You may have given it little thought before trying to conceive, but as soon as you decide you want to get pregnant, detecting ovulation can become almost an obsession. Don't let it take over your life (aka don't ovary-act!) but it's helpful to learn how to know when you're ovulating.
1. Know your body. Every woman has a slightly different menstrual cycle, so start by figuring out yours. Keep track of your periods for a few months, using an app or website, or just an old-fashioned pen and paper. 28-day cycles are the average, but your cycles may be anywhere from 23 to 35 days – or they may be irregular, varying from month to month. Just remember, ovulation generally occurs about halfway through your cycle, so for a woman with a 28-day cycle, expect to ovulate around Day 14.
2. Do you feel anything? Some women say they can feel themselves ovulating, usually in the form of a little twitch or cramp on the side where that month's egg is being released. Pay close attention each month – you may be one of them!
3. Is it getting hot in here? You can track your basal body temperature to learn more about your body'd cycles. Use a basal body temperature thermometer first thing in the morning, before you get out of bed, and keep a note of your reading. You can expect your temperature to rise about half a degree on the day you ovulate. Charting these temperature changes each month can be one more way of predicting when you'll ovulate in the future.
4. Check your cervix. As ovulation approaches, you can expect your cervix to become softer and higher up. Gently check your cervix every day and keep track of its position and how it feels. Also look at the cervical mucus your body produces. As you get closer to ovulation, you can expect to have more cervical mucus and for it to be more clear, thin, and slippery. Like your temperature, it's another tool for tracking your cycles and making better predictions.
5. Go high-tech. Invest in a at-home ovulation test kit. Similar to home pregnancy tests, these simple urine tests tell you when you're a few days away from ovulation so you can plan accordingly.