download a Calendar App

A simple menstrual tracking app or fertility tracker can help you to follow your menstrual cycle. Choose an app that will tell you when your most fertile days are, as well as allowing you to document any symptoms of ovulation you might experience. This could include changes to cervical mucus, breast tenderness, or ovulation pain. 

Once you have used the app for a few months, it will highlight the dates of your fertile window with reasonable accuracy. 

Observe Natural Fertility Indicators 

As you start paying closer attention to your body throughout the month, there are some changes that might suggest that ovulation is occurring.

Pay attention to cervical mucus

As you approach ovulation, your cervical mucus secretions change quality. More mucus is produced, and it may have the consistency of raw egg white. This change occurs to assist sperm in swimming to the uterus, and is a good indicator that you are in your fertile window.

Check your basal body temperature

Use a thermometer to record your temperature at the same time each day. Your temperature varies throughout the month, and tends to rise just after you have ovulated. Although realising that you have already ovulated is not particularly helpful for that month, keeping track of your temperature will help you to better understand which day of your cycle you are most likely to ovulate in subsequent months.

Notice any changes in your cervix

Paying attention to cervical changes requires you to become more familiar with your own body. Just before you ovulate, your cervix becomes softer to touch and may move up higher. If it is harder to reach your cervix than usual, it may be that you are about to ovulate.

Tune in to ovulation pain

Not all women feel ovulation, but others notice mild cramping pains around the middle of their cycle when an egg is released. If this pain occurs, then you are likely in the most fertile part of your cycle.

Recording all of these indicators of ovulation in a calendar app will help you to become better acquainted with your cycle so that you know when having sex is most likely to lead to conception.

Ovulation Test Kits

Ovulation tests are home testing kits that allow you to pinpoint when you are close to ovulating. With a similar mechanism to a pregnancy test, you urinate onto a test stick or dip it into a urine sample. This allows you to see immediately if you are likely to be within the fertile window.               

It can take several months to get used to using ovulation test kits to track your cycle and work out when you are fertile.  

Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are not advised to use ovulation test kits, as raised hormone levels associated with PCOS may lead to inaccurate test results.

Babystart FertilTime Home Ovulation Tests are over 99% accurate and help you to learn when you are most likely to conceive.

Sensors or Monitors

Body sensors can be purchased to help you track your fertile window. Some sensors can be worn as an armband to provide a constant measurement of your basal body temperature. Others are designed to be worn within the vagina, and may be able to track both basal body temperature and changes in cervical mucus. 

The sensors are designed to automatically track your cycle and fertile window, revealing the best time to try to conceive each month.

Final Thoughts

When trying to conceive, it is advisable to become better acquainted with your menstrual cycle and the changes that occur within your body around the time of ovulation. 

You may decide to track your periods to estimate the date of ovulation, or invest in home ovulation tests or even sensors. Whichever method feels right for you, to increase your chances of conception it is vital that you continue to have regular sex every two to three days, and especially during your fertile window.

The Babystart Couple Bundle contains everything you need to support your journey to conception. The combination pack includes pre-conception supplements, ovulation tests, at-home fertility testing kits, and more.