Ovulation takes place when an egg from one of the ovaries is released into one of the Fallopian tubes. For the next 12 to 48 hours, the egg is available to be fertilized by sperm. If fertilization occurs, the fertilized egg implants itself in the uterine wall and pregnancy begins. If the egg is not fertilized, it disintegrates and is expelled from the body with the unused uterine lining during a normal menstrual period.
Women's menstrual cycles can vary greatly, but in the average woman, pregnancy ovulation occurs anywhere from day 11 to day 21 after the first day of her last menstrual period. Trying to calculate when you will ovulate can be difficult, however, because factors such as illness, anxiety, or changes in routine can throw off your menstrual cycles and cause you to ovulate earlier or later than expected.
If you're trying to figure out when pregnancy ovulation occurs, you may have better luck paying attention to your ovulation symptoms. Of course, learning the symptoms can be tricky, too. Not every woman experiences every symptom. It may take you a few months to get to know your body well enough to recognize the subtle signs that let you know ovulation is about to occur or has occurred.
One of the most common ovulation symptoms is a slight cramping pain in the abdomen called "mittelschmerz" or "middle pain.' It usually occurs at the time of ovulation. Some women may also bleed or spot a little bit when they ovulate.
Another reliable symptom is a higher basal body temperature. The basal body temperature is the lowest temperature the body achieves, usually during sleep. You can obtain your basal temperature by taking your temperature immediately after you awaken, before you get up and start moving around. At the time of ovulation, your basal temperature will be about one-half to one degree Fahrenheit higher than normal. Digital basal thermometers are available to help you chart your temperatures and determine when ovulation occurs.
Still another symptom of ovulation is the amount and consistency of cervical fluids. If you are squeamish, this method probably is not for you, but if you are not, gently probing your cervix with a clean finger will give you the information you are looking for. Expect your cervix to be dry immediately after your period. A few days before ovulation, you may notice some sticky fluids. Immediately prior to ovulation, the fluids will increase and become slippery. Some women describe them as having an "egg white" consistency. The fluid changes help protect sperm so that it will be more available to fertilize the egg.
Some women also experience increased sexual desire a day or two before ovulation, when they are most fertile. A final symptom to be aware of is tenderness in the breasts, which usually happens immediately following ovulation.
Tracking ovulation is not always easy. You need to become very familiar with your body and pay attention to subtle signs you might miss otherwise, but the results are worth the effort. Once you can tell when you are ovulating, you are well on your way to becoming pregnant.