What It Is and How to Use It – Cleveland Clinic

Whether you are trying to conceive or want to prevent pregnancy, using an ovulation calendar may work for you.

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A tool to calculate your most fertile days, an ovulation calendar or schedule follows your menstrual cycle. It may help to remove some of the guesswork from trying to conceive.

Some people turn to an ovulation calendar because they may have symptoms or medical conditions that prevent them from using birth control. Others may not like using birth control for personal reasons.

Ob / Gyn Erin Higgins, managing director, explains what an ovulation calendar is and how it works.

What is an ovulation schedule?

Used to track your menstrual cycle, an ovulation calendar or schedule can help you calculate your most fertile days.

The average length of a menstrual cycle is 28 days. Ovulation, which is when your ovary releases an ovum, occurs about 14 days before bleeding begins. Your most fertile days – the best chances of getting pregnant – are five days before ovulation and the day of ovulation. You are less likely to get pregnant the days before and during your period.

During ovulation, the egg moves down into the fallopian tube where it can be fertilized if sperm is present. If so, the egg and sperm will create an embryo.

How to find out your ovulation schedule

You can use an ovulation calendar – whether you’re using an online version, an application or keeping track of your own – to find out your most fertile days.

Remember that your menstrual cycle does not only include the days when you experience bleeding.

“When we talk about a menstrual cycle, we talk about the whole month,” says Dr. Higgins. “You only bleed for a few days.”

Your menstrual cycle begins the first day of bleeding and ends the next day before your period. It can be difficult to calculate the best time for ovulation, especially if your period is not regular.

To figure out your ovulation schedule, you need to work out the average length of your menstrual cycle.

To do this, follow your next three menstrual cycles. Start with the first day you have bleeding (the beginning of your period) and count the days between the beginning of your next period. After the three months, add those three numbers and divide by 3. This will be your average length of a menstrual cycle.

For example, if your first cycle was 27 days, your second was 30 and your third one was 28, your average would be 28 days.

The next step is to determine your most fertile days. Ovulation occurs about 14 days before your period begins. For example, if your average menstrual cycle is 28 days, you should ovulate on day 14, making your most fertile occasions days 9 to 14.

How to use it for pregnancy planning

Using an ovulation calendar calculator can be a great tool for women who are not on birth control. Depending on whether you want to get pregnant or avoid a pregnancy, it can help you figure out what is the best time to have sex.

Other methods can also help you find out if you are ovulating:

  • Check your basal body temperature. Ovulation can cause a slight increase in your basal body temperature. Use a thermometer that displays decimal points to measure your body temperature at the same time each day. You want to see if your temperature rises between 0.4 and 1 degree Fahrenheit.
  • Examine your cervical mucus. During your menstrual cycle, your cervical mucus or vaginal secretion changes in color, texture and quantity. You can use your fingers or a cotton swab to collect and observe your mucus. If it looks like raw egg whites, you may be ovulating.
  • Use an ovulation prediction kit. Like a pregnancy test, you will have to pee on a stick. The results will show if you have an increase in hormones, which means you are ovulating.

Using these methods or an ovulation schedule to conceive can reduce the opportunity window.

“A lot of people want that very specific detail so they can have timely intercourse,” says Dr. Higgins.

Having as much information as possible about your ovulation can help reduce stress, whether you are hoping to start or grow a family or later – or if you are not imagining children in your future.

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