How do I know if I’m ovulating? It can be so confusing to identify your fertile time. Should I be using a period app to determine ovulation? or is there something else that is more accurate? In this video, I am going to share with you: ways to identify if you are ovulating, what to look for, what methods not to use and what I would recommend using instead. I’m so excited to share this with you.

For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Michelle Cooke, Period & Hormone Naturopath. I am the Founder & Director of Reproductive Wellness, a clinic located in Melbourne. I see patients online & face-to-face.

In terms of ovulation and tracking ovulation, I definitely wouldn’t recommend using a period app and relying on that information to tell you when you are ovulating. And that is basically because you are just putting the data in there: so, you are telling it how long your cycle is, so for instance 32 days, next one might be 34 days and the next one might be 28 days.

Basically, it will then gather that data and average it out from a technical perspective what your ovulation time might be. It is aiming for the middle, based on the average of the lengths you have put in and other data you have put in there. Buzz, whizz, buzz technical things deciding on what is going on and it is just going to work out an average so please don’t rely upon period apps when ovulation is going to take place. It is not accurate, and it doesn’t know what your body is going through at the time so you might be stressed, and this delays ovulation. But the app doesn’t know that; it is just going from the data that you have put in there.


You are putting in: Today I have my period it is heavy this day, it’s a bit light, it’s moderate etc. So, you are putting all that in plus all the other data as well, so it is just calculating based on that. So definitely don’t predict ovulation based on the calculation from those apps ok? But in saying that, those apps are absolutely fantastic for recording information about your cycle. Your menstrual cycle includes your whole cycle, it includes your period and all the time up until your next period. It is excellent for recording if your periods are heavy, light, moderate if you are getting PMS, cramps etc. so I would highly recommend using it in that case.


So, you are probably wondering: what do I use then? What I would recommend is using an ovulation or basal body temperature thermometer. Recording temperature each day with that thermometer will actually identify if ovulation has taken place or not. It is retrospective so you will look back and think oh, ok I did ovulate. But it is not actually going to warn the approach of ovulation. That is very important to remember as well. Please don’t a normal thermometer as there isn’t those small increments in temperature. You can’t see if you are ovulating or not by using those. That is because the range of temperatures are way too broad; and it is not going to pick up those tiny increments and differences in temperature. I’ve had patients come to me and say they have been charting, I always ask them which thermometer they are using. Some patients have just been using a normal thermometer and wonder why they can’t really see those differences in temperature.


The other thing I would recommend coupling with the temperature method is the cervical mucus method. It is basically looking at what is happening downstairs. What is happening at your vulva? Your vulva is the external part of your vagina or basically the lips so to speak. What is happening with your vaginal lips or vulva? What is the sensation down there? That is what you have to be looking for, what does it feel like today? Does it feel dry? Does it feel moist? Does it feel tacky? Does it feel wet? Does it feel slippery? Sometimes you will be walking along and there will be this big avalanche and you say to yourself: is that my period? Did I wee myself? What is happening? I am going to have to look further into this. Usually, it will be your cervical mucus plug, so when you are the most fertile the cervical mucus will actually come down into your underwear and it leaves the cervix open so the sperm can gain entry.


So, it is just a matter of observing each day on what you actually feel there. Everyone is very different in terms of cervical mucus patterns. There is a basic infertile pattern no. 1 (BIP1) and a basic infertile pattern no. 2 (BIP2). So, you might be the BIP1 which means you are dry most of the time and you are dry most of you cycle. Or you could be Basic infertile pattern No. 2 so this can be slightly moist most of the time, but it is unchanging. It stays like that most of the cycle and that is your pattern. Everyone’s pattern is very different. So, it is all about getting to know your body individually and knowing yourself on an intimate level. You could also be a combination of those types. You could have some days that are dry and some days that are slightly moist. Particularly if your cycle is quite long so if it is longer than 35 days, you might experience both types of these. You need to get to know you and what your basic infertile pattern is or your non-fertile pattern.


What about your fertile phase, what do you look for? You look for a change in your basic infertile pattern. So, for instance if you are dry all the time and all of a sudden you are starting to get moist, then you start to get wet, then it goes to slippery. That is a change in your cervical mucus. So, if you are slightly moist all the time, perhaps you are more wet then instead. That is a change to your non-fertile or infertile mucus. It is the change that you are looking for that is a change to your mucus. So that change in cervical mucus will indicate if you are potentially fertile or not. It does take a while to understand what your non-fertile and fertile mucus is like for you. Usually, it takes about 3 cycles for women to get the gist of it. It takes a bit of practice and jot down when you notice it each day.


Go to toilet and assess what is happening there and before you do a wee assess the sensation. What is in my underwear? Can I see something, is it creamy? Is it tacky? Is it moist? Is it slippery? Is it wet? What is going on there? You are feeling the sensation, you are looking and observing in the underwear as well and that will clarify it for you. I don’t recommend popping your fingers into the vaginal cavity to see what type of mucus is there because that can stimulate lubricating secretions that confuses you and you can’t really see what is happening with the cervical mucus. If you do that it will stimulate some arousal fluids instead. So purely observing each day, especially before you go to the toilet so just observing. What is it feeling like? What does it look like? What can you see? And throughout the day as well. Coupling the Cervical mucus method & Temperature Method is absolutely key to recognise when you are ovulating and if you have ovulated. The cervical mucus method can warn the approach of ovulation as well which is really important. Whereas the Temperature Method doesn’t. You have to look back and think oh, ok I did ovulate then.


 Question on Instagram Live: What temperature should you be when you are ovulating?

Everyone is a little bit different, what you will see on your chart is a little dip in the temperature so it will go down and then it will go up to a steep rise. That is when you know when ovulation has taken place, particularly if that temperature stays up if it starts coming down again, that is an attempt in ovulation but it didn’t take place. It goes a little lower than the previous 6 temperatures about 0.3 degrees. Then you will see a rise and it will stay up until the next period. If it is a sharp rise that is when you know when you have healthy progesterone levels. Sometimes it might not be as obvious, but there is still a rise there. It just takes practice to notice if it is ovulation that occurred or an attempt at ovulation. Sometimes your body can do jump starts in terms of ovulation. It tries to ovulate and then it doesn’t. Quite often this happens when you are stressed. Stress delays ovulation, it will go to happen and your body will steal pregnenolone which is a hormone that makes progesterone and it will take away from the fertility side of things or the reproductive side of things because that is not important. It is working from a primal side of things back to the cave man days, if the body thinks you are stressed it thinks you are in danger. It thinks that a lion or tiger is chasing you and you are in extreme danger. Even though it might be a small stress, your body doesn’t know the difference between a huge massive stress or a small stress. So, either way it will shut off your reproductive system because it is not important to conceive at that time and it’s not safe to do so. It is just giving you that fuel for that fight or flight response.


Question on Instagram Live: How often should you try and conceive in that fertile window?

So, as soon as you feel that change in cervical mucus apart from what you notice in your non-fertile phase (whether that be dry or slightly moist) that is when I would attempt to conceive every day during that time. In the non-fertile, pre-ovulation phase, try to conceive every 3 days and then during the fertile phase try to do every day or every 1-2 days. Sometimes you can ovulate prior to the main peak day of ovulation. The main peak day could be the day of slippery mucus. It can go from moist to wet to slippery. That last day of fertile mucus could be when you have ovulated, but you can also ovulate 2 days before and 2-3 days after. You kind of have to try and catch it around that time if you can.


Question on Instagram Live: When you wipe you can often see it hey?

So, I assume you are talking about the cervical mucus or the fertile mucus. Sometimes you can but it depends on what type of mucus you have going on. If it is non-fertile and it is dry you may not see that but if it is the really fertile mucus so the slippery kind, you can feel that and when you go to wipe you can feel the tissue slip right back. That is when you know when it is the peak day of ovulation. But it can occur 2 days prior to that or 2-3 days after. We don’t know the exact time, but it gives you a very good guide. You can see it if it is slippery, if it is moist you might see it and you can definitely feel it in your underwear as well.

 The other thing is in regards to ovulation, you should never assume that it is day 14. That would probably occur if you have a 28 day cycle, but no always. Normally ovulation would take place 2 weeks prior to your next period. 11-17 days later you get your period. Never assume it is day 14. If you have a longer cycle it can occur later on in that cycle, it might be a little later on because your cycle is longer. Period will occur 11-17 days later.

Remember ovulation can be delayed by stress, overeating, undereating, if underweight or overweight, jetlagged, tired, lack of sleep. Jet lag and lack of sleep can mess with your temperature as well. So that is important to remember if you are charting your temperature as well because there might be a bit of a wonky rise and that might take place because of the jetlag or hungover or had a late night that can alter your temperature as well.


Key takeaways:

  • Don’t rely on a period app to predict ovulation

  • Use the temperature method to determine whether ovulation has taken place or not

  • Use the Cervical Mucus Method to warn you of the approach of ovulation

  • Don’t assume that ovulation is occurring on day 14

  • Be mindful of things that delay ovulation: stress

  • Don’t use a regular thermometer for the temperature method: use basal body thermometer / ovulation thermometer

 This is something I use with my patient’s day in day out: whether they are trying to conceive, trying to avoid conception or if they are coming in with a hormone imbalance (PCOS, Fibroids, Endometriosis, PMS etc.) I always get them to chart because we gather so much information about whether ovulation has taken place or not, how long their follicular phase is, how long luteal phase is. Follicular phase occurs prior to ovulation, luteal phase follows ovulation. Gives us an idea of how long menstrual cycle is. It is really empowering to get to know our body on this intimate level. Can take up to 3 cycles to get the gist of it. You will start to recognise when ovulation is coming and use temperature method to discover if you have ovulated or not. Document all the information on a period app as well.


I’m a Natural Fertility Educator so that is something that I can teach you if you are interested please contact me. I invite you to BOOK a free discovery call to find out more. Please click on the button below.


If you do have a question, pop it down below. No question is a silly question 😊


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