How do I know I’m Ovulating?

Whether you’re actively trying to conceive, aiming to regulate your menstrual cycle or simply seeking a deeper connection with your body, ovulation is a pivotal event in your reproductive cycle.

As a woman one of the most empowering things, you can do is get to know your body and your ovulatory-menstrual cycle. According to Canadian endocrinology professor Jerilynn Prior, ‘Regular menstrual cycles with consistently normal ovulation during the premenopausal years will prevent osteoporosis, breast cancer and heart disease in women.’ (1) In that sense, every ovulation is crucial for assessing your overall wellbeing and essential for your long-term health. Ovulation signifies a well-functioning body with a consistent supply of adequate fuel and minimal stress. It’s also ensuring that women receive their monthly dose of progesterone which support post-menopausal health. This is precisely why it’s important to prioritise natural ovulation during your reproductive years.

So how do I know?
  1. Cervical Mucus: Do you notice those times in the month when you go to the bathroom and notice slippery cervical mucus when you go to wipe? Or white marks on your underwear? This is your cervical mucus and it’s your best friend. The increase in oestrogen levels during the follicular phase gives rise to the production of cervical mucus. As you move closer to ovulation the mucus becomes more abundant and turns clear, stretchy and more slippery or lubricative in texture (similar in consistency to egg whites). This juicy messenger signals that your oestrogen levels are high and ovulation is approaching and it’s extra supportive to sperm (perfect if you are evolving to conceive).
  2. Cervix Positioning: Though you can’t see it, your rising oestrogen has also caused your cervix to change in position, firmness and openness. During the non-fertile phases of the cycle, the cervix is typically positioned lower in the vaginal canal and feels firmer (like the tip of the nose). As ovulation approaches and the cervix rises higher in the vagina and becomes softer (like touching your lips). It’s signalling that the gate is open for sperm. You can feel this by inserting one or two clean fingers into the vagina and up to the cervix. If you check throughout your menstrual cycle, you will notice the difference.
  3. Basal Body Temperature (BBT) Charting: Tracking your basal body temperature each morning at the same time, before you get out of bed is a great way to know if you are ovulating. After ovulation occurs, progesterone is release which causes a thermogenic shift meaning your body temperature will typically increase. Charting your temperature on a graph will allow you to see the trend of a slight dip before ovulation and an increase after ovulation.It’s important to note that your basal body temperature can be influenced by the quality of your sleep, if you got up to go to the toilet at night, using an electric blanket, drinking alcohol and stress, etc. I generally recommend patients to chart their cycle for a minimum of 3 months to get adequate data. You can download a free BBT chart here
  4. Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs): About a day and half before ovulation, your pituitary gland sends a message to one follicle to get ready to release your egg. Ovulation prediction kits measure this surge in Luteinising Hormone (LH). You can buy OPKs inn most supermarkets and chemists. By simply peeing on a stick, OPKs can detect the surge in Luteinising Hormone (LH). This tells you that ovulation is about to happen generally within 24-48 hours. You’ll either notice a smiley face on your stick or it will read ‘high fertility’. Follow the instructions with your kit as different brands can vary. A word of caution, if you have PCO (Polycystic Ovaries) or PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) the tests may not be accurate.
  5. Heightened Senses and Libido: A surge in testosterone just before ovulation along with a rush of yang energy is likely to leave you feeling a greater sexual desire during this window. In this fertile phase, your body is primed to be more attracted to the male pheromone. Your body is raising its volume and telling you if you’re ready to make a mini-me, now is the time! Some women will report a heightened sense of smell and taste in the second half of their cycle.
  6. Mittelschmerz – Mild Lower Abdominal Pain: A lot of women will report feeling a mild ache, twinge or pain on one side or the other around ovulation. This can indicate an egg has been released. The pain can last a from a few minutes up to a few hours. It can be sharp or more of a dull ache. If ovulation pain is persistent and severe it’s important to check in with your health professional to rule out conditions such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or an ovarian cyst. I recommend monitoring and charting your symptoms for a minimum of 3 months to get a sense of what is normal for your body and identify unusual signs and symptoms throughout your cycle. Mittelschmerz is not a sign of anything bad. It may be telling us that there is a bit more inflammation (or pro-inflammatory prostaglandins) in the body but it is not inherently a sign of hormone imbalance or anything dangerous. I have found that reducing inflammation through acupuncture, Chinese herbs, diet and lifestyle factors, and supplements can make ovulation a lot more comfortable of a process for those struggling with midcycle abdominal pain!⠀
What if my app is telling me something different?

I always remind my patients that they know their bodies best and that while the menstrual tracking apps are brilliant most of the apps follow an algorithm, using the previous data to predict when the next fertile window might be. By observing your physiological symptoms and understanding where you are in your cycle will be the best way to determine when you are ovulating.



  1. Prior J.C. Preventative Power of Ovulation and Progesterone. CeMCOR Newsletter [Internet]. Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research; 2008 Mar-. Available from:
  2. Cox E and Takov V. Embryology, Ovarian Follicle Development [Updated 2022 Aug 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from:
  3. The Bump, Showell B. Ovulation Symptoms: 7 Signs of Ovulation [Internet]. 2023. Available from:

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