Ovulation bleeding or ovulation spotting is a common monthly occurrence for many women.
There are some who have never experienced it, or only experienced it after changing birth control, but you should know that it is normal, regardless if you have the spotting or not.
Some who experience ovulation bleeding monthly use it as a reasonably reliable way to determine ovulation so they can use this sign to either avoid getting pregnant or to conceive instead.
What Causes Ovulation Bleeding
First, let’s discuss what ovulation is in general. This is when the ovary releases an egg to make it’s way down the fallopian tube and towards the uterus .
If the egg is fertilized, you can get pregnant, if not then you will get your period roughly two weeks later (that’s why women talk about the “TWW” or two-week wait while trying to conceive because that’s the timeframe we have to wait before determining if implantation was successful).
During this timeframe of ovulation, there is a change in your cervical mucus, that looks like egg whites and then comes the surge in luteinizing hormone (LH) which triggers the release of the egg .
For some, the release of the egg may cause some pain and cramps and also bleeding.
The cause of the bleeding/spotting is generally related to the sharp drop in estrogen aver ovulation before the levels of progesterone have risen .
But this isn’t something that has been studied regularly and sadly women and researchers are still figuring out the cause of spotting.
According to one study, only 3 percent of women actually experience ovulation bleeding .
What Does Ovulation Bleeding Look Like
There are plenty of differences between ovulation bleeding and menstrual bleeding.
Generally, when it comes to ovulation bleeding it’s far lighter than a period and is generally light pink or brownish red .
For some, they also experience mild cramping as well (not unlike a period but a lot lighter and shorter in duration).
It may be mixed with cervical mucus and may be accompanied by mild pain in the stomach or some cramping that resembles menstrual cramping. Not all bleeding can be regarded as ovulation spotting.
If you notice heavy bleeding that lasts for days and looks like you are menstruating, consult a doctor immediately.
How Long Does Ovulation Bleeding Last?
Ovulation bleeding doesn’t usually last long. The average time frame is one to three days .
So if you have experienced spotting for a longer period, this is something you’ll want to be seen by a doctor for because it can be a sign of something more serious or an underlying problem.
When it comes to the timeframe as to when you might see ovulation bleeding, it would happen around 14 days prior to your next period (or anywhere from 11-21 days from the first day of your last period ).
If it were implantation bleeding it would only happen about a day or two prior to your period  (which is why it’s sometimes confused for a period instead).
Ovulation Bleeding As a Birth Control Method
Those who experience ovulation bleeding in the middle of each cycle, and know that it’s not related to something else, can use this to help them either prevent or get pregnant.
If you are trying to get pregnant, knowing that you are ovulating indicates the best time to try and conceive. It indicates that you are fertile and it’s the perfect time to try and get pregnant.
In that same sense, if you are trying to avoid getting pregnant, you can use the same method.
But again, this is not a 100% sure way to avoid pregnancy and additional methods should be used if you are really trying to avoid starting or growing your family.
In addition to monitoring ovulation with spotting, there are a lot of people who use this in conjunction with measuring their basal body temperature in order to determine exactly when they are ovulating.
This is considered natural family planning and when done right can be extremely reliable, however, there are a lot of children out there who are the product of this time of birth control.
Other Signs of Ovulation
While ovulation bleeding is an amazing tool to either prevent or attempt to get pregnant there are also a few other ways to help determine that you are ovulating.
Some of the additional ways could be changes in the cervical fluid, changes in the basal body temperature, increased sex drive, increased breast tenderness, and heightened senses as well .
These are just a few other things you can watch if you are trying to determine when you are ovulating.
While ovulation bleeding can be a way to tell if you are ovulating and when you are most fertile, if you are having regular bleeding or unusually painful cramps, that’s something that you want to discuss with your doctor to make sure there are no additional underlying conditions.
Again, it can be completely normal (I for one am one of the 3 percent and have ovulation bleeding) and your bodies way of telling you when the perfect time to have intercourse is, it also could be something you want to look into further at least once just to be sure.
- Clar McWeeney via Clue. Ovulation bleeding: What it is, and How to Know If You’re Experiencing It. [link]
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- Menstrual Bleeding Patterns Among Regularly Menstruating Women [link]
- Anisha Nair via Parenting First Cry. Bleeding During Ovulation: Causes and Things to Know. [link]
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- See above #5
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