It's possible to determine your fertile window by tracking your menstruation days and keeping track of the symptoms that emerge specifically during ovulation (e.g. increased vaginal discharge and increased libido). The fertile window lasts about 6 days and happens every month, starting about 10 to 14 days after the first day of your period.
Knowing exactly when the fertile window occurs is important for women trying to get pregnant, as the probability of getting pregnant during this time is higher.
The most obvious sign of ovulation is an increase in vaginal discharge, but there are other symptoms that can help you identify whether you are ovulating. These include:
1. Transparent vaginal discharge
Transparent vaginal discharge, similar to raw egg whites, is the first sign that ovulation and the fertile window are coming. In this stage your body releases a hormone called estradiol, which increases fluid production. This acts as a lubrication mechanism which aids the entrance of the sperm into the vagina.
2. Acne breakouts
Acne breakouts are common when the fertile window is close. Skin gets more oily during this time, which leads to small pimples and blackheads. This can occur even after adolescence.
3. Slight increase in temperature
A slight increase in body temperature happens as a way for the body to prepare for fertilization. During this period, the follicles release the eggs, which increases progesterone levels. This hormone is responsible for a temperature increase of 0.3 to 0.8ºC, which can be measured with a thermometer first thing in the morning.
4. Increase in libido and appetite
This symptom may also occur as a result of increased hormone levels. Women may also feel more attractive and have increased sexual desire during this time.
5. Lower abdominal pain
A mild pain in the lower abdomen, which is around the level of the ovaries, is another very frequent symptom. Some women might feel cramps that come and go, which is an obvious sign that you are ovulating.
6. Irritability and emotional instability
Mood changes are also common during ovulation, and are mainly due to the hormonal changes that occur in the body.
What if I can't identify any symptoms?
If you are trying to get pregnant but have difficulty calculating your fertile window (e.g. due to irregular cycles), or if you are unable to detect trackable symptoms, you can opt to buy an ovulation test at the pharmacy.
If your cycles are relatively regular, you can also calculate your fertile period using a calculator like this one:
To find out your fertile window, insert your details in the calculator above.