Sex may permeate our popular culture, but discussions about it are still associated with stigma and shame in Indian households. Consequently, most individuals who are dealing with sexual health issues or trying to find information about sex often turn to unverified online sources or follow the unscientific advice of their friends.
To address the widespread misinformation about sex, News18.com holds this weekly sex column, entitled ‘Let’s Talk Sex’, every Friday. We hope to start conversations about sex through this section and address sexual health issues with scientific insight and nuance.
The column is written by sexologist Prof (Dr) Saransh Jain. In today’s column, Dr Jain talks about signs of ovulation.
The first step in a woman’s pregnancy journey is to know when she is most fertile in her menstrual cycle. Although the fertile days are not clear, there are some signs one can look out for to identify the fertility window. These changes occur with bodies in the run-up to the release of an ovum (known as ovulation). Every woman is different and her experience of ovulation is unique to her.
The Ovulation Window
On average, a woman with regular cycles tends to ovulate somewhere between day 11 and day 21 of her cycle. (Day 1 is the day you get your period.) This means a woman’s most fertile days will fall somewhere between day 8 and day 21.
If your cycles are on the shorter side, you are more likely to ovulate closer to day 11. If you have longer menstrual cycles, ovulation may occur closer to day 21. But “a time” between day 11 and day 21 is quite a long distance. Some ovulation signs indicate that ovulation is approaching. It allows you to determine sex for pregnancy. Others let you know that ovulation is over. It can be reassuring and give you the confidence that you have ovulated. Here are some signs of ovulation.
Signs of ovulation
It can be difficult to determine your exact ovulation day, but there are several ways to determine when you are at your most fertile point in your cycle. Here are some signs that ovulation is coming or that ovulation has just taken place.
Increased sexual desire
Also known as libido, sex drive reflects our desire for sex and can vary throughout the menstrual cycle. An increase in libido is linked to the hormone estrogen, which is high during the days before ovulation.
Increasing energy levels
As the fertile window approaches, an increase in activity level is not limited to the bedroom. In fact, we will probably feel our very best in the days before ovulation. Energy levels are high, so this is a great time to tackle new challenges or channel that motivation into something that needs you to be at the top of your game!
Alteration of cervical mucus
Just like your sex drive and energy levels, cervical mucus levels also flow through the cycle. In the days before ovulation, this secretion becomes clear, and is very stretchy with a high water content. Cervical mucus with this consistency is sometimes called “egg white” cervical mucus and is often a sign that ovulation day is approaching.
There is a connection between your skin and hormones. In the days before ovulation, some women experience brighter skin and a glowing complexion caused by the presence of estrogen. Others may occasionally break out around ovulation day sooner. These outbreaks are caused by rising progesterone levels that occur along with ovulation. However, we are more likely to experience spotty skin after ovulation even when estrogen levels have dropped, but those progesterone levels remain high.
It’s not all a high sex drive, unlimited energy and a beautiful clear skin. Some women also experience a little pain as a sign of ovulation. Breast tenderness on ovulation day is a common symptom, and some women also get a unilateral abdominal soreness known as ovulation pain or Mittelschmerz, which happens when the egg is released from the ovary.
So far, we have covered signs of ovulation that can be seen or felt directly. The problem with predicting ovulation with the five signs above is that they are all highly subjective, and not everyone experiences it. However, there are other biological changes that take place in female bodies that are easier to measure and can help us determine ovulation day.
Rise in body temperature
One way to confirm that ovulation has taken place is to measure basal body temperature. Due to the change in hormones
what happens around ovulation, our resting body temperature rises. To measure it, you need to use a sensitive thermometer that shows two decimal places and measure first thing in the morning before getting out of bed.
Ovulation is not the only key to fertilization
We hope you enjoyed reading all about the signs and symptoms of ovulation. You can use what you have learned about ovulation to get pregnant faster. That said, even if your fertility is “perfect”, don’t expect your very first month of trying to conceive.
However, ovulation is not the only key to fertilization. This is just one part of the puzzle. The health of the overall reproductive system in both partners is also important. If you are struggling to conceive, and you are pretty sure you are ovulating, do not assume that this means that everything is fine. See your doctor and be checked. The good news is that most couples with fertility challenges will be able to conceive with the help of fertility treatments.
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