Our precious egg, which is released at ovulation, only has a lifespan of 24 hours. For conception to occur, sperm need to be within the reproductive system during this critical window. Sperm can survive for around 3 – 5 days within the reproductive tract. This means that your ideal fertile window falls about 3 – 4 days prior to and on the day of ovulation.
So how do you know when you are ovulating? The classic ‘average’ timing of ovulation is day 14. However, very few of us are exactly ‘average’. We are all unique and timing of ovulation can vary significantly. It’s important to get in tune with your body, listen to the signs to discover your unique fertile window.
Some women display very strong signs leading up to and during ovulation such as mood changes, cravings and pain. For others, there may be very few obvious symptom.
Temperature charting and ovulation kits can be very useful. Another way you can help pin-point your most fertile days is to check your cervical position. This can also be a great way to get to know your body and better tune into your natural cues.
The position of your cervix naturally changes throughout your cycle and around ovulation. These changes either help encourage or help block sperm from entering the fallopian tubes to reach the egg. These changes can be felt and monitored through self-examination.
Performing a self-examination can take some practice. The easiest time is generally after a shower or even during a bath.
- Find a comfortable position and use this same position each time so you’re drawing the same comparisons each time
- Gently insert one or two fingers into your vagina and feel for the cervix, which is located towards the upper front
- Make note of the texture and tone
By doing this regularly you will start to notice the unique changes that correspond to the fertile and non-fertile phases in your cycle.
The menstrual bleeding phase
The cervix is positioned quite low during the bleeding phase of your cycle. You should be able to reach it easily and will notice a small opening, similar to your ear or nose. This low, open position allows blood to easily flow out. You will also notice that your cervix feels quite firm during this phase.
When bleeding stops
When you come to the end of your period your cervix will still be positioned low down and feel firm but it will now be closed.
Leading up to ovulation
As your reproductive system prepares for ovulation, your cervix will move higher up. The firm feeling will subside and you will notice that it feels softer, moister and slightly harder to reach at you near ovulation.
As you body prepares to release your egg at ovulation, your cervix will movie in the best position to facilitate fertilisation and conception. It will feel very soft, moist and open, more like your mouth and lips than your ear or nose during this phase. You may not even be able to reach it because it may be either so high that it is out of reach or the softness may blend in with the vagina walls. This is the ideal position for an easy passage for the sperm to the egg. So get those swimmers moving!
If the egg is fertilised
If the egg is not fertilised
The uterus will remain closed until the cycle begins again.