An image of a woman looking at a calendar for her monthly cycle holding on to a menstrual pad

Written by Vicky Liu, 4th year Health Sciences co-op student from the University of Waterloo. 

 Knowing when you ovulate is crucial for fertility because it's the prime window for conception. Think of it like catching the perfect wave – timing is everything. Ovulation is a phase of the female menstrual cycle that involves the release of an egg from an ovary. The egg would then need to meet sperm within a certain timeframe for pregnancy to happen. Should this happen, the fertilized egg will start to grow as it makes its way to the uterus, where the embryo may eventually implant. If the egg hasn't been fertilized, you'll have to wait until your next ovulation to try again for pregnancy, since the egg only has an average lifespan of 24 hours. Ovulation usually occurs midway through your menstrual cycle, but everyone's cycle is unique. Tracking ovulation helps you pinpoint this fertile window, increasing the chances of getting pregnant.


The Phases of the Menstrual Cycle

Understanding your menstrual cycle significantly enhances your chances of conceiving. The first phase begins with the first day of menstrual bleeding, marking the first day of the follicular phase. During this phase, your body releases hormones, like follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), that stimulates egg growth in the ovaries. Between days 2 and 14, FSH also facilitates the thickening of the uterine lining to prepare for a fertilized egg.

With an average cycle of 28-35 days, ovulation typically occurs between days 11 and 21. During this second phase of the menstrual cycle, luteinizing hormone (LH) surges, prompting the release of the mature egg. Concurrently, cervical mucus becomes more conducive for sperm travel.

The stage in the ovarian cycle that comes after ovulation is called the luteal phase. If the egg is fertilized, it implants itself in the thickened uterine lining. If fertilization doesn't occur within 24 hours of the egg leaving the ovary, the egg does not implant and dissolves, which leads to the breakdown of the lining and initiates a new menstrual cycle. On the other hand, sperm can have a lifespan of 3 to 5 days, so knowing when you ovulate allows you and your partner to plan when conception is most likely to occur. Optimal pregnancy chances lie 1-2 days before ovulation, usually around days 12-14 for a regular 28-day cycle.

Ways to Track Ovulation

1. Identify Your Most Fertile Days:

If your cycle is a regular 28 days, counting back 14 days from the expected start of the next period can help determine your fertile window. Around that time, plan to have intercourse every other day (on days 12 and 14). You can determine the most likely day by using an online ovulation calculator or ovulation and fertility kits, even if your cycle is longer or shorter than usual.

2. Monitor Ovulation Through Temperature:

The hormone progesterone begins to develop and preserve the uterine lining as soon as your body releases an egg. Your basal body temperature rises about 0.5 to 1 degrees Fahrenheit as a result. Therefore, you can determine whether or not you ovulated by taking your basal temperature with a thermometer every morning before getting out of bed. Although they are less expensive than other methods of fertility monitoring, they aren’t as precise.

3. Anticipate Ovulation Through Hormone Levels:

Your ovaries release an egg in response to a spike in luteinizing hormone (LH). The surge typically occurs 36 hours prior to the release of the egg. LH levels and other hormones are measured by ovulation and fertility monitoring kits to assist in determining the day of ovulation. These kits can measure the level of LH in your urine, and are very accurate and highly portable. To observe the increase in LH, you might want to test 1 or 2 days prior to when you anticipate the surge.

For more clarification, in-depth information, or answers to your health queries about your fertility and current status, our experienced naturopath, Dr. Wendy, is here to guide you. Book a consultation today to embark on a personalized path towards understanding and optimizing your reproductive health.



  1. Isometrik. (2009, December 8). Diagram of the menstrual cycle [Online image]. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 6, 2024, from
  2. Larrea, E. P., Suárez, L. P., Gómez, M. B., Salvador, Z., & Embleton, M. L. (2022, July 20). Types of ovulation tests [Online image]. inviTRA. Retrieved February 6, 2024, from
  3. Owen, M. (2013). Physiological signs of ovulation and fertility readily observable by women. The Linacre Quarterly, 80(1), 17–23.
  4. Silverthorn, D. U., Johnson, B. R., Ober, W. C., Ober, C. E., Impagliazzo, A., & Silverthorn, A. C. (2019). Human physiology : an integrated approach (Eighth edition.). Pearson Education, Inc.
  5. Steward K., & Raja A. (2023, July 17). Physiology, Ovulation And Basal Body Temperature. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing. Retrieved February 5, 2024, from
  6. Su, H., Yi, Y., Wei, T., Chang, T., & Cheng, C. (2017). Detection of ovulation, a review of currently available methods. Bioengineering & Translational Medicine, 2(3), 238–246.
  7. Wilcox, A. J., Dunson, D., & Baird, D. D. (2000). The timing of the “fertile window” in the menstrual cycle: day specific estimates from a prospective study. BMJ, 321(7271), 1259–1262.
HealthyToDos Inc.

HealthyToDos Inc.

Contact Me