For women wishing to conceive, knowing when ovulation is approaching and being able to detect exactly when ovulation happens is key for maximizing chances of conception. Likewise, for women trying to prevent pregnancy (rather than use synthetic birth control), detecting ovulation is critical.
Detecting ovulation can be an incredibly detailed process, or fairly easy depending on the tool chosen. The following list is designed to share with you a brief description about the many ovulation detection tools and link you to much more in-depth guides explaining proper use of each tool.
Basal body temperature or BBT Charting is a way to document and track the ins and outs of your menstrual cycle including, along with your basal body temperature, cervical mucus, premenstrual symptoms, when intercourse was had, and much more. The following guides explain charting, offer free charts and share a series of how-to videos using one of our favorite tools; Fertility Friend.
Ovulation Predictor Devices
Devices like saliva microscopes and ovulation predictor kits or test strips (aka OPKs) are two easy, fairly cost-effective ways to determine your fertile window.
- A saliva microscope is a tiny hand-held microscope used to test and view the visual changes taking place in saliva to identify your most fertile days throughout your monthly cycle.
How to Tell When you are Ovulating with a Fertility Microscope
- OPKs detect luteinizing-hormone surge (LH). LH surges right before ovulation. OPK tests may help you determine when you are about to ovulate.
Trying To Conceive. Trying Not to Conceive
Mobile Device Apps
Several companies have made charting your fertility simple with fertility charting apps that you can download onto your mobile device.
Cycle beads are a color-coded string of beads that represent a typical or “textbook” menstrual cycle. They are an easy-to-use visual tool, a simplified version of an electronic ovulation calculator (see below) or ovulation calendar.
Charting Cervical Fluid
The cervix produces different types of mucus (or “CM” which is also known as cervical fluid or “CF”) depending on where a woman is at in her menstrual cycle.
Just after menstruation, the cervix produces a fluid that is thick and acidic which is designed to prevent sperm from entering the vagina, infertile cervical mucus. When a woman is about to ovulate, there should be an increase in cervical mucus, as well as a change in the mucus texture, from “wet” to a more pliable, stretchy, egg-white like mucus called fertile cervical mucus.
The Ovulation Calculator
The ovulation calculator is a pre-programmed calculator in which you enter the first day of your menstrual period to estimate fertile days and/or estimate your due date if you get pregnant during this time frame.
Fertility Awareness Method (FAM)
Herbalist & Fertility Awareness teacher Kathryn Cardinal shares that “The Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) offers a natural alternative to medical contraception methods that is both safe and very effective. Fertility Awareness Method teaches women how to develop a deep awareness of their fertility by observing their personal menstrual cycles, identifying their most fertile time all while committing to building a respectful relationship with their body. Rather than suppress and ignore the menstrual cycle, the goal with FAM is to teach women how to recognize their hormonal signals in order to become experts on their fertility.”
These tools provide a visual for you to see the ebbs and flows, and various events of the menstrual cycle. No matter the tool you choose – a time-honored way of charting BBT and predicting ovulation, or any new, yet reliable tool created for mobile devices – knowing when your fertile window is will be helpful whether trying to achieve or prevent pregnancy.