Recognising the signs of ovulation

Ovulation is the process of hormonal changes causing the ovaries to release an egg. This happens once every menstrual cycle and ovulation occurs twelve to sixteen days before menstruation. The precise day of ovulation depends on how long the menstrual cycle is. Recognising the signs of ovulation help you increase your chances of conception.

3 min read

Recognising the signs of ovulation

There are signs that you're ovulating but it's not always easy to spot and most women don't know when they're ovulating. You can learn about different signs and symptoms here.
Sensitive breasts

A sign of ovulation is sensitive and tender breasts or nipples. This is because the body produces more oestrogen when the body prepares for ovulation.


When your body produces more oestrogen the mucous at the cervix becomes more elastic and clear like egg white. You might feel like you have more discharge than usual.

You can check the consistency of the discharge yourself. If it's transparent, creamy and more viscous than usual it's probably time for ovulation. The function of the discharge is to help the sperm reach the egg more easily.

Mittelschmerz and lower abdominal pain

Some women feel ovulation as a pain in the lower part of their stomach and back, and some feel pain on one side of their vulva. This feeling is called Mittelschmerz and can last for a few minutes to a few hours. The pain is probably due to the slight vaginal bleeding in the ovaries when the egg is released. You may see a small amount of blood in your discharge which is a sign of ovulation.

Lots of women may also feel a slight pain in the pelvis or abdomen during the days around ovulation. The pain subsides when the ovaries start to release an egg. This pain can also be felt in the lower abdomen and is often on only one side. This means that the egg is released from one of the two ovaries.

Body temperature

When the egg is released your body temperature falls to the lowest temperature throughout your menstrual cycle. There is an increase in temperature of 0.3-0.5 degrees the day after ovulation. Take your temperature regularly at the same time every day and write the result down to keep an eye on ovulation.

Changes in the cervix

There is another ovulation sign that you can learn to recognise with a bit of practice. The cervix is usually firm and closed, but when you're near ovulation it changes position and moves higher up. Feel careful just before ovulation the cervix is softer and more tender and feels sensitive like your lips. After ovulation, it becomes firmer again and feels like your nose.

Feeling sick

Feeling sick is a well-known early pregnancy symptom. It's not a usual sign of ovulation, but also not unusual. Some women feel sick when they ovulate.

Your sense of smell can also become stronger

Your sense of smell can be more sensitive in the second half of your menstrual cycle. This can be a sign of ovulation. Your body is carrying out a biological reset so you are more attracted to the male's hormones.

Preggers. The Service does not constitute, and is not intended to replace any, medical advice. We disclaim any liability for the decisions you make based on this information and content, which is provided to you on a general information basis only. If you have any healthcare concerns, e.g. about your pregnancy or child, please consult with your doctor, midwife or other professional healthcare provider.

Swedish Healthcare Guide 1177

Reviewed by Swedish Healthcare Guide 1177

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