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.

Signs of ovulation: an egg cell being released from the ovary,

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.

More than a fertility tracker

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading all about the signs and symptoms of ovulation. Natural Cycles is an app designed to find your fertile window and confirm ovulation day. Its algorithm uses both basal body temperature data and LH tests to work out the pattern of your unique cycle. You can also track other symptoms of ovulation (such as sex drive and cervical mucus) in the app too. 

For those looking to plan a pregnancy, Natural Cycles helps them find fertile days with precision. On average women looking to plan a pregnancy conceive in three cycles or fewer when using Natural Cycles. While those looking for a hormone-free birth control method can use Natural Cycles in prevent mode and abstain or use protection on fertile days.

Discover Natural Cycles°.

Jen on the roof terrace at Natural Cycles headquarters.

Written By

Jennifer Gray

A writer with a passion for women’s health, Jennifer Gray has years of experience writing about various reproductive health topics including birth control, planning pregnancy, women’s anatomy, and so much more.

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

Scientifically Reviewed

Jack Pearson

With 10 years of experience working in the field of fertility, Jack Pearson is Natural Cycles’ in-house expert. As Medical Affairs Manager, he dedicates his time to conducting groundbreaking research and educating healthcare professionals.

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