Ovulation Signs Postpartum and on Birth Control

Ever peeked at a pregnancy test after a passionate night, only to be met with the glaring white negative? While breastfeeding offers amazing benefits for both you and your little one, it can also play hide-and-seek with your fertility. But what if you could crack the code and become an ovulation detective, all while using birth control? Intrigued? Dive in and discover the secret signs your body might be sending, even while on birth control and breastfeeding!


Ovulation is a period in the menstrual cycle when your ovary sets free an egg (ovum). Once an egg leaves your ovary, it proceeds down your fallopian tube where it waits for fertilization.

Ovulation typically occurs around the middle of a woman’s menstrual cycle, usually between days 11 and 21 in a 28-day cycle. During ovulation, an egg is released from one of the ovaries, making its way down the fallopian tube, where it can be fertilized by sperm if intercourse occurs.

What Is Ovulation?

When does ovulation occur?

The procedure of ovulation starts when your hypothalamus sets free gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). GnRH causes your pituitary gland to secrete follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Once ovulation begins, the egg travels to the fallopian tube. It’s in your fallopian tube that the egg meets sperm for fertilization. If conception occurs, the fertilized egg travels towards your uterus. In an average 28-day menstrual cycle, ovulation occurs about 14 days before the start of the next menstrual period. The accurate duration varies according to your cycle length. An egg just lives 12 to 24 hours after ovulation. If sperm doesn’t fertilize the egg, your body utilizes it. Unlike your egg, sperm can survive for 5 days in the body.

Ovulation Tracking Methods

Pinpointing ovulation can be difficult. There are various ways people use to track their menstrual cycle and evaluate when ovulation begins.

  • Menstrual cycle: Although a “normal” cycle is between 21 and 35 days, it means ovulation is unique to the menstrual cycle.  
  • Calendar method: People who use the calendar method for prediction of ovulation, estimate six months of menstrual cycles to control when they’re fertile. 
  • Cervical mucus: Cervical mucus is a vaginal fluid produced by your cervix. Cervical mucus is thick, white, and dry before ovulation. 
  • Basal body temperature:  Body temperature rises slightly during ovulation. Mark temperature every morning using a digital thermometer used specifically for the measurement of BBT.
  • Ovulation kits: They work by detecting LH in your pee. LH is the hormone that rises before ovulation. A positive result indicates you’re about to ovulate.

Is pain during ovulation normal?

Yes, many people undergo ovulation pain. Ovulation pain is cramping or pelvic pain which happens around ovulation. You feel pain in your lower abdomen and pelvis, in the middle or on one side. It can also cause light bleeding.

Signs Of Ovulation While On Birth Control

Do you still ovulate if you’re on birth control?

Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) are highly effective at preventing pregnancy, primarily by stopping ovulation. They boast a success rate of around 95%, meaning when taken perfectly, only about 5 out of every 100 women will get pregnant each year. However, no method is foolproof. In a small percentage of cases, ovulation can still occur even while taking birth control pills. This means it’s possible to experience ovulation symptoms despite being on birth control.

Process of birth control pills not getting you pregnant

Birth control pills are champions at preventing pregnancy, and their secret weapon is controlling ovulation, the release of an egg from the ovary. But how exactly do these tiny tablets work their magic?

It all boils down to hormones. Our bodies naturally produce estrogen and progestin, but birth control pills introduce a carefully calibrated dose of these same hormones. This disrupts the body’s natural hormonal rhythm, essentially tricking the ovaries into thinking ovulation has already happened. With no egg released, there’s nothing for sperm to fertilize, effectively preventing pregnancy.

Here’s a breakdown of the tag team:

Estrogen: This hormone plays a key role in stimulating egg development. By introducing extra estrogen, birth control pills suppress the surge of natural estrogen needed for ovulation to occur.
Progestin: Mimicking the hormone produced after ovulation, the progestin in birth control pills further thickens the cervical mucus, creating a sticky barrier that makes it difficult for sperm to reach the egg.

Think of it like throwing a wrench into the finely tuned machinery of ovulation. The extra hormones from the pill disrupt the delicate hormonal dance, leaving no egg to be released and preventing a possible pregnancy.

However, it’s important to remember that for birth control pills to be most effective, consistency is key. Missing pills can disrupt the hormonal balance and create a window for ovulation to occur.

If you feel tender breasts, bloating, minor pelvic or abdominal pain, light bleeding, or changes in cervical position. These can be harmless side effects of the pill, it’s important to be aware of your body. If you experience any of these changes, especially if they’re persistent or concerning, visit your doctor to rule out any underlying issues.

However, if pregnancy is suspected despite contraceptive measures, particularly while breastfeeding, the plot thickens with a unique set of considerations. Let’s explore the intricacies of detecting pregnancy amidst the rhythms of nursing, where the body’s whispers become intertwined with the duties of motherhood.

Breastfeeding and Ovulation

Breastfeeding offers a multitude of benefits for both you and your baby. Interestingly, it can also play a role in your fertility. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know:

  • Natural Birth Control: Exclusively breastfeeding your baby for the first six months can act as a natural form of birth control. This is because breastfeeding prompts your body to produce high levels of prolactin, a hormone that suppresses the production of hormones needed for ovulation.

  • Unreliable Alone: While breastfeeding can delay ovulation, it’s not a foolproof method of birth control. Prolactin levels can decrease sooner than expected, and breastfeeding practices are rarely exclusive for the full six months.

  • Doctor’s Recommendation: Due to these uncertainties, it’s not recommended to solely rely on breastfeeding to prevent pregnancy. Doctors advise using additional forms of birth control during this period, especially if you’re not exclusively breastfeeding or if your baby is starting solids before six months.

  • Spacing Pregnancies: Ideally, waiting at least two years after giving birth before getting pregnant again is recommended for optimal maternal health.

6 Signs Of Ovulation After Birth (While Breast Feeding)

Signs of Ovulation While Breastfeeding 

Unlike a typical menstrual cycle, breastfeeding can mask or alter ovulation signs, leaving you wondering – am I fertile? Don’t worry, mama! Your body still has ways to communicate its fertile window. Here are 6 signs to watch for:

  1. The Return of Your Period: This is a clear indicator of returning fertility. If you get your period and haven’t started using birth control again, you can become pregnant.

  2. Changes in Cervical Mucus: Pay attention to vaginal discharge. If it becomes lighter, clearer, and wetter than usual, it could signal ovulation.

  3. Basal Body Temperature Shift: If you used basal body temperature tracking before pregnancy, you might find it helpful again. A slight but sustained rise in temperature can indicate ovulation.

  4. Ovulation Cramping: Some women experience cramps around ovulation. While cramps can also occur during breastfeeding due to hormonal fluctuations, ovulation cramps typically subside once the egg is released.

  5. Increased Libido: A surge in estrogen can lead to a higher sex drive, which can coincide with ovulation.

  6. Breast Tenderness: Similar to cramps, breast tenderness can be a part of both your menstrual cycle and breastfeeding. However, ovulation-related tenderness might feel different. If the pain is severe or doesn’t go away, consult your doctor.

Breastfeeding and ovulation can feel like a complex puzzle, but with the knowledge you’ve gained about subtle signs and birth control options, you’re well on your way to becoming a detective of your own fertility. Whether you’re using birth control or breastfeeding, understanding your body’s unique signals empowers you to make informed decisions about your health and family planning.

Remember, your doctor is your partner in this journey. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and discuss any concerns you might have. With open communication and a bit of detective work, you can navigate this exciting chapter with confidence!


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