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You are here: Home > Fertility & Trying to Conceive > Conception - What is Ovulation Spotting?

What is Ovulation Spotting?

by Katlyn Joy
61 Comments


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

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Showing 1 - 10 out of 48 Comments
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Guest Feb 16, 2014 08:59:30 AM ET

I have the iud, and a day after i had sex i started having clear discharge with blood lines in it. what could this be?

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Guest Jan 9, 2014 03:54:13 PM ET

I'm 24. my period started dec 29th and ended on jan 2nd. today, 8 days after period ended i got brown blood spotting. i inserted a tampon and pulled it out a few minutes later ( to ensure the bleeding was coming from the vagina) and it was about 1/4 covered in brown blood. according to a period tracker app i use i should begin fertility today and ovulate on the 14th.

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Guest Dec 31, 2013 01:20:05 AM ET

Hi ladies. i had my period on dec 13th and it lasted for 4 days. yesterday i started spotting for a few hours and then it quit. i am not due for another period until jan 8th. i had a baby july 29th and at 6 months and my baby girl did not make it. i want to be be pregnant so bad.

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Guest Dec 13, 2013 04:02:47 PM ET

So i'm on day four of ovulation. i just got a pink discharge (very light) i'm hoping these are good signs :) i have a good feeling about this time around :)

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Guest Nov 25, 2013 10:06:54 AM ET

Hi, i've just started my cycle on the 19th. i have been sexually active before and since then. my ovulation day is tomorrow which is the 26th. i just started getting this brown discharge two days ago which was sunday. by any chance could i be pregnant?

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Guest Nov 22, 2013 11:45:35 AM ET

Hi, i'm 42 years old and i have irregular cycles. i got af on 11/8 and i took clomid on cycle day 5-9. on cd11 and cd12 i got a +opk. on cd13 i got a very light brownish spotting and today cd15 i also got a light brownish spotting. (nothing yesterday). i believe this is called ovulation spotting. we baby danced on cd12 and cd13 this time around. hopefully one sticks.

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Guest Nov 21, 2013 04:24:02 AM ET

I had my period last month an then put my nuvaring back in after i was finished. i took it back out because i got a bladder infection an it was bothering me. i never put it back in. i had unprotected sex the day before my ovulation day and on my ovulation day i started spotting brown just a little for three days. then i started bleeding very heavy for three days and i also passed two large clots. then it stopped and now i'm spotting again and i feel pregnant. i'm not suppose to have a period this month and the bleeding was not like my period because i cramp a lot. this time i didn't. i'm very confused. i've taken four pregnancy tests and they came back negative. i'm scared. :/ has this happen to anyone else? please help????

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Guest Nov 20, 2013 08:53:08 PM ET

Today as i checked my cervical mucus i noticed an egg white like discharge with a hint of light brown. i was scared at first but after reading i realized that it's harmless and a good sign. i'm so excited to try tonight with my hubby. we want a baby so bad wish me luck

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Guest Nov 17, 2013 06:43:47 PM ET

I have started with estradiol to help my endometrium thicken (in my last ultrasound it was to thin to allow implantation). i am about to ovulate (or so i should) and i started to have spotting. not just a little but not as much as a period. it is bright red. could it be just too much estrogen in my body?

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Guest Nov 14, 2013 07:45:03 PM ET

My partner and i have been trying to conceive for over 12 months and my most recent blood test done on day 21 of my cycle tested negative to ovulation which the doctor said could just be a once off thing. yesterday was my most fertile day (day of ovulation). i had experienced quite a lot of pain the day before my ovulation date and the day of, but the day of, i started bleeding lightly and the bleeding is still occurring for the second day! i've tried contacting my doctor but he is busy. i'm worried and don't know what this means! please help.

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