Learn How To Pinpoint Your Ovulation & Answer The Question: “When do I ovulate?”
You Asked: “When Do I Ovulate?”
There is no doubt about it; ovulation is King when you’re trying to conceive. That tiny little fertile window rules everything – without it, you simply can not get pregnant.
Miss your ovulation window and you’ve added another month on to your TTC journey and no one wants that.
Even if you’re not trying to get pregnant it’s something that every woman should know about her body. It also comes in handy later on down the road if you want to avoid pregnancy with natural family planning.
The good news is that as long as you are ovulating, it is relatively easy to figure out when it is happening. By the end of this post you will be able to answer your own question, “When do I ovulate?” and may be surprised by the answer!
If you’re still feeling unsure about your cycle and when you should be DTD after you go over the info below a Conception Consultation with a personalized step-by-step Baby Making Blueprint may be the answer for you!
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How To Narrow Down & Figure Out Your Ovulation Window
The first thing that you need to look when you want to figure out when you ovulate is your menstruation cycle. You’ll want to begin by figuring out how many cycle days you go through from start to finish.
The “average” cycle length is 28 days but it varies from person to person making it vital to look at your own numbers.
To calculate your cycle length, ideally, you want to use the data from your last 4-7 periods. You will need the start date of each period and to count the days between each period, do include the actual start date as CD1.
First Period = January 12 (Count Jan 12th – Feb 14th) 34 days in January’s Cycle
Second Period = February 15 (Count Feb 15th – Mar 17th) 31 days in February’s Cycle
Third Period = March 18th (Count Mar 18th – April 16th) 30 days in March’s Cycle
Fourth Period = April 17th
After you’ve mapped out your cycle length you can either find an average CD number OR you can base your cycle lentgh on a range.
For the data above your average cycle length is 31.666666666667 days (I’d say 32 days in this case). To find the range take your shortest cycle day length and your longest. Again using the above info the cycle day range is 30-34 day cycle.
I recommend using the range to ensure you are catching the egg. Four days difference is a big deal when you only have 12-24 hours before the egg goes “bad”.
The second thing you need to do is map out your own data to see what cycle days you should DTD on.
You can do this a few ways via ovulation calculator, apps, and online tools.
I’ve gone ahead and made a quick reference chart with the most common cycle lengths I see for you to use.
Note: It is rare that I see someone who has a “perfect” 28-day cycle for every single month of the year. It is important to take into consideration all possibilities when creating your chart.
Using myself as an example I am going to break down my cycle and show you how to narrow in on your fertile days and ovulation.
(If you’re feeling lost with the TTC acronyms click here)
Example Of A Complete Menstruation Cycle
My personal cycle ranges from 30-33 days and never stays the same for any consecutive period of time.
You’ll notice on the chart below that due to my fluctuating numbers I have a “wider” fertile window as I do not want to miss ovulation by sticking to a solid number set i.e. 30-day cycle only.
It is normal for your cycle to vary from a month to month basis, which can make it hard to predict ovulation without any added assistance from things like OPKs, BBT charting, and CM monitoring.
When I make my calculations I factor in all possible cycle lengths and you should too.
My Cycle Breakdown:
CD 1 = First day of period
CD 5-7 = End of period
CD 12-20 = Fertile Period
CD 14-20 = Peak Fertility
CD 16-19 = Estimated Ovulation
CD 20-21 = Start of LP & DPO count
CD 30-33= Last day before period starts
Now that we’ve got all this info plugged in you can see a general estimation of fertile days and ovulation.
My cycle breakdown tells me that I need to be making sure that I am hitting the sheets no later than CD14 and optimally up to CD 20 for higher odds of conception. After CD 20 my odds of getting pregnant decline significantly and I’ve most likely missed ovulation.
If you’re looking at the chart and numbers and thinking: “Well, this doesn’t really answer my question: “When do I ovulate?”. It just narrowed it down some!”
You’re absolutely right, looking at your cycle length alone can not and does not answer the question in full. That is because you have to bring in physical tools like OPKs and BBT thermometers to pinpoint the exact day.
Tools That Accurately Detect Ovulation – Down to the Day
After you chart your data if you’re still feeling like you need to know more about ovulation and you want to be able to say the words “I ovulated today” with certainty you’re going to have to bring in some outside help.
The good news is that there are a couple options out there to help you and they don’t require a prescription or even a doctors visit to gain access to them.
Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs)
OPKs are the easiest, most convenient method used to help detect ovulation. They are very similar to using a pregnancy test and work by detecting the LH hormone in urine. To read more about how OPKs work click here.
OPKs let you know that ovulation is near, most of the time you will ovulate within 12-36 from a positive result. You do have to take a few steps to ensure you’re using them properly, but overall they are easy to use and read.
To learn more about how and when you should test read: Best Time To Take An Ovulation Test: LH Surge Detection
What OPKs do NOT tell you is the exact day you have ovulated. Ovulation Predictor Kits are what they say they are a predictor of ovulation nothing more.
For most women OPKs along with their cycle data is plenty of info and they are able to achieve pregnancy within a matter of months.
But again, OPKs and cycle data do not fully answer the question: “When do I ovulate?” to find that out you will need to have some serious dedication and a special thermometer.
Basal Body Temperature (BBT) Charting
BBT Charting is pretty simple in theory – sleep, take your temp when you wake up and record your temperature daily.
BBT is not so easy in practice. It is very “touchy”. If you forget to take your temp immediately upon waking and get up to use the bathroom you will not get an accurate reading.
You also have to make sure you follow a strict DAILY routine AND it takes a minimum of 2-3 months to really get a good reading.
Sounds like a pain in the rear, right? Well, it is – BUT when BBT charting is done correctly you can pretty much say with a certainty that you ovulated on X day.
While OPKs tell you when you’re getting ready to ovulate your BBT tells you that ovulation has indeed occurred.
To read more about BBT Charting and see if it’s a fit for your read: How Tracking Your Basal Body Temp (BBT) Can Help You Get Pregnant
Question Semi-Answered: “When Do I Ovulate?”
Unfortunately, without a direct one-on-one consultation, I am unable to help you determine exactly when YOU ovulate.
But – I hope that I have given you the tools/resources to take a leap and answer the question “When Do I Ovulate?” on your own!
If you’re still feeling lost and not sure what to do and or how to calculate your fertile days then a Conception Consultation may be the answer for you!
Together we will decide what, if any outside tools you should use and map out a step-by-step Baby Making Blueprint.
Thus ensuring that you and your partner are DTD at the right time and have the best chance of getting pregnant.
What Are You Currently Using To Track Ovulation? Will You Be Creating Your Own Cycle Schedule Or Starting OPKs or BBT Charting?