Symptoms of ovulation can be quite subtle and may go unnoticed by many women, which gives couples all the more reason to closely observe ovulation symptoms for an indication of the women’s most fertile days for intercourse. Knowing when ovulation occurs is important to women who wish to either become pregnant or avoid becoming pregnant. The average woman is most fertile for about 3 days during a 28 to 35 day menstrual cycle. The fertile period includes the two days prior to ovulation and the day of ovulation. If an ovum is not fertilized it disintegrates within 12 to 24 hours after being released. Because pregnancy and conception are delicate, identifying signs and symptoms of ovulation, such as bloating, abdominal pain, vaginal discharge, spotting, cramping, the right body temperature, and breast sensitivity or tenderness, are essential to the right time to have intercourse and a successful pregnancy.
Bloating and Abdominal Discomfort
One of the most common symptoms of ovulation is bloating of the lower abdomen. This usually begins several days before a mature ovum is released by an ovary. Some women have pain in the lower abdomen on one side as the ovary begins the process of ovulation. The pain may be mild to moderate and will last from several hours to two or three days. Often, women with mild discomfort, pain or bloating will attribute these signs to abdominal gas, but they are more likely symptoms of ovulation.
Spotting and Cramping
Although not all women experience spotting or cramping during ovulation, it is not uncommon. The symptoms of ovulation usually begin about 7 days following the last menstrual period and may last 2 or 3 days. Generally, ovulation cramps are less severe than menstrual cramps and spotting is light. Cramping and spotting are one of the crucial signs of ovulation in a fairly small number of women and may be accompanied by pain on either side of the lower abdomen.
Breast Tenderness and Increased Sex Drive
As ovulation approaches, estrogen and Progesterone levels increase in preparation for implantation of a fertilized ovum. This increase in hormone levels may cause tenderness, soreness, or increased sensitivity of the breasts, much like the soreness that is experienced during pregnancy. Many women also have an increased desire for sexual intercourse during this fertile period, which may be triggered by the increase in hormones. A heightened libido and breast tenderness are common symptoms of ovulation that are often overlooked.
Body Basal Temperature
One of the most accurate methods for determining when ovulation occurs is tracking body basal temperature for several months. There is usually a slight decrease in temperature during the days just prior to ovulation and a sharp spike in temperature when ovulation occurs. This is one of the most consistent and reliable symptoms of ovulation and is often recommended by doctors for predicting when ovulation will occur.
Another of the fairly predictable ovulation symptoms is an increase and change in vaginal discharge. During ovulation, the amount of vaginal mucus increases and creates a clear or creamy white discharge. The texture of the discharge is stretchy and sticky; a drop held between the fingers may stretch as much as an inch. One of the frequently unnoticed symptoms of ovulation is a change in the position of the cervix which is higher in the vaginal vault during ovulation.
Symptoms of Ovulation
Symptoms of ovulation vary between women and may even vary each month for any one woman. The most accurate way to determine the time of ovulation is by charting body basal temperature; however, any combination of the previous ovulation symptoms is a good indicator as well. There are also kits available that test urine or saliva for increases in female hormones signaling signs of ovulation. Thermometers for measuring basal body temperature are available at any drugstore or pharmacy.