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Predicting Ovulation: Timing Is Everything

By Rebecca Stone, MD

When trying to get pregnant, you may start watching your body closely for signs of pregnancy. But it might be a good idea to watch your body closely for other signs too. Keeping track of ovulation, the time when the egg leaves your ovary and is ready to be fertilized, can help you increase your chances of getting pregnant, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

If you have sex in the 3 to 5 days preceding ovulation, you are more likely to get pregnant. But figuring out when you’re ovulating can be a little tricky. There are a few methods that can help.


Using a basal body thermometer, check your temperature before getting out of bed each morning, and record it. Body temperature tends to rise slightly (0.4 to 0.8 degrees) in the days after ovulation. The egg can only be fertilized for 12 to 24 hours after ovulation. If you have regular periods, this method can help you predict when you should ovulate in your next cycle.


Right after your period, there are typically a few dry days when there is no mucus present. Mucus production increases as ovulation nears. Around the time of ovulation, the mucus becomes clear and slippery, like raw egg whites.


Ovulation test kits, available at pharmacies, test urine. You briefly hold a test stick in your urine stream. It checks for a hormone that peaks just before ovulation. Testing is started 2 to 3 days prior to expected ovulation. Once the test is positive, ovulation usually occurs in the next day. Your most fertile time is the day of the positive test and the two days after.

Talk to your doctor if you have questions about tracking ovulation.

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