Knowing when you are ovulating is important when trying to conceive. It allows you to make sure that you are focusing your attention and your, ahem, energy on the right days. The fertile window for women each month is actually quite narrow, and knowing when you ovulate is the best way to make sure that you optimize your chances to conceive each month.
Most women have a fertile window of approximately six days each cycle, since sperm can often survive up to five days in a woman’s cervical fluid. But since your egg can only survive up to 24 hours, it’s important to know what these five days are before you ovulate. Therefore, a woman’s most fertile days are the three days before and including ovulation day.
Ovulation signals the moment that your ovary releases your egg. So, what are the symptoms that can clue you in on the day that you ovulate?
Cervical Mucus (CM), also known as Cervical Fluid, is one of the best and easiest ways to determine whether you are ovulating. Fertile cervical fluid provides the transportation for the sperm – the sperm travels to the egg via the cervical fluid. At the peak, right before ovulation, your CM will become more and more stretchy and liquid (think egg whites – literally, crack open an egg and play with the egg whites in your fingers to get a good understanding of what fertile CM looks like!). Using your thumb and pointer finger, see if you can stretch your CM at least an inch.
During each menstrual cycle, your Cervical Mucus changes pretty drastically. It can go from being completely absent during the time of your period, to watery, sticky or pasty (crumbly sometimes too), to creamy, to stretchy CM, to after you ovulate, watery or a combination of the ones listed. Stretchy CM marks your most fertile days, leading up to ovulation!