The Vast Benefits Of Tracking Your Ovulation And How To Do It

Women have long tracked their menstrual cycles, most commonly, to predict when an upcoming period should arrive. There's a reassurance in the rhythm of knowing just when to expect a period and many will understandably correlate cycle tracking with trying to conceive, but there are an array of other reasons to understand the phases of the menstrual cycle and keep track of where you are in it. Having an awareness of when you're ovulating, in particular, can be beneficial for your physical, mental, and spiritual health.

With an almost endless list of ovulation tracking apps available for download out there, it's far easier to know where you're at in your cycle than it used to be. Flo Period Tracker & Calendar has great reviews and can help you obtain a stronger body connection. 

Just a quick refresher: Ovulation is when the ovary sends out an egg for fertilization. And the signs your body is ovulating are pretty easy to notice: an elevated basal body temperature and thicker than usual discharge (via Healthline). Here's why tracking your ovulation could be beneficial to your health.

Knowing when you ovulate and are fertile

First and foremost, knowing when you're ovulating is vital if you're trying to get pregnant — or trying not to get pregnant. The ovulation phase is the only time a woman can conceive during her cycle (via Healthline), so this is obviously an important phase to be aware of. "If you are trying to get pregnant, [the ovulatory window is] the days when you would want to have intercourse, while if you don't want to become pregnant those are the days when you would want to use a barrier (such as a condom) or abstain from intercourse," said Cristin Hackel, M.S.N., R.N., WHNP-BC, Medical Provider at Nurx, in an interview with Shape.

Understanding the other phases of the menstrual cycle

There are four phases of the menstrual cycle and understanding the dips in energy levels most women experience can help achieve a more balanced and in-tune lifestyle. The phases are menstrual, follicular, ovulation, and luteal. Your energy levels will be at their highest during the follicular and ovulation phases (via Ovia Health). Read: These are the phases during which you'll want to schedule your girls' night out, get in your more intensive workouts, and be productive. The menstrual and luteal phases are when you'll likely feel more inward and experience the need to nurture your body with rest (via Tara McCann Wellness).

Monitoring health changes

According to Winnie Palmer Hospital For Women & Babies, a healthy, regular period (or the lack of one) can reveal a lot about the body's overall health and our periods can change. For instance, an extremely light period can indicate anemia, while spotting in between periods can sometimes be a sign of cervical or ovarian cancer. Period health is so important that The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists chose to include it as one of the vital signs. "By including an evaluation of the menstrual cycle as an additional vital sign, clinicians reinforce its importance in assessing overall health status for patients and caretakers," the association said.

Experiencing the spiritual benefits of tracking cycles

The menstrual cycle has long been linked with the phases of the moon and while this notion may not be everyone's cup of tea, some cultures believe a woman is at the height of her spiritual intuition during her menstrual phase (via Healthline). ​​"Women have great power during their moons," said Patty Smith of the Leech Lake Band of Minnesota Ojibwe in an interview with Rewire News Group. "As they bleed, they are sloughing off the accumulated experience and stress of being a woman. Some of those experiences are painful or may contain negative energy, so we want to be careful that we don't interrupt that process."

Building a connection with your body

It'd be tricky to find a woman who hasn't faced the challenges of body image. We all know women have been trained from a young age to resent aspects of their physical image and spend money on attempting to alter those perceived imperfections. This is obviously damaging to our emotional health, but it also has disconnected women from their bodies. In our fast-paced world, we likely don't often check in with our wombs and ovaries unless there's an issue signaling us to do so. By tracking ovulation, women can regain a sense of connection with their bodies and it's changing phases throughout the month, which could lead to greater overall health and even a more positive body-mind connection (via EVE).