You may not realize this, but your body can “tell” you when it is most fertile. Little clues can let you know when ovulation is about to occur. One of the simplest indicators of ovulation is the quantity and consistency of cervical mucus. The cervical mucus actually becomes thinner and stringy around the time of ovulation. It does this in order to allow easy passage of sperm through the cervix and then to the fallopian tubes. The mucus thins in response to high levels of estrogen, which are present immediately prior to ovulation.
With this in mind, you can use cervical mucus as another tool to predict the timing of intercourse. In the first half of the cycle, the mucus will be present in small quantities, however, around ovulation (typically 14 days prior to the beginning of the next cycle) the mucus will significantly increase in quantity and elasticity. You may have heard the term “egg white cervical mucus” this refers to the consistency of the mucus right before ovulation. It is much like a raw egg white because it is stretchy, thin, and clear. You should be able to stretch the mucus between your thumb and index finger at this time. Once you detect mucus of this consistency, you can expect ovulation to occur within 1-2 days. You should have intercourse the day you detect mucus of this consistency and at least the following day to optimize your chance of pregnancy. After ovulation, you may notice that the mucus becomes clumpy, thickened, and opaque. It is no longer thin and stretchy. This is an indicator that ovulation has already taken place.
Another body sign that may indicate impending ovulation is cramping. Some women say they can actually feel the egg being released from the ovary. Cramping can manifest itself as either sharp or dull abdominal pain or twinge. It usually lasts just a few days or less.
Additional body signs may include nausea and an increase in libido around the time of ovulation. You may get only one or even none of these signs, as they manifest differently from one woman to another. However, they can act as “clues” in combination with basal body temperature and urine monitoring to estimate your most fertile time.