Increased libido or sexual desire as a symptom of ovulation
The increase in certain hormones in the lead-up to ovulation often triggers higher-than-usual sexual desire in women. The hormones which can influence sexual desire are estrogen, testosterone, and luteinizing hormone.
If you’re planning to get pregnant, this pre-ovulation symptom of increased female libido is good news because you’re more likely to get pregnant if you have sex as often as possible in the 4 to 5 days leading up to ovulation.
There are many anecdotal reports from women who believe that they look more sexually attractive in the lead-up to ovulation, too. Estrogen can deliver plenty of side effects that may contribute to this. Some women say they put more effort into their appearance during their most fertile phase.
Change in cervical mucus as an ovulation symptom
The volume of cervical mucus starts to increase as ovulation gets closer. Shortly after menstruation, cervical mucus may be sparse. It will slowly increase in volume as the days progress. At first, it will have a slightly sticky consistency and be a white or cloudy color.
In the days just before ovulation, the rise in estrogen causes an increase in cervical mucus. The mucus at this time is usually fairly clear and the texture becomes more slippery and stretchy. It is often compared to raw egg-white in color and consistency.
The cervical mucus produced in the period before and during ovulation is designed to allow sperm to move freely through the cervix and into the fallopian tubes and to help its survival until the egg is released.
A change in the position and firmness of the cervix as an ovulation symptom
Supporters of this method suggest checking the cervix once a day at around the same time. The cervix is usually smooth and round and slightly firmer than the vagina. It feels like the tip of your nose and is located at the back and top of the vagina. The cervix is more easily checked with one or two clean fingers while in a squatting position.
When ovulation is close, the cervix will become higher. It can become more difficult to reach. It will generally feel softer and more open. Many women don’t feel comfortable with checking the state of their own cervix, so this is an ovulation symptom that is not commonly self-assessed.
Tender breasts as an ovulation symptom
The effects of estrogen diminish significantly after ovulation; however, they may recur in the lead-up to menstruation. If you experience breast tenderness mid-cycle, it's worth taking note of this as an ovulation symptom. Note when it occurs and to what extent so that you can use it along with the other ovulation symptoms as a guide to help you recognize your most fertile period.
Heightened senses of smell and taste as an ovulation symptom
Abdominal cramps (Mittelschmerz) as an ovulation symptom
The pain can last from a few minutes to a few hours. Some women report pain on both sides of the abdomen and other women report that the pain moves from side to side each month.
Several possible explanations for the ovulation symptoms of Mittelschmerz include:
- The growth of follicles in the ovaries prior to ovulation.
- The rupture of the ovarian follicle occurs each month at ovulation.
- Muscular contractions of the fallopian tube and the ovaries after ovulation.
Rise in basal body temperature as an ovulation symptom
At this time, most women will experience a rise in their resting body temperature of just less than one half degree Fahrenheit. Often, their temperature will stay a little warmer for the rest of the month.
Basal body temperature is best measured first thing in the morning, before you get out of bed, using an accurate thermometer and recording your temperature on a chart each day.
The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.