What is the Ovulation Method?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 07 April 2020
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The ovulation method is a method of family planning where a woman observes the time and consistency of her cervical mucus to determine when she is ovulating. Once she knows whether or not she is ovulating, she can use this method to try, or not, to conceive a child. For this reason, the ovulation method is both a method of birth control and a method of attempting to get pregnant.

When a woman is ovulating, or about to ovulate, the cervical mucus changes to a clear, slippery consistency for a few days. Prior to this change, the cervical mucus will become slightly thinner, but this can be more difficult to determine. These changes can easily be observed by most women once they know what to look for.

Carefully observing the changes in the cervical mucus is the sole way to use the ovulation method, and it is important to be vigilant. If one is using the ovulation method to try to prevent pregnancy, sexual intercourse should stop as soon as one observes changes, and should not resume until approximately two days after everything returns to normal. This method is sometimes combined with the Basal body temperature method, where the temperature is taken every day immediately upon waking, for even greater effectiveness.


Keep in mind that the ovulation method of birth control should only be used by people who are in committed, monogamous relationships. Unlike condoms, it obviously does not protect against STDs, and though it is a relatively effective method of birth control, it is not foolproof. The potential for pregnancy certainly still exists if one is only using ovulation tracking as birth control, because it is possible to get pregnant even if one has sex a few days before one begins to ovulate.

The ovulation method is a very effective fertility method, however. A woman who has sex while she is ovulating has the highest chances of getting pregnant, because this is the time of the month when she is most fertile. Again, this method can also work very well when combined with the body temperature method. Those couples who are interested in trying the ovulation method, either for birth control or when attempting to get pregnant, might want to discuss it with a doctor. A doctor can provide even more specific instruction for monitoring changes in the cervical mucus and in the body, which can help to increase effectiveness when using this method.


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