Signs of ovulation: an egg cell being released from the ovary,
Scientifically Reviewed
Home/Cycle Matters / Reproductive Health

7 Signs of Ovulation

You can’t get pregnant every day of your cycle, so knowing your fertility is an incredibly useful tool. Although our fertile days are not obvious, there are a few signs you can look out for to help you identify your fertile window. These changes happen to our bodies in the lead up to the release of an egg cell (known as ovulation). Every woman is different and her experience of ovulation is unique to her. However, there are some specific signs of ovulation that are easier to identify than others. Read on to find out more about some common symptoms of ovulation day, and the way our bodies change throughout the menstrual cycle.

This article is also available in Spanish.

1. Spiking sex drive

Also known as libido, sex drive reflects our desire for sex and can fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle. An increase in libido is linked to the hormone estrogen, which is high during the days before ovulation. This can cause us to feel friskier than at other points in the cycle. 

Sex drive tends to slump after ovulation day as the estrogen levels drop and our period approaches. Once our period arrives a new cycle begins and libido levels start to build up again...

2. Increasing energy levels

As the fertile window approaches, a rise in activity level isn’t restricted to the bedroom. In fact, we’re likely to feel at our very best in the days leading up to ovulation. Energy levels are high, so it’s a good time to take on new challenges or channel that motivation into something that needs you to be at the top of your game! 

After ovulation day, energy levels can slump down again due to a rise in the hormone progesterone. This might leave you feeling a bit sluggish, a common symptom of PMS and, to make things confusing, it’s also one of the signs of early pregnancy.

3. Changing cervical mucus

Just like your sex drive and energy levels, cervical mucus levels ebb and flow throughout the cycle as well. In the days before ovulation, this discharge becomes clear, and is very stretchy with a high water content. Cervical mucus with this consistency is sometimes called “egg white” cervical mucus and is often a sign that ovulation day is approaching.

Working out whether or not you are fertile simply by looking at cervical mucus alone is tricky. This is because it varies a lot between individuals. On top of this, sexual discharge can also make interpreting cervical mucus more complicated. However, taken with other fertility indicators, cervical mucus can be a useful sign of ovulation.

4. Shining complexion

Did you know there’s a link between your skin and hormones? In the days before ovulation, some women experience clearer skin and a glowing complexion caused by the presence of estrogen. Others might get the occasional breakout around ovulation day instead. 

These breakouts are caused by rising progesterone levels that happen alongside ovulation. However, we’re more likely to experience spotty skin after ovulation itself when estrogen levels have dropped, but those progesterone levels remain high.

5. Feeling pain

It’s not all high sex drive, boundless energy, and beautifully clear skin. Some women do experience some soreness as a sign of ovulation too. Breast tenderness on ovulation day is a common symptom, and some women also get a one-sided abdominal soreness known as ovulation pain or Mittelschmerz, which happens as the egg cell is released from the ovary. 

It might be best to hold off on those routine tasks like hair removal until the days after your period begins, since we’re less sensitive to pain at the start of our cycle. Incidentally, this is also when we recommend doing that all-important self-breast exam.

6. Surging hormones

So far we’ve covered signs of ovulation that can be directly seen or felt. The problem with predicting ovulation with the five signs above is that they are all highly subjective, and not everyone experiences them. However, there are other biological changes happening in our bodies that are easier to measure and can help us pinpoint ovulation day.

One of these is a surge in luteinizing hormone (LH). This happens 24-48 hours before ovulation takes place. You can measure for this hormone by using LH tests (also known as ovulation tests). These tests detect the presence of LH in a urine sample. However, these tests only indicate that ovulation is about to happen, they do not guarantee or confirm the release of an egg cell.

7. Rising body temperature

One way to confirm ovulation has happened though is to measure basal body temperature. Due to the change in hormones that happen around ovulation, our resting body temperature rises. To measure this you need to use a sensitive thermometer that shows two decimal places and measure first thing in the morning before you get out of bed.

Charting basal body temperature is no new breakthrough when it comes to fertility indicators, but developments in technology have made this method more accurate and easier to use. Gone are the days when you needed to track your fertility with pen and paper.

Are you tracking your fertility?

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading all about the signs and symptoms of ovulation.  Learning the pattern of your cycle is a great way to get to know your fertility better and can even help you plan or prevent pregnancy.

Did you enjoy reading this article?

Discover Natural Cycles.

Jen on the roof terrace at Natural Cycles headquarters.

Written By

Jennifer Gray

Jennifer Gray is an award-winning writer with more than five years’ experience covering reproductive topics ranging from birth control to planning pregnancy. She is passionate about providing women with accurate information grounded in science they can use to take charge of their own health - while also dispelling myths that exist within the field of women’s health. She holds a Master of Science from the University of Edinburgh and currently lives in Ireland.

Jack in a suit and tie holding a microphone and giving a presentation.

Scientifically Reviewed

Jack Pearson

Dr. Jack Pearson is a previously HCPC registered Embryologist with a PhD in reproductive medicine. Prior to joining Natural Cycles leading Medical Affairs, he worked for more than 10 years in a clinical setting working at some of the busiest fertility clinics in the UK. Today he spends most of his time working with experts at the world’s leading institutions to carry out important research with the vision to further the field of female health. He earned his PhD from the University of Sheffield specializing in Sperm Metabolism and currently lives in London.

Featured Posts

Birth Control

A Birth Control App, not a Period Tracker

4 min read

Birth Control

12 Non-Hormonal Birth Control Methods and How They Work

13 min read

Birth Control

Switching Birth Control Methods: How Do I Change?

9 min read

Want to learn more about a hormone-free future?

Subscribe to our newsletter for access to our latest articles, exclusive promotions and more.

Keep reading...

Reproductive Health

Progesterone levels explained

Progesterone plays an important role in the menstrual cycle. But what is it, exactly? What does it do? And what progesterone levels are normal? We’ll answer all of your questions about this hormone. Read on to find out more…

9 min read

Reproductive Health

How to Strengthen your Pelvic Floor

Have you ever found yourself peeing a little when you sneeze, laugh or cough? How about when you lift heavy weights? Do you ever find yourself straining on the toilet? Or have you given birth and suffered afterward from urinary incontinence or prolapse? All of these are common, but pelvic floor training can help by improving incontinence, and prolapse and making everything from sex to exercise feel better. Ready to find out more?

8 min read

Reproductive Health

7 vaginal discharge colors explained

Have you ever wondered about the different types of vaginal discharge? From cervical mucus to menstrual blood, there’s plenty going on down there every cycle. There are many normal discharge types, as well as some fluids that can be a cause for concern. We’re here to help you understand what the color of your discharge may mean with our very own guide to vaginal discharge! Read on to find out more…

8 min read