How to Calculate Your Ovulation Period Using Your Menstrual Cycle

Updated on March 22, 2018

Ovulation is the phase in a woman's menstrual cycle when an unfertilized egg is released from the ovary and travels through the fallopian tubes and into the uterus. This is the stage of the menstrual cycle during which pregnancy can occur, if the released egg is fertilized by sperm.

I will explain how to use the length of your menstrual cycle to determine when you may be ovulating. I will also go through other ways of predicting and detecting ovulation, such as tracking your basal body temperature, cervical mucus, or purchasing an ovulation kit.

How Many Days After Your Period Do You Ovulate?

According to Ob/Gyn Dr. Tami Prince, MD, "Ovulation, which is the release of an egg from the ovary, usually occurs approximately 14 days prior to the next period." Count the number of days from the first day of your period to the day before you next period to determine the length of your cycle. Then subtract that number by 14 to determine what day after your period you will ovulate. If your average menstrual cycle is 30 days, you will ovulate 16 days after your period starts (30-14=16).

Important Note

Predicting ovulation is not foolproof, meaning there can be a margin of error in pinpointing the exact time of ovulation. Prediction can be off by at least 2 days.

An egg moves from the ovaries, through the fallopian tubes, and implants itself on the uterine wall.
An egg moves from the ovaries, through the fallopian tubes, and implants itself on the uterine wall.

How to Figure Out When You're Ovulating

1. Calculate the Length of Your Menstrual Cycle

  • Make a note of when your next period starts. This is the first day of your cycle.
  • Then, make note of when your period comes again in the following month. This is the beginning of the next cycle.
  • When you count the days in between, this gives you the length of your cycle.

Here's an example:

  • Period starts: January 1
  • Next period starts: January 31
  • Days in between (including January 1 but not January 31): 30 days. The menstrual cycle length, therefore, is 30.

You might want to do this for more than one month, as menstrual cycles can vary in length from month to month. This will also help you determine if you have an irregular cycle, in which you may skip periods for a month or more at a time. An irregular cycle will make predicting ovulation more difficult.

2. Calculate When Ovulation Starts

If you have a 30-day cycle, then ovulation will occur approximately on day 16 of your cycle. Ovulation occurs 10-14 days before your next period, so you will get an approximate ovulation date by subtracting 14 from the number of days in your cycle (eg. 30 days minus 14 = 16). This means that ovulation will occur 16 days after your period starts. If you have your period on January 1, ovulation will take place on January 17.

Use the chart below to determine when you're most likely to ovulate based on the length of your menstrual cycle. Find the length of your cycle in the left-hand column to see how many days after the beginning of your period you will ovulate and when you're at your most fertile.

When Does Ovulation Start?

Cycle Length (Days)
Ovulation Occurs
Most Fertile Days
22
Day 8
Days 6-8
23
Day 9
Days 7-9
24
Day 10
Days 8-10
25
Day 11
Days 9-11
26
Day 12
Days 10-12
27
Day 13
Days 11-13
28
Day 14
Days 12-14
29
Day 15
Days 13-15
30
Day 16
Days 14-16
31
Day 17
Days 15-17
32
Day 18
Days 16-18
33
Day 19
Days 17-19
34
Day 20
Days 18-20
35
Day 21
Days 19-21
36
Day 22
Days 20-22

How Do I Calculate My Fertile Window?

In a regular cycle, a woman's fertile window is the day of ovulation (usually 10 to 14 days before her period begins) and the five days before it. For an average 28-31 day cycle, the fertile window would be somewhere between days 14 and 17. Many doctors recommend having sex a few days before ovulation because sperm can live up to five days in a woman's reproductive tract and will already be present in the woman's body and be ready to meet the egg when it eventually releases.

What Are the Most Fertile Days After Your Period?

You are most fertile the day before ovulation and the day of ovulation. According to Dr. Hanh Cotrell from IVF Michigan, "Your fertile window is about a week prior to anticipated ovulation." So if you are trying to conceive, she recommends having sex every day to every other day during that week to give you the highest chance of pregnancy. You are not likely to get pregnant right after your period, although it can happen if you have an abnormally short menstrual cycle, in which ovulation could happen just a few days after your period ends.

Here's an example of your most fertile days for a 30-day cycle:

  • First day of period is January 1
  • Next period will begin on January 31 (30 days after January 1)
  • Ovulation will take place anywhere from January 17 to January 21 (10-14 days before your next period). These are your most fertile days.
  • You can have sex up to 5 days before this period and still get pregnant.

Can You Get Pregnant During the Luteal Phase?

It is very unlikely. The luteal phase occurs after ovulation when a woman's body stops releasing eggs, so it is impossible for sperm to find an egg to fertilize during this phase. However, an unfertilized egg survives up to 24 hours before dissolving, so if you have sex 12-24 hours after ovulation, there is still a small chance that you could get pregnant.

How Long Does the Luteal Phase Need to Be to Get Pregnant?

Your luteal phase length should be 12 to 16 days. It begins after ovulation and ends with the onset of your next period. During this time, progesterone rises and signals the growth and thickening of your uterine lining where the fertilized egg will implant itself and develop into a baby. If your luteal phase is shorter than 10 days, the fertilized egg will not be able to attach, and you will experience an early miscarriage.

For Women With Irregular Cycles

Keep in mind that women with irregular cycles may not be able to predict when ovulation happens because the length of their cycle varies month to month. It is possible for some women with irregular cycles to ovulate right after their period, though this is uncommon.

Other Ways to Detect or Predict Ovulation

Basal Body Temperature

Your basal body temperature (BBT) is your lowest temperature in a given 24-hour period, most likely early in the morning when you first wake up. Two or three days after you ovulate, your BBT should rise about 0.4 to 1.0 degrees Fahrenheit due to hormonal changes and stay that high during your period. To track your BBT, follow this step-by-step guide on how to chart your basal body temperature. Only tracking your BBT for one month will not help you predict ovulation as the temperature rise occurs after the fertile window. But by tracking your BBT over several months you can see patterns in your hormonal fluctuations, and then predict when you may be ovulating.

Ovulation Kit

An ovulation kit can be easily purchased and used to test your urine for elevated levels of luteinizing hormone just before ovulation. Ovulation kits can accurately predict ovulation 12 to 36 hours ahead of time, and unlike other methods, can predict ovulation during the first month of using them.

Monitoring Cervical Mucus

The consistency and color of vaginal discharge will change over the course of a month, due to hormonal fluctuations. Examining your cervical mucus can give you some indication of where you are in your cycle. Right before ovulation, your vaginal discharge will become clear and develop the consistency of a raw egg white. The last day you see mucus of this consistency is the day before or day of ovulation, when you're most fertile.

Cervical Mucus Stages

  • After Period (1-3 days): Dry
  • After Period (days 4-6): Sticky. You might find white globs.
  • Before Ovulation (days 7-9): Thick, white or cloudy discharge. Abundant.
  • During Ovulation (days 10-14): Clear, stretchy, and slippery, like raw egg white.
  • After Ovulation: Thick and creamy white or yellow.

Remember, you are most fertile during ovulation, so if you see clear slippery mucus similar to egg white, you are ovulating!

Signs and Symptoms of Ovulation

According to Dr. Kelly Kasper, an OBGYN from Indiana University Health, the extent of the following ovulation symptoms vary from woman to woman, but the majority of women will experience at least one of these symptoms as they approach their ovulation period.

  • As a woman nears ovulation, her body produces more estrogen causing the cervical mucus to become thick, clear, and stretchy, which helps the sperm swim to the egg that is released during ovulation.
  • Some women will experience breast tenderness or sensitivity due to the change in hormones before and after ovulation.
  • A woman may experience a heightened sense of smell in the second half of the cycle after ovulating in order to be more attracted to androsterone, a male pheromone.
  • A woman may experience light spotting or brown discharge, which is normal. When ovulation occurs, the follicle that surrounds and protects the egg can rupture and result in a small amount of bleeding. This blood turns brown as it gets older, hence why the vaginal discharge can be red to dark brown.
  • A woman may notice that her sex drive (libido) increases during ovulation.
  • Some women will complain of a mild ache or pain on one side of the pelvis during ovulation. This pain is known as Mittelschmerz, or "pain in the middle." When a follicle matures prior to releasing an egg, the follicle can contain a small amount of fluid like a cyst. When the egg is released, the follicle ruptures releasing the fluid causing an ache or pain. This discomfort can last for minutes or hours and often alternates sides each month. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can be used to help alleviate the pain. If the pain is persistent or severe, a woman should see a doctor.

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    • profile image

      Seema 5 hours ago

      My period start on 05/02/2018 and irregular period (30;24;36;38)my ovulation date please

    • profile image

      Lenda 12 hours ago

      I have my period on 14th of May, and now is 19th still have not my period yet and I feels, want to have my period but is not coming but, feels headache and vomiting

    • profile image

      Christalove 2 days ago

      I saw my period on the 11/6/2018 and it ended on the 15/6/2018 when will my ovulation start and end and when will I see my next menstruation please help me thanks you can inbox me

    • profile image

      mina 3 days ago

      I had my period on 4th May and had sex with my guy on 25th May

      .I have not see my period in the month of June ,could there b a possibility of me getting pregnant.plz I need an answer

    • profile image

      mabel 3 days ago

      pls I had my menses on 22 may and had sex on 5 June can I be pregnant

    • profile image

      Shainne 3 days ago

      Hello my name is Shainne I want to get pregnant but it's hard can anyone help me please

    • profile image

      Miss Nitt 3 days ago

      Pls help me determine who the father of my child is. There are two guys involved A & B.I saw my period on the 10th of may and i had sex on the 18th with guy A, on the 15th guy B and on the 16th i still had it with guy A. Now i'm pregnant and i don't know who the father is. P.S my circle is from 28- 32 days.

    • profile image

      Shainne 4 days ago

      Am trying to get pregnant an it's seem hard anyone can help me out please

    • profile image

      Nolwazi 7 days ago

      I started my period of the 02/,06/2018 and end them on the 06/06/2018 n I have sex on the 10 of June 2018 can I be pregnant?

    • profile image

      Nana 8 days ago

      I had last period started may9 and end on may15th.now June still haven't had a period am l pregnant ?

    • profile image

      Kay 9 days ago

      I had my period 13 of may have about 3 days after can get pregnant

    • profile image

      Abera 11 days ago

      1. What is the difference between period and mrndtrual cycle

      2. It is known that ovulation ocurrs from 12-14 days. Does it mean it counts these days from the first day of menstruation or lasting day of menstrustion?

      thank you in advance.

    • profile image

      Agatha 13 days ago

      pls advice me I need a baby boy and my cycles is 34 and 35,I'm confused, when am I suppose to have sex since my menses came out on 6th of June plss inbox 08063791699 thanks

    • profile image

      Cindy 2 weeks ago

      I got my periods on 1st_6thmay I then had sex on 8th may and took I pills same day, bt again same month I got periods again on 14th may . what could be the problem plz

    • profile image

      Beautiful 2 weeks ago

      I had my period on 15 May and it ended on 18May and I had unprotected sex on 19May and 26 May.can I get pregnant

    • profile image

      Mavis 2 weeks ago

      I had my period 10th May and had sex on the 15th . can i get pregnant ?

      Pls inbox me.

    • profile image

      Ama 2 weeks ago

      I saw my menstrution 22 may 2018 and I had a sex at 30 may 2018 , will I be pregnant

    • profile image

      Jane chioma chiok 3 weeks ago

      I am new here, and I need to know about my circles,I started menses on 18th of may, I have 25 or 26 days circle, please calculate for me

    • profile image

      Mary 3 weeks ago

      MY last period date was 17th may and i had i pill then again i Had unprotected on 28th sex with bf

    • profile image

      Emma 3 weeks ago

      I saw my period on May 18-22 and had sex on May 25, please I'm not ready to get pregnant yet please is it possible for me to get pregnant?

    • profile image

      Abibatu Bangura 3 weeks ago

      I say my period April on the 11 and nw May on the 26 so when is my ovulation period

    • profile image

      Joy 3 weeks ago

      i had my period on the 2-6 of may, had sex on the 11,will I get pregnant, plz inbox me

    • profile image

      florence 3 weeks ago

      i start my period on the 26-05-2018 and i haven't see them is the any thing wrong with me

    • profile image

      Adaeze 3 weeks ago

      i saw my period on 21st of may, pls when will i ovulate i want to get pregnant this month by his grace. My circle is 28 pls inbox me

    • profile image

      Blessing 3 weeks ago

      I had my period on the 17 to19 may, when am I ovulating and fertile?

    • profile image

      Salley theddues 3 weeks ago

      On April I saw my period on 1st and May 22 I saw my period and am looking for chances to get pregnant please tell me more am 32 years

    • profile image

      Sandra 3 weeks ago

      i had my menses on the 4th may and had unprotected sex on de 18th will i get pregnant?

    • profile image

      Mary 3 weeks ago

      my period starts on the 20-5-2018,so when is my ovulation

    • profile image

      chioma 3 weeks ago

      I started on 19 of may when will I ovulate

    • profile image

      Victoria 3 weeks ago

      I had my period on 4th of may 2018.please which day is my ovulation day please

    • profile image

      Trishila devi golap 3 weeks ago

      My period was 26 April 2018 I dnt know my ouvulation day plz help me

    • profile image

      Justina 3 weeks ago

      I had my period on 17th may and ended on 20th may .When do you I will ovulate.

    • profile image

      Ruth Ogbueh 4 weeks ago

      Am Not Seeing My Ovulation

    • profile image

      morayo 4 weeks ago

      i saw my period on may 11 and end it may 16.pls how can i calculate my ovulation.which day precisely is the ovulation period?

    • profile image

      Trustlin 5 weeks ago

      i saw my period on 13th dis month and end 16th.. is likely 2 b pregnant after sex on d 3rd day after period?

    • profile image

      Jennifer 5 weeks ago

      I saw my period on the 3rd of may which date will my ovulation will start

    • profile image

      Emily geba 5 weeks ago

      I had my period last may 5.i had contact last may 14...i can become pregnant?

    • profile image

      Busayo 5 weeks ago

      I saw my period on the 22nd of April and saw my period on 11th of may.... I am not expecting period.. How can I get pregnant after this period

    • profile image

      Moyinoluwa 5 weeks ago

      My last period was on 13th of April and I have sex on 21, 28 and 30. Can I get pregnant this month?

    • profile image

      ngozi 6 weeks ago

      when will I know when ovulating

    • profile image

      Sharon 6 weeks ago

      When can I get pregnant I started my period 23rd of April so when should be my ovulation prerio

    • profile image

      Stephanie 6 weeks ago

      I saw my period on 23/4/2018 ,and I had sex on 4/5/2018 and 6/5/2018 in the afternoon , is it possible for me to be pregnant ?

    • profile image

      Deborah 6 weeks ago

      I had my period on May 2nd when is my ovulation day

    • profile image

      grace 6 weeks ago

      I saw my period on 10th April and I had sex on 22 and also on 1 may,what are my chances of getting pregnant? I have irregular period

    • profile image

      Grande may 6 weeks ago

      I had my period in 19 April an it ended on 22. I had sex since that day.am I likely to get pregnant

    • profile image

      Triciank 6 weeks ago

      My period was on the 21st of April, when are my likely to ovulate

    • profile image

      ngooinfinity@gmail.com 7 weeks ago

      I Had My Mense On 30th April When Am I Expecting My Ovulation

    • profile image

      Esther 7 weeks ago

      I see my menses on the 7th of April and few weeks later i had sex and on the 28th also.please when is my ovulation period and my next menses going to come. My menstrual cycle is irregular.

    • profile image

      micah 7 weeks ago

      I saw my

      period on 19 of March when I'm expecting my ovulation.

    • profile image

      Praise 7 weeks ago

      Please I had my period on 1th and it end on 19th please when can I meet my husband for me to get pregnant

    • profile image

      vicky peters 2 months ago

      I see my period on 14 of April then when should I meet my husband in oder to get pregnant

    • profile image

      Vera 2 months ago

      I Had my menses on 12th march and i had sex on 29th march can i get pregnant pleas help me ?

    • profile image

      xpensive 2 months ago

      i saw my monthly cycle on the 12 April and it ended on the 14th April. my monthly cycle last for 24 days, please when is my ovulation and my fertile days? .

    • profile image

      Praise 2 months ago

      I need help,want to conceive my menses cycle is normally 30days but this month April came out 7th instead of 5 cause my last period was March 6th I don’t understand now it lasted for a month and 2days

    • profile image

      bandamaria355@gmail.com 2 months ago

      I had my menses on the 28th of march .am trying for a baby how soon can I ovulate.

    • profile image

      Caroline 2 months ago

      My last period was on 17th March my cycle is 28.I had sex on 30,31 and 1st of April .pls help me calculate my ovulation days

    • profile image

      Jumbi 2 months ago

      I had sex in the morning and my period started in the same night.

      Can i get pregnant?

      Exactly how many days before and after periods can i have sex and not get pregnant.

    • profile image

      yolanda 2 months ago

      i started my period on march 24th i only have it for 5 days can some one tell me when i start ovulate because ive been trying to concieve

    • profile image

      Faith 2 months ago

      I had unprotected sex 4 days before my period, can I possibly be pregnant?

    • profile image

      MayAnne11 2 months ago

      Nope, haven’t got a reply yet

    • profile image

      Pan 2 months ago

      Just wondering do you get a reply back haven't seen one as yet

    • profile image

      MayAnne11 2 months ago

      I’m pregnant. My LMP December 12th (7) days I had sex with #guy1 on December 30th and then had sex with #guy2 on January 11th who is likely the baby father?

      I’m 14 weeks and 5 days , my cycle is an average of 38days but I have irregular periods!?

    • profile image

      Maria 2 months ago

      Did u guys get any answers

    • profile image

      Ezisi splendo 3 months ago

      I saw my period on 29 February so wen is my ovulation

    • profile image

      Angelica Guzman 3 months ago

      I had unprotected sex the last day of my period. Took plan B morning pill 8 hours after sex.canI be pregnant?

    • profile image

      Jol 3 months ago

      My menses came on 14th march 2018 and I had sex unprotected sex on 18th march 2018 can I get pregnant

    • profile image

      Grace 3 months ago

      I got my period on the 4th of March and I had sex on the 12th of March. please can I get pregnant?

    • profile image

      Vuyisanani 3 months ago

      I had period on the 5 of March today is 21 of March when I use bathroom I see mucus and the blood .....I'm confuse plz help

    • profile image

      Pam 3 months ago

      Just wondering all you guys did you get answers

    • profile image

      Benedicta 3 months ago

      Hi,I had sex on the 2,8 and 9 march.and my last period started on the 18 February and last on the 22 February. But I haven't got my period on this month plz can it be possible that I'm pregnant?

    • profile image

      Asen 3 months ago

      Hey I had my periods on 7/3/2018

      When is my ovulation period ...n had intercourse yesterday is there a chance of pregnancy?

    • profile image

      lilah 3 months ago

      I have sex with my husband once after 1day and I seem to have late periods every month ....had my period last month on....Feb 18-21 when is the right time to have sex to get pregnant.

    • profile image

      Anonymous9421 3 months ago

      Started period on the 1st of the month had unprotected sex on thr 11th. What's the chance of pregnancy??

    • profile image

      Nini 3 months ago

      I had my period on the 26th Feb up to 8th March. So when is my ovulation days?

    • profile image

      usure 3 months ago

      I had my period on the 28/02/18 and had unprotected sex on the 10/03/18, can I get pregnant?

    • profile image

      Lerato 3 months ago

      Hey I had my periods on the 14th february and had sex on the 25th february.Am I pregnant?

    • profile image

      rain 3 months ago

      Hi

      i started my periods on 20/02/18 and they ended on 23/02/18 but unprotected sex on the 7/03/18, am i ovulating and can i get pregnant?

    • profile image

      Ruth kanyanta 3 months ago

      I have my period on 7 March so we can I ave an protected sex to have a baby

    • profile image

      precious 3 months ago

      I had my last period from 14 of Feb,to 18 of Feb,and I had unprotected sex on 22 of Feb too...can I get pregnant

    • profile image

      Boss 3 months ago

      my menses started 27th february 2018 when will be my ovulation time/period

    • profile image

      Milan 3 months ago

      I had my last periods on 16th and ends on 20th Feb,, I had sex on 2nd March, the periods are irregular and am not sure of my menstrual cycle days,, help me,is there any posibility that I'll be pregnant

    • profile image

      Gifty 3 months ago

      l had my menses on 10th Feb. 2018 and ended on 13the Feb. 2018 and l had unprotected sex on 27th Feb. 2018 and l took in postinor 2 after the sex can l get pregnant and my menstrual cycle is 25days pls help me.

    • profile image

      SH 3 months ago

      I saw my period on the 19th of February and finished on the 22nd. Are my safe to have unprotected sex today, 24th and 25th of February?

    • profile image

      Charu 3 months ago

      Hi,

      I had my last period on 11th feb and had unprotected sex twice on 17th with my fiancee. I am quite regular with my periods, can i get pregnant?

      Please help.

      Thanks

    • profile image

      Twin 3 months ago

      I just Had my daughter but I had My period 05/27/2017 & got pregnant in June but I was Dealing with my ex but I came on my cycle in March at the end of the month like I was Supposed to and I got Back with my current boyfriend we had intercourse and I got pregnant in June... My question is if there anyway my ex could be the father??? I doing The sibling dna test with my other kids so my current boyfriend doesn’t know until I actually know myself

    • profile image

      Wendy charle 3 months ago

      I had my period 2/1/2018. My period cycle is 24 days, I had unprotected sex 2/10/2018. Can I possible get pregnant?

    • profile image

      Ntomby 4 months ago

      I had my baby on the 8th of November, when did I get pregnant

    • profile image

      maira 4 months ago

      You guys can also use an app that tracks your period and tells your when you ovulate. I have been using it for years and helped me conceive.

    • profile image

      kiesha 4 months ago

      my first day of last period is on april 15, 2017 and my cycle is 27...is there a chance that i get pregnant to the man i had sex on may 4, 2017? plss i need your answer thanks

    • profile image

      hajara 4 months ago

      I had my last menses on the 18th of January. i had unprotected sex 7th of February am i likely to get pregnant?

    • profile image

      precious 4 months ago

      My period was on 15th of jan. 2017 and lasted 4 days. My cycle is 25 calculating from last period and had sex on 24th of jan. 2017, can i get pregnant

    • profile image

      cheryl boyle 4 months ago

      My last period was on the 31st of dec 2017 and lasted til the 4th of jan i had sex on the 17th of jan and period was due of the 24th im now 3 days late can you get pregnant so close to next period.Help x

    • profile image

      ryn emma 4 months ago

      how can i conceive twins i really i

      want to have them

    • Christina Guillor profile image

      Christina 5 months ago from Mesquite

      i started my period on nov 27th and ended on nov 30th .i had sex with guy #1 Nov 30th Around midnight. My period tracker said i would ovulate between 6th-12th.. I had sex with guy #2 on the 16th. I was suppose to start my period dec 25th and didn't. So i took a pregnancy test that night dec 25th came out positive. Who would you say could be the daddy?? I'm so confused.

    • profile image

      liz 5 months ago

      my brother is ofw last march 4 he's back here in the phil and her wife became pregnant and she gave birth a bb boy last nov. 22 i was expecting she gave birth on Dec . please help us

    • profile image

      Minnie 6 months ago

      I need so much help please

    • profile image

      Anonymous 7 months ago

      Its 34days now since my last period and i still did not get my period fir the new month

    • profile image

      habibzenaida01 8 months ago

      i had my cycle last 19 september 2017

      im irregular period when is my evolation when i have the best sex

    • profile image

      Madeleine 9 months ago

      I had a 27 day cycle,but did it on the 20 but since that I had no period,I'm 49 years of age,could it be that I'm pregnant

    • profile image

      Alecia 9 months ago

      My last cycle was on the 15 of july and ends on the 19 of july when am I supposed to expect my other cycle in August?

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