Sign 1: You have a heightened sense of smell
Is your partner’s postworkout body odor bothering you more than usual? It may not be his fault. A recent study revealed that a woman’s sense of smell becomes more sensitive in the latter half of a normal menstruation cycle, as you near ovulation (quick refresher: ovulation = best time for trying to conceive). Women in this fertile phase are more likely to be attracted to male pheromone androstenone, which contributes to that strong BO smell.
Sign 2: Your cervical mucus changes consistency
When you’re not ovulating, your discharge may appear sticky, cloudy or even go undetected. But as you near ovulation, your body produces more estrogen, causing your cervical mucus to become stretchy and clear, like egg whites. Keep an eye on your discharge (yes, you’ll have to get used to touching and examining it!), and when you feel that change in consistency, it’s a good indicator you’re at peak fertility. FYI: Your cervix changes too and will become higher, softer and more open during ovulation. While you can check your cervix along with your mucus, it’s a little harder and definitely takes some practice to feel the difference.
Sign 3: You’re feeling (and looking) extra sexy
Mother Nature’s pretty smart. Right around the time you’re ovulating, you might notice your lips are fuller (thanks to increased estrogen), your pupils are dilated and your skin feels softer. These subtle but sexy symptoms not only put you in the mood for babymaking, but your partner’s more drawn to you too. A recent study says that men find women more attractive if they’re nearing ovulation in their monthly cycle, when slight changes in a woman’s voice happen.
Sign 4: Your saliva changes
It may seem weird, but when you’re about to ovulate, a ferning pattern (like frost on a windowpane) appears in your saliva. That’s a sign your body has had a surge of luteinizing hormones, which occurs right before ovulation. Spotting this pattern requires a fertility microscope and a bit of detective work, but it’s a fun, noninvasive way to figure out when you’re about to ovulate.
Sign 5: Your breasts are more sensitive
You know those days when your boobs feel heavy or achy and all you want to do is come home and rip your bra off? That sensitive time of the month when your breasts and nipples become tender is due to a rush of hormones entering your body right before and after you ovulate.
Your General Fertility Checklist: A few simple signs you might be primed for babymaking.
Clockwork-like menstrual cycle
Irregular periods can make getting pregnant challenging, and make it hard to track your peak time for ovulating, which is 14 days before the first day of your next period. If your cycles have been consistent, you’ll likely have a much easier time charting your fertile days to increase your odds of making a baby.
Pearly whites and healthy gums
Research shows women with gum disease take longer to conceive. So following your dentist’s orders to floss daily and brush twice a day could have a positive effect on your fertility odds. Even better, good dental hygiene doesn’t just put you one step closer to getting pregnant, it can also reduce your risk of a miscarriage.
We probably don’t have to tell you that your body should be in tip-top shape in order to conceive. And certain fruits and veggies packed with vitamins and nutrients like zinc, fiber, folate and calcium can help you get there. So if you’ve been filling your salad bowl with kale, avocado and plant-based proteins, like beans, and snacking on antioxidant-filled berries, your overall fertility has probably gotten a boost.
Normal Body Mass Index (BMI)
Being underweight or overweight can affect your chances of conception. A healthy BMI range is from 18.5 to 24.9. A lower BMI can lead to hormonal imbalances that can affect ovulation, making conception take four times as long. If you’re overweight, you might have trouble menstruating, because of insulin resistance. So if your BMI falls out of that range, talk to your doctor about a healthy way to gain or lose the weight and get your fertility back on track.
Plus, more from The Bump: Fertility Tricks That Actually Worked