How to Know When You're Ovulating
Written by: Dr. Amy Beckley, PhD, Founder and Inventor of the Proov test — the first and only FDA-cleared test to confirm successful ovulation at home.
Written on 11/20/20
Timing intercourse around ovulation is critical to conceiving. Learn about when ovulation happens and methods you can use to track it.
What is ovulation?
Ovulation occurs monthly, usually about midway through your cycle. This process involves the release of a mature egg from one of the ovaries. Following ovulation, the egg travels to the uterus. The timing of ovulation may not be consistent with each cycle and there can be instances where you do not ovulate during your cycle. Lack of ovulation is referred to as anovulation.
Why should I track ovulation?
If you are trying to conceive, tracking ovulation helps you find your fertile window. This includes the few days leading up to and day of ovulation when intercourse is most likely to result in conception. If you don’t have an idea of when ovulation is going to occur, it can be more difficult to get pregnant.
In fact, identifying your fertile window is vital since an egg can only survive for approximately 12-24 hours after it is released. Under the right conditions, sperm can live inside the female reproductive tract up to five days following intercourse. When live sperm are present in the fallopian tubes during ovulation, the chances of becoming pregnant become greater.
Identifying your fertile window is vital when trying to conceive as an egg is only viable for 12-24 hours after it’s released.
How do I know when I’m ovulating?
In a 28-day menstrual cycle, ovulation generally occurs halfway through, around cycle day 14. However, we know that women can have cycles anywhere from 22 to 36 days in length, so a day-14 ovulation date isn’t always accurate. This is why it’s so important to track your unique cycle!
Women can have cycle length anywhere between 22 and 36 days, which is why a day-14 ovulation date isn’t always accurate.
Here are some common ovulation tracking methods:
Ovulation tests measure luteinizing hormone (LH) levels in urine. LH typically surges right before ovulation and can be a good indicator you are about to ovulate. Ovulation typically occurs about 24 hours after an LH surge, but can occur anywhere from 16-48 hours after a surge.
Cervical mucus monitoring
Fertile cervical mucus is an indicator that ovulation is coming. By monitoring changes in cervical mucus, you can predict when your ovulation is coming and the best time for intercourse. During most of your cycle, cervical mucus is dry and sticky. But leading up to ovulation, cervical mucus becomes wet and stretchy, often resembling egg whites. Cervical mucus can be found on toilet paper after wiping or through finger testing.
Basal body temperature (BBT) tracking
Basal body temperature is your body’s lowest resting temperature. BBT tracking involves measuring the slight changes that occur in BBT leading up to and after ovulation occurs. Before ovulation, BBT will dip. Then after ovulation, BBT will rise and remain elevated for a few days. While BBT works for many women, it can easily be influenced by temperature changes in your sleeping environment, such as cuddling a loved one or an extra warm room. There are various wearable devices on the market that predict ovulation through BBT. An old fashioned thermometer that tracks two decimal places can work well too.
But predicting ovulation is only half of the ovulation picture!
As we mentioned, predicting ovulation is critical to timing intercourse around your fertile window when trying to conceive. It is necessary if you are trying to conceive. However, it only gives you half of the ovulation picture.
The other half? Confirming ovulation!
Confirming ovulation lets you know that an egg was released and that you even have a chance at conception. After all, without an egg conception is not possible. There are two methods for confirming ovulation:
Progesterone blood test
A blood, or serum, progesterone measurement is taken through a one-time blood test from your doctor or a mail away kit. Usually, doctors order a blood test on day 21 of your cycle, approximately 7 days after ovulation, when progesterone should be the highest.
Basal body temperature tracking
As we mentioned, your BBT will drop before ovulation then rise after. This is caused by an increase in progesterone. A shift in BBT confirms ovulation.
However, when confirming ovulation it’s important to know that an egg was released and post-ovulatory hormone levels remained elevated for long enough to allow for the best possible chance at conception. When this happens, we consider ovulation to have been “successful.” Because the previously mentioned methods fail to measure progesterone levels over time, they fall short of confirming successful ovulation.
How do I confirm successful ovulation?
Successful ovulation can be confirmed through PdG tracking. PdG is a urine metabolite of progesterone and only rises when progesterone is also elevated. Since PdG is measured through urine, it is non-invasive, allowing for testing over multiple days. This gives a more complete ovulation picture compared to a one-time blood test or BBT shift.
PdG tracking is non-invasive and therefore allows for tracking over several days.
Proov is the first and only FDA cleared PdG test kit to confirm successful ovulation at home. With Proov PdG tests, you can measure PdG on days 7-10 after peak fertility to confirm that successful ovulation did in fact occur and that you have the best possible chance at conception.
Can Proov help me get my full ovulation picture?
Yes, we can! With the new Predict and Confirm kit, you can find you two most fertile days and confirm successful ovulation, all within the same box. Each Predict and Confirm kit comes with 15 LH tests (ovulation tests) and 5 PdG tests — enough for one complete cycle of testing.
The Proov Predict and Confirm kit contains 15 LH tests and 5 PdG tests.
About 18 days before the start of your next period, you can start testing with Proov LH tests to track peak fertility. With 15 strips, you should have plenty to test twice a day as you near the date of suspected ovulation. LH surges can be short so testing two times per day ensures you accurately catch it!
After your first positive LH test, you’ll then count 7 days and test with Proov PdG tests daily on days 7, 8, 9, and 10 after peak fertility. We like to see four positive tests during this window to confirm that ovulation was successful and ovulatory problems aren’t preventing you from conceiving.
Understanding when you’re ovulating and if ovulation was successful is critical when trying to conceive. With Proov, you can predict and confirm ovulation to reach your fertility goals faster!