BBT: basal body temp is the most accurate way to track your ovulation. They do sell BBT thermometers, but any digital or mercury will work. Do not trust ear thermometers – they can vary as much as 4 degrees – totally unreliable. Try to take your temp after 4 consecutive hours of sleep. Take it before you get up or really move at all. Basically, try to keep your heart rate from increasing at all – increased heart rate = increased temps. If you never get 4 hours of sleep, or sleep irregularly, you can still track your temps. Just not your basal temp. Simply relax for 15 minutes or so around the same time each day, then take the temp. It’s not as accurate, but I could still see a definite jump after Oing, even in the middle of the day. You may see a temp dip the morning that you will O, and you will see a temp spike the day after you O. The egg will die within 12 hours of Oing, so having sex is essential before O (It takes sperm approx. 5 hours to reach the egg). However, one method of TTC a girl requires having sex within12 hours after Oing (hostile cm will kill off male sperm). This method may decrease your chances of getting pg, as most sperm will die, and the timing is hard to catch.
Cervical Mucus/Fluid: This is the second most accurate. Most women produce various amounts/types of cm throughout their cy. In a typical cy, a woman is dry the few days after having AF. Then they will get a few days of sticky (looks and feels like rubber cement glue) cm, then a few days of creamy (consistency of lotion, not able to be stretched out at all.), and finally a few days of egg white cm (looks and feels like raw egg whites, stretches easily, clear and abundant). The ewcm is the most fertile, and can help sperm to survive as long as 5 days (6 for my best friend!). Within hours after Oing, the cm will dry up or turn to the sticky cm. This is a great way to confirm O before seeing your temp spike the next morning.
Cervical Position: This is an accurate way to detect O, but sometimes hard to decipher the results. Most women need a few months of practice before being able to interpret their own CP. The basics: Infertile mode is from AF to a few days before Oing. The cervix is low, hard (like the tip of your nose), and closed. As you near O day, it becomes higher, softer (like the softest part of your lips), and open (you may even be able to insert a fingertip – don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt.). Again, within hours of Oing, it will move back to low, hard, and closed. It’s another way of confirming O before the next morning’s temp spike.
Ovulation Prediction Kits: An accurate (albeit expensive) way to track O. The test will detect the LH surge just before you will O, so you have approx. 48 hours notice. Great for planning sex around O. Be sure to follow directions on the package – some require first morning urine, others require midday urine. You have your LH surge mid-afternoon, so some try to time the test around then. I always tested at 5 pm, and always got the positive result. They only give 5-7 tests, so start testing when you first notice creamy cm.
Saliva: This is a fun one for me! You can buy a mini microscope (brand names Donna or Lady Q) to track your hormones corresponding with O. You place a small amount of saliva on the microscope, let it dry, and then check the pattern. After AF, all you will see are pebble like patterns. As you near O day (3 days till O) you will start to notice the pebbles turning into eyelash type patters with little stems coming off of them. The day before and day of O, those eyelashes become large fern like patterns. Within hours of Oing, the pattern returns to pebbles. The hardest thing with this one is remembering to do it first thing in the morning before brushing teeth, eating or drinking anything at all. It is measuring the estrogen in your saliva, which becomes crystalline when it dries, hence the fern pattern. If you eat or drink, it wipes out the hormones, and introduces other substances that will mess up the results. (I once ate French fries and then did it – I had full ferning the day after my AF. The salt formed the same patterns as Oing would have.) I like to do it a few times a day once I think I am about to O – just be sure you wait two hours after eating or drinking before doing it. This method is best used in conjunction with one of the other above methods.
Mittelschmerz: Otherwise knows as O pains. This one is hit and miss, so best not to be relied upon alone. I almost always get it, but there have been one or two months when I didn’t feel a thing. This pain varies, depending on what’s currently going on. If you pay close attention, you’ll be able to tell exactly when you O! Before Oing, your ovaries swell tremendously with the growth of several eggs trying to release. This can lead to pain. This pain is usually a dull ache, similar to a backache. It sometimes throbs as well. This is due to the swelling. As you release the egg, you may feel a sharp pain, a stabbing jab of sorts. This is the egg actually breaking through the surface of the ovary. After Oing, you may feel crampy. This pain is due to released blood from the ovary (you’ll often also notice spotting after Oing) irritating the tissues in the abdomen. This can last for several minutes or hours.