Tips and Tricks for Ovulation Tracking
Whatever method you choose, you'll need some way to keep track of all the data you're collecting. It can be as low-tech as a calendar or as high-tech as ovulation tracking devices or apps. Find a way that works for you. Write down or log your data as soon as you can. While you think you might remember your temperature in the wee hours of the morning, you might find yourself questioning your memory later in the day if you don't write it down right away.
Keep your budget in mind. Realize that you might be tracking your ovulation for months on end. OPKs can get expensive. Using them for a few months together with one or more of the low-tech methods can help you interpret all your results and may give you a frame of reference to continue using just the low-tech methods after that.
Realize that you can never know with absolute certainty when exactly you ovulated. Even if you had a clear BBT jump (a "thermal shift"), even if your LH surged, and even if you felt ovulation pain, you cannot pinpoint when exactly you ovulated. Many women have been absolutely sure of the exact day they ovulated, only to find they had been way off when their pregnancy was dated using ultrasound or other methods. Yes, ovulation tracking can usually narrow down the window for you, but you will not know the exact moment (or even day) of ovulation.
Remember that your most fertile days are the days right before ovulation, as well as the day you ovulate. Although sperm can survive for a few days in your reproductive tract, waiting for an egg, the opposite is not true (the egg, once released, doesn't last long if it's not fertilized right away).
In fact, studies suggest that your most fertile days are probably the two days before you ovulate! Having this understanding helps take off some of the pressure. You don't need to have sex the moment you ovulate -- a day or two ahead of time is just fine (and probably better).
For some men, knowing that you are ovulating creates too much pressure to perform. They may start to feel like nothing but sperm donors who are required to perform on demand. You might want to think about whether your partner would do better not knowing the details of your ovulation patterns. However, other men may enjoy the somewhat scientific data collection process and may want to help organize and interpret data.
There are several good ways to help track and predict ovulation. With perseverance and practice, you can find a way that works for you.