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  • Writer's pictureDr. Morgan Winton, ND

Are you ovulating?

I see many people trying to get pregnant, and if you've got ovaries - the first thing we need to figure out is if and when you're ovulating! Many people use apps to figure this out, but that's far from ideal. Apps alone have no information other than when you're menstruating, so they're really guessing at when your fertile window is. There are many more accurate ways to figure out when or if you're ovulating from the comfort of your own home.

OPK test strips - aka Ovulation Predictor Kits or LH test strips. These are test strips that you pee on or dip in urine and they test for a hormone called Luteinizing Hormone (LH). You start using the test strips a few days after your period ends and continue until you get a positive test result. There are many versions - from two simple lines (one control and one test - similar to a covid rapid antigen test) to ones that have smiling happy faces that flash at you. I prefer the less expensive versions which should cost less than $1 per test.

Cervical mucous - this is different from Vaginal discharge. When a person is close to ovulation, the body produces mucous near the cervix that is clear and similar to the consistency of raw egg whites. Some people produce lots of mucous so that it's on their underwear or so that they feel it when they're wiping after they urinate. Other people produce less, so that it's only present at the cervical opening. Both scenarios are great, it's just harder if you produce less to figure out when you're fertile without "going digging" for your cervix to see what kind of mucous is up there. Fertile egg white mucous is molecularly aligned to allow for easier sperm passage through the cervix. After ovulation, cervical mucous turns thick and white and more of the consistency of lotion - this prevents anything from entering into the uterus post-ovulation.

BBT - aka Basal Body Temperature. Taking your temperature when you first wake up, before getting out of bed, is considered your basal body temperature. If you take your temperature every morning and chart it, you may notice that you have a lower average body temperature before vs after ovulation. The day before the temperature rise is usually when ovulation happens. This method isn't helpful for predicting when ovulation is about to happen, but is good at confirming that ovulation did happen. Apps can be great for plugging this information into as they can help you interpret the temperature shifts.

Mittleschmerz - aka Ovulation Pain. Some people have very specific and predictable pain or discomfort near their ovary around ovulation. We think that this is a sign that an egg is about to be ovulated.

When I'm working with patients, I often suggest that more than one method described above are used to predict or confirm ovulation to make sure that different signs and symptoms all match up.

As always, if you've got questions - please reach out!


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