Some relatively accurate ways exist to determine if you have ovulated. These include changes that occur after ovulation has occurred, such as a rise in your basal body temperature, cramping or mid-cycle pain, spotting and changes in the cervical mucus. Finally, if you are undergoing fertility testing, a doctor may perform an ultrasound to determine if you have ovulated.
Basal Body Temperature
As you go through your cycle, your basal body temperature changes with the normal fluctuations of hormone levels. If you chart your basal body temperature, which is the temperature that your body is at when you first awaken in the morning, you can see it rise as you approach ovulation and then start back down after ovulation has occurred.
The rise will be most pronounced on the day after you have ovulated. This is because the release of the egg also causes increased secretion of the progesterone hormone.
Cramping Upon Ovulation
You may have noticed sharp pains in your abdomen, specifically in the lower left or lower right, at certain times of the month. This is most likely ovulation cramping. This pain is also known as mid-cycle pain or mittelschmerz, a German word that actually means "middle pain". Not all women experience cramping upon ovulation; but if you do, you can use that as a signal that you have ovulated.
You may have noticed that about midway through your cycle, you see a little bit of blood on your panties or on the tissue when you wipe. It is usually extremely light and often cannot be seen at all. This is called ovulation spotting, and is caused by the bursting of the follicle when the egg is released. Look for this spotting at or around the same time if you experience ovulation cramping; however, don’t be surprised if you don’t see it. It is very seldom noticed.
Change in Cervical Mucus
A change in your mucus often occurs once you have ovulated. The mucus will no longer be as thin as it was right before ovulation; instead, it will take on the consistency of raw egg whites.
Usually, the only time ultrasound testing would be used is when you and your health care professional are trying to determine if there are fertility problem, and what those problems might be. You would not, as a general rule, go every month and have an ultrasound performed just to determine if you were ovulating.