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What is Ovulation?

If you’re getting ready to grow your family and learning more about conception, you’ll want to get familiar with ovulation. Exactly when you ovulate varies for each woman, but luckily there are ways to recognize the signs of ovulation and time sex accordingly to increase your chances of getting pregnant. Even if you’re not trying to conceive yet, it’s still important to have a good grasp on ovulation signs. Not only can they help you better understand your menstrual cycle, but they can also help you identify any abnormal ovulation symptoms down the road. (In fact, some women keep track of their ovulation patterns as part of their contraception method to avoid getting pregnant.)

Symptoms of Ovulation

Now, you’re probably wondering, can you feel ovulation happening? And what exactly does ovulation feel like? It can differ from woman to woman, but there are several common ovulation symptoms you may sense. Before and during ovulation, hormonal shifts can affect the entire body, prompting ovulation symptoms. These can be a powerful way to know when you’re ovulating. Many women will experience those ovulation symptoms for up to five days before ovulation as well as the day of, Pollio says, and they may last for a day after ovulation.

But if you don’t notice any signs you’re ovulating, don’t worry—it doesn’t mean it’s not happening. “Most women have no clue,” Moore says. If you can learn to recognize the common signs of ovulation listed below, it could help you predict when ovulation is likely to occur.

  • Cervical mucus changes
  • Heightened senses
  • Breast soreness or tenderness
  • Mild pelvic or lower abdominal pain
  • Light spotting or discharge
  • Libido changes
  • Changes in the cervix
  • Nausea and headaches
  • Changes in your basal body temperature