Every 28 days or so, your body goes through a pretty impressive series of hormonal events to trigger the release of a single egg. Fortunately, you can monitor the several ways your body tells you that the great event will happen soon. Read on!
The first half
The average menstrual cycle lasts around 28 days with ovulation taking place around cycle day 14.
This is simply an average, though -- so if you've noticed that you get your period every 24 days, or every 35, you will want to ignore the online ovulation calendars and listen to your body instead.
A new cycle starts on the first day of your period, so you can chalk up the first four to seven days as just that -- a period. After your flow has slowed and the fun ends, you can begin monitoring your cervical fluid.
Otherwise known by the less-attractive term cervical mucus, your cervix gives you valuable clues throughout the month as to what is transpiring in your ovaries. Checking its consistency can be as easy as observing it on your toilet paper after you use the restroom, or as involved as putting a freshly washed thumb and finger in your vagina, swirling it around, and seeing what happens when you pull them out -- and apart.
Sticky or tacky cervical fluid that has no stretch to it is not the good stuff. What you want to look for is super slick, super stretchy cervical fluid. Otherwise known as "egg white" cervical fluid, this is your body's way of saying, "Hey! I'm paving the way for some sperm activity! Help me out here!"
In addition to the consistency of your cervical fluid, your cervix itself changes position in response to your hormonal changes. After your period ends, your cervix is lower and easier to feel. It is often firm and if you're adventurous enough, you can gently feel around the cervical opening -- at this time, it will be tightly closed.
As ovulation approaches, your cervix moves up, softens and the opening becomes a bit larger.
If you're trying to conceive, these cervical changes will tell you when to get busy in the bedroom. They usually start a few days before ovulation and you'll want a good population of healthy sperm waiting for your egg when it does pop out, so don't hesitate to take advantage of your body's cues when they happen.