Natural Ways To Track Ovulation

Ovulation is everything when it comes to getting pregnant or preventing pregnancy. I feel like we were taught that anytime you have sex you are at risk for pregnancy, which really isn’t true. There is a specific window of time during your cycle when you can get pregnant, and it’s certainly not everyday! It’s more like a 7 day window, tops. This small window of time includes up to 5 days before you ovulate and 1-2 days after ovulation. That being said, if you don’t know when you ovulate or you have somewhat of an irregular cycle, it can be hard to time when to have sex to get pregnant or when not to have sex to reduce your chance of getting pregnant. This is why it is important to understand the clues your body gives you to let you know where you are at in your cycle. 

Below lists natural ways to track ovulation:

Body temperature

An uptick in your resting body temperature can be a sign of ovulation. The best way to use this method is to check your temperature first thing in the morning when you wake up and to track your temperature everyday. If you notice a half degree to a full degree increase this can be a sign of ovulation because your body temperature will slightly rise at ovulation and continue to be raised until your period.

This isn’t the best method to track ovulation because it doesn’t give you any indication of when you are going to ovulate, and you can get pregnant if you had sex up to 5 days before ovulation. That being said, I’ve had patients who used this method by itself to get pregnant and they got pregnant very quickly. 

LH strips

This tends to be more for women who are trying to get pregnant, but it could be used for those who don’t want to become pregnant as well. First of all, what is “LH?” LH stands for luteinizing hormone, and it is the hormone that triggers the release of an egg from a follicle (aka it triggers ovulation). LH increases as you get closer to ovulation, and is at it’s highest point 24-36 hours before ovulation. There are strips you can buy that measure LH from the urine, and an “LH surge” is when you get a dark line on the strip.

It is important to note that ovulation happens 24-36 hours AFTER the LH surge. So if you are trying not to get pregnant, don’t have sex for at least 2 days after you get a positive LH surge. If you want to get pregnant, then you want to start having sex now and for the next couple of days. Sperm can live in the vagina for up to 5 days, which is why it is a good idea to have sex a few days before ovulation if you are trying to get pregnant – the opposite is true if you don’t want to get pregnant.


Did you know that it is normal to have vaginal discharge? If you didn’t know that, don’t worry because the majority of women don’t know that it is normal! It is very normal for women to have vaginal discharge, and the type of discharge you have will change during the different stages of your cycle. Right before ovulation discharge can become more pronounced and more wet-like, and at ovulation discharge is an egg white like consistency. Tracking vaginal discharge is one of the best ways to track your cycle because it gives you info before ovulation happens.

Pelvic pain or spotting

Some women can actually feel ovulation, which tends to present as pain and/or cramping in the lower abdomen. Some women may have spotting in addition to the slight amount of pain, which can be another sign of ovulation.

Main take aways…

Use one or all of the above clues from your body to track ovulation. You can use these clues if you want to get pregnant, or because you want to avoid getting pregnant, or just because your want to be more in tune with your body.

About the author: Sarah-Kate Rems is an Ivy-league trained Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner licensed in California with an expertise in women’s health and preventative healthcare. She considers nutrition and exercise to be the basis of well-being and is a strong advocate for daily physical activity and maintaining a healthy diet. Sarah-Kate is also a co-founder of The Mindful Tech Lab

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