7 Ways to Increase (or Encourage) Ovulation Naturally
Planning a pregnancy can be stressful enough – and it’s even more stressful when it feels like your body just refuses to ovulate!
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about increasing your chances of ovulation, the importance of balancing your hormones, and science-backed methods for monitoring and tracking ovulation.
Can you increase ovulation naturally?
Unfortunately, there is not a single solution for increasing ovulation naturally. However, there are several methods that may help you to balance your hormones, which in turn helps to increase your odds of ovulation. This includes getting plenty of sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and minimizing stress levels. Certain supplements, such as folates, omega-3 fatty acids, and iron may also help.
In cases where ovulation still does not occur despite making certain lifestyle changes, it may be necessary to seek further medical assistance.
What does it mean to increase ovulation?
When we think about “increasing ovulation”, there are two different ways to think about it. On one hand, ovulation can be induced or “triggered” to occur when it has previously been irregular or absent. On the other hand, many women seek to extend the amount of time that they are able to ovulate.
Here’s a quick look at both scenarios.
Induce or trigger ovulation
Finding ways to induce or trigger ovulation is common in women who are experiencing amenorrhea (the absence of menstruation and ovulation) or anovulation (the presence of menstruation but absence of ovulation). This could be due to a number of underlying causes including:
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrom (PCOS)
- Low luteinizing hormone (LH) or follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) levels
- Thyroid disease
- Eating disorders
- Extreme weight loss/gain
- Excessive exercising
Oftentimes, the ultimate goal of inducing ovulation is to plan a pregnancy. However, many women also just simply want to regulate their cycle, hormones, and related symptoms. Although it may take some time, building a consistently healthy lifestyle has been scientifically proven to help regulate cycles and induce ovulation. However, this is not always the case and some women may need to undergo fertility treatments in order to become pregnant.
Extend, prolong, or stabilize
As the average age of birthing mothers continues to rise, many women are seeking to prolong the amount of time that they are regularly ovulating. And even though you won’t be able to fend off menopause forever, there are still certain lifestyle factors that may serve to delay the onset of menopause.
For example, research shows that women who do not smoke tend to enter menopause later than women who do smoke. Additionally, women who engage in regular light physical activity are also more likely to enter menopause at a later age. Other studies show that diets high in fruits and proteins can also help to delay menopause.
That being said, the best way to keep your hormones balanced for the long term is to simply take care of your body. That means giving yourself plenty of sleep, exercise, and healthy foods, while also limiting things like alcohol, tobacco, and stress. You should also make sure to have regular checkups with your doctor.
How to increase (or induce) ovulation naturally
Refine your sleep habits
Getting a good night’s sleep is paramount to balancing your hormones and increasing your chances of ovulation. In fact, one study found that follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) levels were 20% higher in women who slept an average of 7-9 hours each night, compared to women who regularly slept for shorter blocks of time. Sleep is also essential for stress management and emotional regulation.
If you find yourself struggling to sleep, consider refining your sleep habits by:
- Waking up and going to bed at the same time each day.
- Avoiding caffeinated beverages after lunchtime.
- Making sure that your bedroom is a cool, dark, and quiet place to sleep.
Another natural method for increasing your chances of ovulation is exercise. Regular physical activity not only helps you to maintain a healthy weight, but also helps to reduce your risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Not only that, but it helps to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
If you’ve never exercised regularly, keep the following tips in mind:
- Take time to explore different types of activities and find something that you enjoy.
- Don’t feel pressured to do high-intensity exercises – low/medium intensity exercises still count and are still beneficial.
- Start small by carving out five to ten minutes each day to exercise, over time you can build up to longer intervals.
Maintain a healthy diet
The foods and drinks that we consume can have a major influence on how our bodies (and hormones) work. That’s why when trying to regulate your cycle and encourage ovulation, it’s important to strive to maintain a healthy diet. This not only helps to keep your weight regulated, but it’s also a way to ensure that your body gets the nutrients it needs to function properly.
Unfortunately, there is not one specific food or food group that you can eat that will magically make you ovulate. However, eating the following foods in moderation can set a solid foundation for a healthy diet:
- Folates – such as leafy green vegetables, beans, and whole grains.
- Fiber – such as broccoli, avocados, and apples.
- Iron – such as spinach, quinoa, and turkey.
- Calcium – such as seeds, yogurt, and lentils.
- Omega-3 fatty acids – such as salmon, flax seeds, and walnuts.
- Protein – such as eggs, chicken breast, cottage cheese, and pumpkin seeds.
Take supplements when needed
As humans, it is not realistic to think that we will have the perfect diet all the time. And even when we are at the top of our diet game, we still may struggle to get enough of every nutrient that our bodies need. Fortunately though, there are supplements available that we can take to fill in some of the gaps.
For example, supplements like folic acid, B-vitamins, vitamin E, vitamin D, zinc, iron, and calcium are all helpful for balancing hormones. It’s also a good idea to take a general multivitamin or prenatal vitamin daily.
If you haven’t had your blood levels checked in a while, it’s worth making an appointment at your doctor’s office to see if you have a certain vitamin deficiency. Your doctor can then recommend the appropriate supplement or multivitamin to take in your situation.
Avoid things like sugar, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and drugs
It is a known fact that certain substances and drugs can have a negative effect on the menstrual cycle and your ability to ovulate. For example, excess sugar can disrupt insulin levels, and alcohol is known to disrupt cortisol and estrogen levels.
Treatments will vary depending on the type of addiction you have. However, bear in mind the following tips when overcoming an addiction:
- You are not in this alone and overcoming addiction is possible.
- Seek support from your healthcare provider, charitable organizations, and/or emergency hotlines.
- Join an online or in-person support group.
Keeping your stress levels to a minimum is another natural way to balance your hormones and regulate ovulation. That’s because when stress levels are high, it can cause cortisol levels to spike. When this happens, things like your appetite, metabolism, and ability to maintain a healthy weight are disrupted.
If you find yourself struggling to manage feelings of stress, consider the following:
- Try some breathing techniques, they are scientifically proven to help lower your heart rate and combat stress, anxiety, and insomnia.
- Practice good self-care by setting clear boundaries at work and in your personal life, taking time out to relax, and prioritizing activities that help you de-stress.
- Reach out to a counselor or support group if you find yourself struggling to de-stress on your own.
Get a checkup
Last but not least, pay a visit to your doctor and get a checkup. Despite the number of lifestyle factors that you can control, there may be an underlying problem hindering your ability to ovulate that you cannot control. Once your doctor knows more about your individual situation, they can provide more personalized and targeted advice to help you get ovulating as quickly and efficiently as possible.
What’s going on in your body during ovulation?
At the very beginning of your cycle (i.e. day one of your period), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) levels begin to rise. This hormone is responsible for developing an ovarian follicle while also initiating the production of estrogen.
Estrogen continues to increase during this first half of your cycle, and approximately 24-36 hours before ovulation, luteinizing hormone (LH) rises rapidly. This surge in LH is what ultimately triggers your body to ovulate. After ovulation, progesterone rises and dominates the second half of your cycle. It eventually falls, initiates your period, and the entire cycle repeats.
As you can see, the female reproductive process is guided almost entirely by hormones. And when your hormones are in balance, the entire system (including your ability to ovulate) is much more likely to work the way it should.
How to monitor your ovulation and fertility
One of the most accurate ways to monitor ovulation is by measuring and tracking your fertility hormone levels directly. This can be done with a blood test at your doctor’s office. Alternatively, it can also be done with at-home solutions like the Mira App and Analyzer, which can measure estrogen, progesterone, and LH levels with a simple urine test.
The “BBT” method stands for the Basal Body Temperature Method. Because the body’s temperature dips right before ovulation and quickly rises after ovulation, this method helps to track that change. To follow this method, you have to take your temperature at the exact time each day using a basal thermometer. Over time, daily BBT measurements can then be used to identify ovulation patterns in subsequent cycles.
The calendar method, also known as the rhythm method, is one of the most basic methods of monitoring ovulation. To follow this method, you must use a calendar to keep track of the first day of each period over the course of six months. Once you have this information, you then follow a formula to calculate your fertile window and estimated day of ovulation. You can do these calculations by hand, or you can let a tool like the Mira App’s advanced calendar function do it for you.
FAQs about boosting ovulation
How do I know when I’m ovulating?
The most common symptoms of ovulation that you can feel include changes in cervical mucus, changes in cervical positioning, increase in libido, breast tenderness, and sometimes lower abdominal pain or cramps, known as “mittelschmerz”.
There are also biological markers that you may not be able to “feel” but you can detect and measure. This includes changes in body temperature and changes in hormone levels.
Is it possible to predict ovulation?
Yes. It is absolutely possible to predict ovulation. The most common ways to predict ovulation include the Calendar Method and the Cervical Mucus Method.
It is also possible to predict ovulation through direct hormone tracking. This can be done with the help of your doctor through blood testing or with at-home urine testing systems like Mira.
What does it mean if I’m not ovulating?
If you are experiencing anovulation (or the inability to ovulate), this could indicate an underlying hormonal imbalance.
In some cases, this hormonal imbalance is natural – for example, if you are approaching the age of menopause. In other cases, it could be a sign of a hormonal condition such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or thyroid disease. Anovulation is also common in women with a low body mass index (BMI).
If you are looking to plan a pregnancy but struggling to ovulate, don’t panic! There are natural and medical solutions that can help. To receive the best advice for your situation, reach out to your doctor and they can provide the most appropriate guidance.