It’s no secret that pregnancy can be a tiring experience. But what you may not know is that the process of ovulation can also make you tired – many women report feeling fatigued in the days leading up to, and during ovulation.
The hormones that are released during ovulation can affect your energy levels and sleep quality, which can make you feel tired. However, this is not a universal symptom and some women don’t feel any different during ovulation. If you are feeling extra tired during ovulation, make sure to get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids.
Though it is absolutely normal, here’s what you need to know about how ovulation affects energy levels, and how you can get through the day even if you feel sleepy.
What is ovulation?
Ovulation is the release of an egg from one of the ovaries. It usually happens about halfway through the menstrual cycle as a result of hormonal shifts, after the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) has stimulated the growth of a follicle in the ovary. The egg travels down the fallopian tube, where it may be fertilized by sperm. If fertilization does not occur, progesterone levels drop and menstruation begins.
Here are some key points you should know about ovulation:
- Ovulation usually occurs around day 14 in the menstrual cycle.
- BBT fluctuates throughout the month and often rises before ovulation occurs.
- Menstrual flow typically decreases around days 10-12 preceding ovulation.
- The presence of cervical fluid (also known as cervical mucus) may indicate that ovulation has already occurred.
There are several signs that can indicate when ovulation is occurring or about to occur. These include changes in basal body temperature, cervical mucus, and ovarian pain (mittelschmerz). Some women also experience symptoms such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), bloating, breast tenderness, and moodiness around the time of ovulation.
To predict when ovulation will occur, it is helpful to track changes in these symptoms throughout several menstrual cycles. Basal body temperature usually rises slightly during ovulation and remains higher until menstruation begins; charting this change can help pinpoint when ovulation occurs. Changes in cervical mucus may also indicate impending ovulation; typically there is an increase in wetness and stretchiness just before ovulation, followed by a decrease after ovulation has occurred. Mittelschmerz may cause sharp pains on one side of the pelvis during or shortly before ovulation; this occurs as the follicle ruptures and releases the egg into the fallopian tube.
While some women have no symptoms at all around the time of ovulation, others find that paying attention to these changes helps them better understand their bodies and plan for fertility.
What are the signs and symptoms of ovulation?
Ovulation symptoms are changes that occur in a woman’s body around the time of ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary). These changes can be physical, mental/emotional, or behavioral. Common physical symptoms include breast tenderness, bloating, and increased vaginal discharge. Mental/emotional symptoms may include mood swings and increased libido. Behavioral changes may include increased levels of activity or energy.
Lutenizing hormone (LH) is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland that plays an important role in fertility and reproduction. LH surge precedes ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary) by 24-36 hours, causing the follicle to rupture and release the egg into the fallopian tube where it can be fertilized by sperm cells. LH levels remain elevated for 12-24 hours after ovulation has occurred.
Progesterone levels increase during pregnancy to help maintain uterine lining and support fetal development; they also rise just before ovulation as part of preparing for a possible pregnancy. High progesterone levels following implantation are thought to contribute to many early pregnancy symptoms such as fatigue, nausea/vomiting, breast tenderness, headaches, constipation, and irritability.
Basal body temperature (BBT) is the lowest temperature attained by the body during rest (usually during sleep). It is generally measured immediately after awakening and before any physical activity has been undertaken. BBT increases slightly just before ovulation and remains elevated until the start of menstruation.
How does ovulation affect your energy levels?
There are a few theories about how ovulation affects energy levels, but the most likely explanation is that it is due to changes in hormones. Progesterone levels increase during pregnancy to help maintain the uterine lining and support fetal development; they also rise just before ovulation as part of preparing for a possible pregnancy. High progesterone levels following implantation are thought to contribute to many early pregnancy symptoms such as fatigue, nausea/vomiting, breast tenderness, headaches, constipation, and irritability.
Another theory is that ovulation itself causes a temporary dip in energy levels due to the release of the egg and associated changes in hormones. Finally, some women find that their energy levels are affected by the changes in their menstrual cycle; for example, they may feel more energetic in the days leading up to ovulation and then more tired afterwards.
Here are some of the major factors that may impact your energy levels:
The Menstrual Cycle
The menstrual cycle is the time from the first day of your period to the first day of your next period. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days long. However, it’s normal for cycles to range from 21 to 45 days in length. The length of your cycle may change from month to month. On day one of your cycle, you have a period. This is when the lining of your uterus (womb) sheds and is purged from your body. You may have some cramps and bleeding during this time.
Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
Your basal body temperature (BBT) is your lowest body temperature in a 24-hour period. It’s usually measured first thing in the morning after you\’ve been sleeping for at least four hours. Your BBT changes throughout your menstrual cycle, rising slightly when you ovulate (release an egg). If you chart your BBT over several months, you’ll be able to see patterns that can help predict when you\’re going to ovulate. You can track your BBT with a special thermometer or by using a fertility tracking app on your phone.
Ovulation symptoms are changes that occur around the time you ovulate each month. These changes can be physical or mental/emotional changes, and they vary from woman to woman. Some women have no symptoms at all, while others may experience one or more of the following:
- breasts tenderness
- increased sex drive
- mood swings/irritability
- change in cervical mucus
Luteinizing hormone (LH) is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland that stimulates ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary). LH levels rise and fall throughout your menstrual cycle in a pattern that’s unique to you; this pattern can be used to predict when you’re going to ovulate. You can track your LH levels with a home ovulation test kit or by using a fertility tracking app on your phone.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone
Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland that regulates the development of eggs in the ovaries. FSH levels rise and fall throughout your menstrual cycle in a pattern that’s unique to you; this pattern can be used to predict when you’re going to ovulate. You can track your FSH levels with a home ovulation test kit or by using a fertility tracking app on your phone
Progesterone is a hormone produced by the corpus luteum (the remains of the follicle that released an egg during ovulation). Progesterone levels rise after ovulation and stay high until your next period if you’re not pregnant. If you are pregnant, progesterone levels continue to rise throughout pregnancy, peaking in week 10-12 then declining slightly for the rest of pregnancy.
How can you tell if you’re ovulating?
There are a few different ways to tell if you’re ovulating. One way is to track your menstural cycle. Another way is to take your basal body temperature (BBT). Your BBT is your temperature when you first wake up in the morning. If you see a pattern of a rise in temperature after several days of recording, this may be an indication that you’re ovulating. You may also notice some physical changes or symptoms, such as an increase in vaginal discharge, a change in cervical mucus, or breast tenderness. These are all common symptoms of ovulation. Additionally, you may experience what’s called “mittelschmerz,” which are sharp pains on one side of the lower abdomen that can occur during ovulation. Finally, your levels of lutenizing hormone (LH) and progesterone will rise just before ovulation and then drop back down again afterward. You can test for these hormones at home with an over-the-counter kit or at your doctor’s office.
There are several signs that indicate when a woman is ovulating:
- A change in basal body temperature: Your BBT usually rises about 0.4 to 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.2 to 0.6 degrees Celsius) when you ovulate. This rise in temperature usually happens on the day after you ovulate and lasts until you get your next period. To find out if this is happening to you, take your temperature first thing every morning with a special basal thermometer. You need to take your temperature at roughly the same time each day for several months so that you can see if there’s a pattern emerging.
- An increase in cervical mucus: Some women also notice an increase in cervical mucus around the time of ovulation. This mucus becomes thin and slippery, like raw egg whites, and makes it easier for sperm to travel through the cervix into the uterus. Cervical mucus changes are caused by hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle.
- Mittelschmerz: This means “middle pain” in German. Mittelschmerz happens when ovarian follicles rupture to release eggs during ovulation, and it usually causes mild pain or cramping on one side of the lower abdomen. Not all women experience mittelschmerz, but if you do feel it, it should only last for a day or two around mid-cycle. The best way to tell if you’re experiencing mittelschmerz is to keep track of when it occurs over several cycles using a fertility chart or app.
- A positive ovulation predictor kit result: Once released from their follicles during ovulation, eggs travel down one of the fallopian tubes towards the uterus where implantation will occur if fertilized by sperm along the way. Luteinizing hormone (LH) plays an important role in this process as its surge signals ovarian follicle rupture just before the release of mature eggs occurs Ovulation predictor kits test urine for LH surges so that timing intercourse around this window increases chances for conception.
What can you do to manage your energy levels during ovulation?
There are a few things you can do to manage your energy levels during ovulation.
Get plenty of sleep
First, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. This is important for overall health and well-being, but it can be especially helpful during times of hormonal changes. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your body won’t have the energy it needs to function properly. Poor sleep quality is something that impacts all of us, but if you take an energy hit during or right after ovulation, you may need to give your sleep habits more attention.
Exercise can help improve energy levels. Exercise helps to increase circulation and reduce stress, both of which can be helpful in managing fatigue. It’s important to find an exercise routine that works for you and to be consistent with it. There is a common misconception that you shouldn’t exercise during ovulation because it can reduce your chances of getting pregnant. However, there is no evidence to support this claim.
Eat a balanced diet
Eating a balanced diet is also important for managing energy levels. Make sure you’re eating enough fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods contain nutrients that are essential for good health. Eating smaller meals more often can help to improve energy levels by reducing the overall digestive workload. Avoiding processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of caffeine can also be helpful.
Stress can have a negative impact on your energy levels. If you’re feeling stressed, try to find ways to relax and reduce stress in your life. Yoga, meditation, and aromatherapy can all be helpful in managing stress.
What should you do if you think you’re experiencing ovulation symptoms?
If you think you may be experiencing ovulation symptoms, consider tracking your basal body temperature and luteinizing hormone levels. Look for common ovulation symptoms, such as a change in your cervical mucus or a rise in your basal body temperature. If you are tracking your basal body temperature, you should see a rise of 0.4-1.0 degrees Fahrenheit about 10-16 days after the first day of your last period.
Tracking can give you a better idea of what’s happening with your body and can help you to better understand your fertility. If you think you may be experiencing ovulation symptoms but are not sure, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or a board certified reproductive endocrinologist. They can help you to determine if you are ovulating and can offer guidance on how to manage any particular changes or symptoms you are experiencing.