How Do I Track My Ovulation?
Dr. Renuka Dangare

Dr. Renuka Dangare

Apr 17Menstrual health

How Do I Track My Ovulation?

Let’s talk about the science of ovulation first and understand why it is important to know about it, even if you’re not planning a baby.

What is ovulation and how does it work?

Your ovaries are small egg-shaped organs on either side of your uterus. They house up to a million premature eggs or primordial follicles at the time of your birth. They keep reducing in number as we age.

Beginning at puberty, every month several of these eggs try to mature and grow and release from the ovary to be available for fertilization for the sperm. Under the influence of reproductive hormones, one of these eggs takes centre stage, leaves the ovary and is released as a mature egg. This process of the egg being released is called ovulation.

The menstrual cycle is affected by the levels of 4 hormones - estrogen, progesterone, luteinizing hormone or LH and follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH. All these hormones also play a crucial role in ovulation.

How does ovulation assist in pregnancy?

When a sperm joins with an egg, fertilization occurs. The usual timeline for an egg to stay in the fallopian tube is between 12-24 hours. While the sperm can stay up in the uterus or the fallopian tube even for up to 6 days after sex. The fertilized egg then travels from your fallopian tube to your uterus and gets attached to the uterine wall, which will result in pregnancy. And if egg fertilization doesn’t happen, you will eventually get your period.

So, an egg stays up for about a day and the sperm lasts for 6 days post-sex. This makes you fertile for around 7 days of every menstrual cycle, ie. 5-6 days before and a day after the ovulation.

When does ovulation occur?

In a regular menstrual cycle, ovulation occurs approximately 14 days before your next period.

To put it in simpler terms, if you get a period every 28 days, ovulation occurs on day 14 of your cycle. For those having a 30-day cycle, ovulation day is typically day 16. Nowadays, period/cycle tracking apps make it extremely easy for us to calculate that day.

Benefits of tracking Ovulation:

For anyone who is sexually active, tracking their ovulation helps in determining the course of their actions.

  • Trying to conceive?

If you are trying to conceive, tracking your ovulation will give you a clear picture of the fertility window in your cycle. If you have been trying to get pregnant and have had some unsuccessful attempts or suffered a miscarriage, turning to ovulation tracking methods, can help in increasing your odds of conception.

  • Preventing pregnancy?

It is one of the most traditional methods of contraception. Having sex on the days you are infertile with the help of ovulation tracking, can prove helpful in not getting pregnant.

  • Just looking to keep your health in check?

Knowing about your ovulation definitely gives you a great insight into your reproductive and hormonal health. Ovulation is symbiotic with multiple other processes in your body and if something is amiss, it’s likely to throw your ovulation process off too.


Some of the most common reasons for a person’s ovulation to be affected are :

  • Medication: Birth control is an example of a medication that completely stops ovulation. 
  • Disturbances in reproductive hormones such as PCOS. PCOS can cause an increase in the amount of masculinizing hormone or androgens in your body and that prevents ovulation.
  • Imbalance of thyroid and prolactin hormones
  • Extreme stress
  • Extremes of exercise
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding acts as a natural contraceptive for your body and prevents ovulation. (Natural but not 100% effective)
  • Substance Use: Substances such as alcohol, marijuana and cocaine are likely to delay ovulation.
  • Extremes of age and in the perimenopausal period.


How to track ovulation?

Fertility Awareness Methods (FAM) comprise different ways of tracking your ovulation that can prevent/aid the process of pregnancy. These are generally also called ‘Natural Family Planning’ and also the ‘Rhythm Method’

There are different kinds of FAMs that not only help you track your menstrual cycle but also help in determining when the ovaries release an egg and the process of ovulation begins.

Depending on what purpose you are using it for, using a combination of methods works better than relying on just one.

These methods work better at aiding pregnancy than preventing one. If used as natural contraception, they have a high failure rate.

  • The Temperature Method: While following this, keep a tab of your body temperature every morning, right after you wake up and get out of your bed. Your body temperature increases by about 0.5 or 1 degree after your ovulation. So charting the temperature will help in predicting your next ovulation cycle.

  • The Cervical Mucus Method: During ovulation, there would be certain changes in the vaginal discharge (mucus). You have to check on the same every day to learn the pattern. It changes throughout the menstrual cycle due to the hormones, estrogen and progesterone. Cervical mucus that’s more transparent and resembles an egg-white, suggests that ovulation is about to begin soon.

  • The Calendar Method: The oldest and one of the most trusted methods. This is physically tracking and maintaining records via a calendar of your cycle and learning about the number of days between each menstrual cycle.

  • Ovulation Testing Kit: These kits contain strips that measure the luteinizing hormone in your urine. This hormone is triggered and is higher during the 2-3 days before your ovulation. However, it’s not a very accurate method and can sometimes need medical intervention if it denotes a lot of hormonal fluctuations.

  • Mittelschmerz or mid-cycle spotting: Not a fertility awareness method per se, but getting a small amount of spotting or one-sided pain in the middle of your cycle can be indicators that ovulation has happened. The process of the egg being released from the surface or your ovary can cause either of these symptoms.

How effective are FAMs?

The statistical figures might lie between 70-80%. However, studies say that when all the FAMs are used together, the effectiveness increases. But getting pregnant is a natural process and sometimes even the utmost precautions can fail.

When compared to other birth control methods, FAMs need a lot of homework and their efficacy is proved only over a long period of time.

For those who have a regular period routine, either of the FAMs might work perfectly. However, others might have to use a combination of these methods with utmost precautions – as irregular periods make these methods less efficient.

Only you can know the best for you. Follow methods that you are comfortable with. Wanting pregnancy and avoiding it, are both very natural experiences and tracking your ovulation can prove to be beneficial in both cases.

When should I consult a doctor?

Consider consulting a healthcare provider, if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Irregular or missed periods
  • Periods more frequent than 20 days
  • Periods over 45 days
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge during or after periods
  • Pain in your lower belly and spotting infrequently between your period
  • If you have been struggling to conceive >1 year under the age of 35 and >6 months over 35 years.

Disclaimer - This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare practitioners before undertaking any changes in your diet or adding supplements.


Proactive is a digital clinic for women, offering accessible, personalized, and confidential health-care solutions. We offer products and services for out-patient health concerns of Indian women, across their lifetime - from puberty to pregnancy to menopause. To know more on the sexual and reproductive health of women, visit