Ready for the pregnancy journey but don’t know where to begin? If you are hoping to start a family then one of the most important things you need to know about is OVULATION.

This is because the most accurate time of month to try for a baby is around ovulation. Ovulation occurs midway through the menstrual cycle, so that’s generally around the 14th day (give or take 2-3 days either side) of an average 28 day cycle. During ovulation, an ovary releases an egg that only presents itself for 12 to 24 hours, playing hard to get unlike persistent sperm that can last for up to 6 days in the fallopian tubes.

Your body is your temple so listen to it

Some women have regular menstrual cycles and can determine for themselves when to get their groove on, whilst others may not be as regular and need some assistance from bodily hints. Here is a list of some of the common symptoms that women can use to help detect when they are ovulating:

Increased libido

Your sexual drive may lift a gear and your eagerness to climb into bed with your partner has increased.

Pain & cramps

Some, but not all women experience slight pain in the pelvic region or cramps in their abdomen around the mid-point of their cycle. This can be a sign that an egg has matured or been released from the ovary.

Changes down below

The most identifiable signs of ovulation you will find occur down there. Your cervix (the long narrow portion of the uterus that joins to the top end of the vagina) may open up a little more than usual, while your cervical mucus discharge becomes thinner, clearer and stretchier. These are all changes to welcome in his sperm and make their journey easier.

Rise in body temperature

During ovulation, your basal body temperature (BBT; your temperature at rest) will rise to its highest point for the month. To do this, you would need to track your BBT on a daily basis with a thermometer, measuring at the same time each day. Early morning is usually the best time to get the most accurate measurement of a resting body temperature. If you can track and record your temperature daily, you should see your temperature spike at the time of ovulation. But be mindful, the changes in temperature may be subtle.

Sense of smell

Many women often report of a heightened sense of smell when they ovulate. So, when that nose of yours is more sensitive it could be a sign to start trying.

Ovulation kits

A more accurate sign of ovulation is the change in your hormone levels. Ovulation kits are available at most pharmacies and can detect these changes by testing your urine or saliva. If you are having trouble picking up on your signs of ovulation, then an ovulation kit might be helpful in pinpointing it. Once you are aware of your body’s changes, you should be able to identify it yourself, but if you’re still having trouble then you can ask your doctor.

Experiencing one of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ovulating but, if you detect more than one and they are occurring around the mid-point of your cycle, the chances are higher that they are linked to ovulation.

So…what should you do with all this information?

Have a lot of sex a week before and during ovulation, every two or three days and avoid using lubricants as they can affect sperm. Unlike men, a woman’s orgasm is not needed for conception, in saying that though; satisfying each other’s needs will keep sex enjoyable, intimate and less stressful. If your sex drive does start to lose its throttle, try and get out of the mindset of ‘baby’ making and make ‘love’ again, by having sex sporadically throughout your cycle, as regularly as you both enjoy.

It can sometimes take a healthy couple a while before they succeed. Have sex the way you and your partner enjoy since no positions have been proven to help conception. There’s no harm in trying to assist sperm by lying in bed afterwards with your hips tilted up on a pillow or by lifting your legs to cycle in mid-air whilst lying on your back. If conception hasn’t occurred within a year, or if you have irregular cycles, you and your partner might benefit from seeing a doctor for a check-up.