The length of an average ovarian cycle extends from 23 days to 35 days, but this is a huge window. It is impractical to perform intercourse daily, and there is no advantage of frequent intercourse unless you perform it around the time of ovulation. The length of your ovarian cycle may vary, but in most cases the ovulation occurs on 14th day of your ovarian cycle. But what is ovulation, and how can you determine the actual time of ovulation?
Ovulation refers to the time in the ovarian cycle when the egg is released into the reproductive tract/genital tract of the mother (the fallopian tubes to be precise), so that if intercourse is performed, the sperm can have easy access to the egg in the tubes resulting in fusion-formation of zygote and eventually pregnancy.
There are a number of methods that can help determine the time of ovulation in the ovarian cycle. Most of these methods employ utilizing the changes in serum hormonal levels within the maternal body and physical changes brought about by these hormones. Ovulation occurs just prior to the ovulation surge (also known as the spike of Luteinizing Hormone). This change in hormonal biochemistry forms the basis of most ovulation prediction tests, such as:
Basal Body Temperature Calculation
Luteinizing hormone is a heat-producing hormone; therefore, the basal body temperature rises soon after the spike of LH (and just before ovulation), giving you an approximate idea when your body is most prepared for intercourse.
How do you monitor basal body temperature for the best results?
Experts suggest maintaining a chart to record daily basal body temperature at the same time every day. You will notice a rise of one-two degrees in your basal body temperature with the LH spike (indicating ovulation is about to occur or has just occurred).
Cervical Mucus Monitoring
A lot of women can also monitor their time of ovulation by monitoring the concentration of cervical mucus. Cervical mucus is normally thick throughout the cycle; however, as the time of ovulation approaches, cervical mucus not only becomes copious but also thin and sticky. If you are using cervical mucus monitoring as a sole method, you may miss out on the ovulation because mucus characteristics are widely variable and depend on a number of factors besides serum hormone concentration.
Mid-cycle pains are another nonspecific way of determining ovulation and are marked by mild cramping and pain in the abdomen and lower pelvis at the time of ovulation (or the 14th day of the ovarian cycle). I don’t personally suggest this to follow as a primary method because most women tend to miss mid-cycle pains.
Classically, ovulation prediction kits are more helpful than physical methods in determining the time of ovulation.
Ovulation Prediction Kits
Ovulation prediction kits are considered a more helpful and accurate method when compared with other ovulation detection methods. Ovulation prediction kits work on the same principle as that of home pregnancy tests (as in you have to dip the strip in your urine sample or during mid-stream of urination, and it will indicate if LH levels are high in your urine (suggesting ovulation).