Ovulation is the event you're watching your fertility signs for. Your goal is to either A. have fresh sperm waiting as your ovum bursts from its follicle, or B. have fresh sperm racing towards the egg shortly after it has emerged.
It's important to know when you're ovulating. Reviewing the basics of your cycle has given you a good idea of when ovulation occurs. All those hormones are working together to orchestrate it roughly around the middle of your cycle – if you have a “regular cycle,” or roughly 12-14 days before your cycle ends, even if you have an “irregular cycle.”
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There are other factors that could be in play, such as a short luteal phase. This would cause your luteal phase to be less than 12-14 days, and makes it hard for your body to sustain a pregnancy. Be sure to explore other articles on how to determine these factors and how to work on correcting luteal phase defect or very irregular cycles. There are very effective natural approaches to work with.
How to Determine You're Ovulating
The most important thing to pay attention to, though, is your own body. Your body is (usually) giving you strong fertility signals that let you know when ovulation is approaching and when it has occurred.
As soon as your cervical fluid (cervical mucous) changes from non-existent or tacky to a more creamy, or “lotion-y” consistency, you know your body is gearing up. When it becomes clearer and stretchier you're getting very close.
When it's clear, watery, and very stretchy (think of egg whites) you are very fertile!! At this point ovulation is just around the corner or possibly has just occurred.
Your cervix also gives you clues. It's best to find out about the changes in your cervix over the course of a few cycles (so you can do day-to-day comparisons). When you're in your fertile time your cervix is going to rise high up and it will be soft. You'll also feel that it's open a bit (if you've given birth before it may always feel slightly open).
While you're fertile there's a good chance you'll experience increased desire for your man – nature's way of giving you a little “push” to hurry up and make a baby!
Once ovulation has occurred your cervix moves lower and becomes hard and closed. Your cervical fluid dries up – often very abruptly – within hours of ovulating. And your basal body temperature will shift upwards.
If you're having trouble determining when you're ovulating every month you should first chart your fertility signs. Often charting for a few months will make things clear that seemed confusing before.
You can also use a fertility monitor or ovulation test kit to help you hone in on the big event. I think these are a good option because you can use them at home and right along with charting your signals – in fact, you can enter the information onto your chart 😀
If you're not seeing fertile fluid every month, work on addressing that issue. There are special lubricants you can buy (or a couple, like raw egg yolk, you can try if you're brave!) which can substitute for fertile fluid.
However, I highly recommend that even if you choose to use a sperm-friendly lubricant you also work on building up your own fertile fluid. You can read more about natural approaches in my article on charting cervical fluid.