9 Ovulation Symptoms To Watch Out For

Pregnancy test
Keep track of ovulation for potential pregnancy

Watch Out For These 9 Ovulation Symptoms When Trying To Conceive.

It can be so overwhelming when you’re trying to get pregnant! Tracking your menstrual cycles, testing your hormone levels, and watching out for the slightest sign or symptom is a lot of work.

Wouldn’t it be so easier if you knew when you would be your most fertile so that you can increase your chances of getting pregnant?

The key to identifying your fertile window lies in recognizing your ovulation symptoms. They can get complicated, but you don’t have to worry because we have broken them all down for you!

But, before we go any further, let’s break down the basics of ovulation.

Why does ovulation take place?

Every month your body prepares itself for pregnancy through the rise and fall of certain hormones. During the first half of your menstrual cycle, your estrogen levels increase as it helps build up the inner lining of your uterus.

Around 12-14 days before your next period, the levels of luteinizing hormone surge, which causes the release of a mature egg from a follicle in your ovary in a process called ovulation. After this, your progesterone levels begin to rise.

When the egg is released, it travels into the uterus, which is ready to combine with a male sperm during conception. If the male sperm fertilizes the egg, the young embryo implants itself into the uterus wall, marking the beginning of pregnancy.

If fertilization does not occur, the egg and the thick inner lining of the uterus begin to shed as progesterone levels begin to fall. The lining is released as menstrual blood.

When does ovulation take place?

It was believed that ovulation occurred in the middle of our menstrual cycles. However, research shows that many women have irregular cycles. Some have cycles as short as 21 days or as long as 35 days. Ovulation typically occurs 12-14 days before your next period. 

An easy way to estimate the ovulation period is by calculating as shown below:

For a 21-day cycle, ovulation occurs on day 7 (21 – 14 = 7), while for a 35-day cycle, ovulation occurs on day 21 (35 – 14).  

Estimate your ovulation period

Why should you track your ovulation?

If you can narrow down your ovulation day, you can identify your fertile window, which is the best time to try to conceive successfully.

Sperm can live for 4 to 5 days in the female genital tract, but an egg can be fertilized only up to 24 hours after its release. With each menstrual cycle, you have a period of a few days where your chances of pregnancy are increased.

How will you identify symptoms of ovulation?

Now, you may wonder, “How do I know if I am ovulating? And what exactly does ovulation feel like?”

Different women experience ovulation differently, but a few symptoms are common. As your hormones fluctuate before and during ovulation, they bring about changes to your body that you can identify with a little practice. 

The most common question women ask is - how long do ovulation symptoms last?

You may experience ovulation symptoms as far back as five days before and on the day of ovulation. Many women also report feeling symptoms till the day after ovulation.

This article will dive deeper into each ovulation symptom so you can spot them easily in your next cycle. The symptoms include:

  • Increased libido
  • Heightened senses
  • Tender Breasts
  • Cervical position
  • Bloating
  • Pain or cramps
  • Spotting
  • Cervical Mucus
  • Basal body temperature

Watch out for these 9 ovulation symptoms when trying to conceive.

1. Increased Libido.

Many women experience a sudden surge in their sex drive a few days before they begin to ovulate. Sexual arousal is your body’s natural way of telling you that it is ready to conceive!

2. Heightened smell

You may have a heightened sense of smell and taste for a few days during your period. It’s believed that your body is more attracted to male pheromones, like androstenone, during your fertile window.

3. Tender breasts

Your breasts and nipples may feel sore, engorged, and tender right before and during ovulation due to the sudden rush of hormones. You may find it difficult to sleep on your chest, and your bra may feel uncomfortable during those days.

4. Cervical position

Normally, if you feel the tip of your cervix, it may feel firm, dry, and unyielding, like the tip of your nose. But around ovulation, as it reacts to the changing hormones, the cervix may feel soft and wet, like your lips.

Tips for feeling your cervix correctly

  • If you want to check for cervical changes, get into a comfortable position like the one you might use to insert a tampon. For example, some women stand next to the toilet with one foot propped on the closed seat to get a better angle.

  • Insert your finger into the vaginal canal to feel your cervix inside, but ensure you use clean hands and trim your fingernails to avoid pain, trauma, and infections.

5. Bloating

Just before ovulation, hormones like estrogen and luteinizing hormone begin to rise. These changing levels cause swelling and water retention, so you may feel bloated just before you ovulate. After the egg is released, progesterone starts to increase, which slows down the natural movements of your stomach and intestines resulting in bloating.

Tips to reduce bloating during ovulation

  • While it is common to crave sweet and salty food during your periods, resisting temptation can help with your menstrual symptoms. Reduce the amount of salt in your diet and ensure you have a good amount of water to decrease bloating.

  • Even though you may not feel like getting out of bed during your periods, try to get in some physical activity every day. Regular exercise improves your blood circulation and reduces the buildup of fluid.

6. Lower abdomen Pain or cramps

40% of women experience a sharp pain in either the left or the right side of their lower abdomen during their menstrual cycle. It may vary in intensity and feel like a slight twinge or pulling sensation for some, while for others it may be a sharp, stabbing pain. It usually lasts from a few minutes to a few hours and is called mittelschmerz, which is German for “middle pain.”

Ovulation pain indicates that the follicle has burst to release an egg, and it may be accompanied by mild spotting in some cases.

Tips for dealing with ovulation pain

  • If the ovulation pain is uncomfortable, you can take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. But if the pain is persistent or severe, you should consult with a doctor to rule out other medical conditions like endometriosis or ovarian cysts.

  • It's important to establish a monthly baseline of your ovulation symptoms. You then know what is normal for your body so that you can catch any abnormal or potentially harmful symptoms early on.

7. Spotting

Studies show that almost 5% of women who get periods experience mild bleeding or spotting. If you notice light pink or red spotting for 1-2 days around 12-14 days before your next cycle, it could be a symptom of ovulation, called ovulatory bleeding.

Spotting during ovulation may not be common, but it is normal. As the follicle bursts open to release the egg, it may injure a few blood vessels, causing bleeding. The blood ages over time and is released as a brown discharge.

Tips to distinguish ovulation bleeding from other common causes of spotting

It may be difficult to distinguish between ovulation bleeding and your regular period flow. Here are the subtle differences you should remember the next time you see mild spotting.


Ovulation bleeding

Regular Period Flow


occurs when the ovary releases an egg from a mature follicle.

It occurs when ovulation occurs, but the egg isn't fertilized. The uterine lining sheds through the vagina due to changes in hormone levels, causing period blood flow.


 Light pink or red

Bright red (some people may have brownish discharge at the beginning or the end of their period)


No clots

Clots of varying sizes may be present


Lasts only 1-2 days

Usually lasts 4-7days


Irregular and unpredictable

Usually with a predictable regular pattern


A small amount of blood causes light spotting, which may require a panty liner for collection.

Regular to heavy blood flow requires pads, tampons, or a menstrual cup for collection.

Other Symptoms

Other ovulation symptoms

Heavier cramps, breast tenderness, PMS, and acne breakouts

8. Cervical mucus

With the effect of estrogen, the cervical mucus becomes stretchy and clear, like runny egg whites. This helps the male sperm swim up to the egg released during ovulation. After ovulation, the cervical mucus is usually scanty, dry, and thick if present.

Tips for testing cervical mucus

To check the consistency of your cervical mucus, insert a clean, dry finger into your vagina, and remove some of the mucus. Stretch out the secretion between your thumb and finger. If it is wet and slippery and can stretch into thin mucus strands, it is a good sign that you are in your fertile window.

9. Basal body temperature

Your basal body temperature tends to rise and stays higher than normal after ovulation. You can identify patterns and changes by monitoring your basal body temperature for a few months.

Tips to get the most accurate BBT readings

  • Take your body temperature first thing in the morning while laying still in bed.
  • Take it at the same time every day.
  • Use a precise and accurate thermometer.
  • Make a note of days where the readings could be unreliable due to poor sleep, alcohol, illness, or medications, which could also affect your periods.

Is it me, or are these ovulation symptoms confusing?

Don’t worry; it’s not just you! The symptoms of ovulation are mild, and many women may not experience them during their cycles. Ovulation symptoms are also very similar to premenstrual symptoms. It may become tricky to differentiate whether your body is getting ready for a period bleed or ovulation.

Are there better ways to track ovulation?

Suppose you find it difficult to identify ovulation's subtle and sometimes unpredictable symptoms. In that case, a more effective way of narrowing down your fertile window is to track your hormones as they fluctuate. Ovulation predictor kits (OPKs)  can only tell you that you are going to ovulate. They do not confirm ovulation. Fertility Monitors can help remove the guesswork around your hormone levels.

Inito is a fertility monitor that is different from other OPKs.

  • It measures the actual value of hormones instead of just estimating an approximate threshold value.
  • It checks the amounts of Luteinizing Hormone and estrogen in your urine to track your fertile window.
  • It measures Progesterone (PdG) which rises after ovulation. So, high PdG levels confirm that you have ovulated. Knowing that you have ovulated can give you peace of mind and help you track your fertile window during your next cycle.


When you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s very important to be aware of how and when your body changes. Timing is everything! When you can identify ovulation symptoms and monitor your fertility window, you can identify the days when conception will be successful. After all, preparation is the key to success! Check out these tips on how to Choose the Best Health Care Provider for Pregnancy Care.

Dr. Lakshmi Vaswani
Author: Dr. Lakshmi Vaswani (MBBS, DPB, MBA) is a Clinical Pathologist who uses her experience in the healthcare industry to bring a unique perspective to her current role as a Medical Content Writer for B2B and B2C audiences in the health and wellness industry. Well-versed with various written mediums, she helps healthcare businesses build their online presence.

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