Pregnancy Planning: How to Calculate Ovulation

May 7th 2016

Reliably calculating your ovulation window can be tricky, because every woman is different. Spend some time tracking changes in your cervix and temperature, and pay attention to your cycle length to help increase your chances of successful conception.

Do the Math

If you have regular cycles, you can estimate your ovulation by looking at the length of your cycle. Most women ovulate about halfway through their menstrual cycle, which is why many people believe women ovulate 14 days after their last period ended. That number is based on the average 28-day cycle. If your cycle is longer or shorter, simply determine the halfway point.

Check Your Temperature

Women's basal body temperatures fluctuate throughout their menstrual cycles as different hormones play a more or less prominent role, with the lowest temperature typically occurring during menstruation. Your body temperature then increases so your temperature is higher during the latter half of the month. These temperature changes are subtle and do not show up on an average thermometer, so you need to purchase a special basal body thermometer and use it.

Cervical Changes

When you ovulate, your cervix changes a bit to prepare for the potential pregnancy. Some women are able to feel these changes with their fingers, although others may not notice any significant changes. Before you ovulate, your cervix is lower and harder, while during and after ovulation, it may feel softer and higher up. This is because it opens a little to let sperm enter.

Cervical mucus is also a fairly reliable indicator for most women, and it does not require a self exam. Simply check your underwear for increased quantities and any changes in consistency, which typically occur during your fertile window.

Get To Know Your Body

While these symptoms and methods are fairly reliable indicators of ovulation in most women, every woman's body is different. You may not notice some indicators, while ones that are usually subtle may be more obvious to you. It is important to spend a few months tracking your cycles, including writing down all symptoms. Try to record even mild ones, such as a slight twinge of pain in your abdomen, which about 20 percent of women feel when they ovulate. Go back over your ovulation calendar to look for common signs.


Planning a pregnancy and trying to conceive can be an exciting time, but each cycle without a positive pregnancy test can lead to frustration and disappointment. Maximize your chances of conception during any particular cycle by knowing when you ovulate. This helps you try to conceive during your fertile window, which lasts from approximately one day before ovulation to about one day after. Ovulation varies from woman to woman, but there are some ways to help calculate your most fertile times.

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