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What is Ovulation Spotting?

by Katlyn Joy

For someone pursuing pregnancy, understanding the fertility process is vital. Knowing when ovulation occurs is key in timing intercourse and hopefully achieving fertilization. There are different ways to determine when ovulation occurs from testing and high tech methods, to listening to your body and watching for regular signs. Ovulation spotting is one of those signs that might help you determine the optimum time for baby making.

What is Ovulation?

Ovulation is the process of the ovary releasing an egg which is mature, which then travels down the fallopian tube and awaits fertilization. While women are born with millions of immature eggs, typically only one egg is released each month ripe and ready for fertilization.

Ovulation usually takes place in the middle of the menstrual cycle, which varies from woman to woman. Most of the time, women experience ovulation between day 11 and 21. While signs of ovulation may remain consistent for a woman, the exact day in her period may vary each month. She may even ovulate without having a period at all.

Signs & Symptoms of Ovulation

Some women experience something called mittelschmerz, which is German for middle pain. This pain or ache is located near the ovaries and will occur mid-cycle around the time of ovulation.

Another way to determine ovulation is charting your basal temperature, which will rise during ovulation. Also, checking your cervical mucus can also help pinpoint ovulation timing. Around ovulation, the cervical mucus will become slippery, and egg white in consistency and more wet.

Causes of Ovulation Spotting

It's believed ovulation spotting occurs due to hormones causing the ovarian follicle surface to weaken. With the weakening, a hole or stigma forms in the surface, which permits the passage of the egg. Blood may appear due to rupture of the stigma. Another cause may be the rise in estrogen accompanying ovulation.

Appearance of Ovulation Spotting

When ovulation spotting occurs, it will appear brownish or pinkish rather than red in most cases. It may be mixed with the egg-white type cervical mucus. Heavier bleeding or spotting is not likely to be associated with ovulation, however. Also, many women do not experience ovulation spotting at all even though they may have normal ovulation and cycles.

Timing Sexual Intercourse

It's a good idea to try sexual intercourse when ovulation spotting occurs and for a few days afterward for best chances of conception. Charting temperatures or using a home ovulation predictor test will help as well.

Other Reasons for Mid-cycle Bleeding

When a woman is on birth control she can experience breakthrough bleeding. Uterine fibroids can also cause bleeding between periods. Hormonal imbalances can lead to bleeding as well.

What Ovulation Spotting Is NOT

Don't confuse ovulation spotting with implantation bleeding. Implantation bleeding is when the fertilized egg implants in the uterus, sometimes causing some spotting. This will occur after ovulation near the time of an expected period but is typically much lighter than a period.

Have you experienced ovulation spotting? Please share your symptoms and thoughts with others by commenting below.

Related Articles

Does ovulation only happen on Day 14?

Implantation of a Fertilized Egg

From around the web


Showing 1 - 10 out of 64 Comments
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Guest Jul 21, 2014 03:24:07 PM ET

This weekend, i had a light brownish with some light pink discharge, and when i wipe. i've never experienced this before in my mid-cycle along with some mild cramping. is this normal ovulation spotting?

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ggar Jul 17, 2014 11:29:12 PM ET

I had brown spotting a day before af is due. it lasted for 2 days only but used panty liners only. then 8 days after i spotted again not much on my napkin but only if i wipe. got headache and feeling nauseous hungry, but can't eat. am i pregnant? is it implantation bleeding. i am confused. i've been ttc for almost a year.

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Guest Jul 12, 2014 12:15:09 PM ET

I had sex with my bf on thursday, the same day my calculator indicated i was ovulating. the next morning i experienced light blood on the tissue. we also proceeded to have sex the next day also. now it's 7 days past ovulation and i had some mild cramping. can i be pregnant??

madison Jul 15, 2014 08:08:42 PM ET

Sounds like you are experiencing the exact same thing as me. same dates too, which is crazy. i think it's implantation bleeding.

Guest Jul 16, 2014 02:47:10 AM ET

If you had unprotected sex, you could be pregnant. since this is the internet, my dear, i cannot tell you if you are pregnant. the only way to know is to just take a pregnancy test. best of luck.

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Guest Jul 9, 2014 10:07:47 PM ET

Hello, my husband and i have been ttc for over 5 months. just a little run down, we have a 7 year old daughter together. 7 years later, i became pregnant after being on birth control pill for years. 6 weeks into the pregnancy i had a miscarriage. it was very heart breaking and made me feel like less of a woman. after the miscarriage, i didn't have a normal period for 3 months. the doctors fixed that with medication so my hormone levels were out of wack. now, 2 months after meds, i'm having timely periods. 14 days ago on june 26 i started my period. today 14 days into my cycle july 8-9 i started bleeding with cramping on the left side. tmi, but the bleeding went from dark brown to red. nothing heavy just enough for a thin panty liner. and now less than a 30 hours later the bleeding has stopped. my question is could this be ovulation bleeding? i sure hope so, i have almost lost hope.

Niki13 Jul 11, 2014 12:41:13 AM ET

Wow, we are having a very similar experience. the first day of my last period was june 25th, and yesterday july 9th, i had cramping and light bleeding, and today i am having cramping on both sides. now i have no bleeding. i think that ovulation bleeding would occur like 2 weeks before your next period, so now seems to be the right time. it definitely sounds like you just experienced ovulation bleeding and i am hoping that i did too! i hope everything goes well for you! sending prayers and well wishes! keep us updated!

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Katie Jun 21, 2014 05:27:18 AM ET

Hi i was on cilest, the pill, for 3 years after i had my little girl. i stopped taking it on 7 may 2014. i had a withdrawal bleed, then started bleeding on 16 june. i'm starting to lose brownish n pink. when should i possibly ovulate?

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Amanda21 Jun 18, 2014 08:28:08 PM ET

Okay i have been using clear blue advanced digital opk tests. i had my period june 1-4. i started testing the 11th then got high fertility the 13th and 14th. and my peak was 15th and 16th. i had intercourse all these days and frequently before then. well this morning i had some bright red blood. it only happened for a about 6 hours. it's too early for my period and from what i can tell it has stopped. i have never bled mid cycle like that. and ideas what happened?? thanks.

Dwil Jul 8, 2014 12:56:35 AM ET

You are probably pregnant as you probably know by now. i had very light red implantation bleeding 3 days after my period was due so i mistook that for a period, and then i spotted for two weeks. took two positive tests. i was 6-7 weeks along when i found out. good luck.

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Ranae Jun 18, 2014 12:13:47 AM ET

I was on birth control for 3 years with the implant they put in your arm. well anyways, i got off birth control and my periods are pretty much back to regular. i've been off for about 5 months now. i had a period for a whole week, possibly even 9 days, and then i stopped bleeding for 3/4 days minimum. then, i had unprotected sex and when i was done i noticed i had light blood. it was like a light red, but more orangish pink. when i showered, i checked myself and it was light blood mixed with like a clear milky mucus and i didn't bleed again after that. now it's almost 4 days later and i just noticed brownish blood in my underwear with mix of blood are these symptoms of ovulation spotting?

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Tori D Jun 11, 2014 04:06:55 PM ET

Hi i had my cycle on the 28th of may, which lasted four days. the 31st was the last day. i spotted for 2 days which was on the 1st and 2nd of june. usually my cycles are normal but i am little concerned about this one.

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pauline Jun 10, 2014 06:26:50 AM ET

I had sex on d day of ewcm, i had cramps for 1 week before my period, which started on the 29th of may 2014, and ended on the 1st of june. on the 9th day of my cycle (06/06/2014) i spotted a thick ewcm with red and brown patches). after that i started stretchy ewcm until the 12th day of my cycle. please, i am worried. am i pregnant?

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Vivian Jun 5, 2014 02:24:49 AM ET

I had unprotected sex with my husband on the day of ovulation and the next day i saw light, pinkish blood in my underwear. what could be the cause?

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