How to tell when you’re ovulating: Natural body signs of ovulation

how to tell when you're ovulatingCouples trying to conceive want to make sure they thoroughly understand the role ovulation plays in the conception—it is important that you recognize the ovulation symptoms in order to increase the likelihood of getting pregnant.

What is Ovulation?

Ovulation is what occurs when a woman’s body releases an egg from the ovarian follicle. A healthy, mature egg has a higher chance of becoming fertilized by your partner’s sperm. However, there is a certain window of time that the egg has before it is no longer capable of becoming fertilized, which is between 12 and 24 hours.

Ovulation Symptoms: How to tell you’re ovulating

Because there is such a short window of time for the sperm to make contact with the egg, you should pay extremely close attention to the signs that ovulation is about to occur. Women should especially look for the following, which are ovulation symptoms:

Higher Sex Drive: In the days before ovulation, most women notice that their sex drive is much higher than usual, which is ideal since this is a good time to engage in sexual intercourse.

Tenderness of the Breasts: Many women experience tenderness of their breasts before or after ovulation, which occurs due to the stimulation of the body’s hormonal levels, especially progesterone.

Change in Cervical Mucus: The appearance of a woman’s cervical mucus is among one of the most accurate ovulation symptoms the body produces. During ovulation, the mucus becomes watery or similar to a raw egg white and appears in larger amounts. When not ovulating, the mucus may not be produced at all or typically appears in a creamy or sticky form.


Not only is it important to recognize when ovulation is happening, sexual intercourse must be attempted at the right time. The best time to have intercourse in the effort to get pregnant is before a woman begins ovulating—not after. The reason for this is that sperm has the ability to survive for 2-3 days, which gives it plenty of time to wait until the egg is produced and then fertilize it. Waiting until after ovulation does not work because the egg disintegrates after 12-24 hours.

Tips to Use When Ovulating

Aside from recognizing ovulation symptoms, there are a number of things a woman can do to make sure her body is in the perfect condition to receive sperm and produce a fertilized egg.

  1. Forward Planning. Many woman chart the days when ovulation occurs each month and use that as a guide to figure out when their next cycle will occur. Unfortunately, not all women ovulate at the same time on a monthly basis. Instead, you could invest in an ovulation kit, which is designed to detect a woman’s LH (luteinizing hormone) levels. By monitoring these levels, couples can easily figure out days before when ovulation is most likely to occur.
  2. Talk to Your Doctor. Make an appointment to talk to your doctor about your plans for getting pregnant. This gives you the chance to ask any questions you might have as well as receive basic instructions as to what your next steps should be.
  3. Have Sex More Often. While timing is everything, engaging in intercourse at least three times a week boosts the odds of being able to get pregnant, regardless of when you are ovulating.
  4. Choose Your Positions Wisely. Certain sexual positions have a better chance of allowing sperm to fertilize an egg. The missionary position is ideal. Women should avoid being on top and getting up too soon after sex. Remain lying down and give the sperm some time to remain in the vagina.
  5. Don’t Stress Yourself Out. Some couples try so hard to get pregnant that sex becomes a chore. Do your best to make sure each attempt at intercourse is one that both you and your partner enjoy—this makes for a much more natural occurrence of transferring sperm into the vagina without stress or pressure, which can lead to performance anxiety or even a decrease in sex drive.
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About the Author: Iva Keene MRMed. ND. - Natural Fertility Specialist

Iva Keene is co-founder, creator and award-winning author of the NFP Program and director of She holds a Bachelor Degree in Health Science in Naturopathy and a Master Degree in Reproductive Medicine. She has been a qualified and internationally accredited Naturopathic Physician for over 15 years. Since founding NFP in 2008, Iva’s articles, videos, guides, and reports have reached over 1.3 million people. Iva has dedicated her professional life to supporting couples on their path to parenthood with scientifically grounded information, protocols, and coaching around preconception care, natural infertility treatments, and integrative reproductive health.