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What is Ovulation Spotting?

Katlyn Joy |12, January 2011


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


Showing 1 - 10 out of 162 Comments
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Guest Jan 10, 2019 03:00:40 PM ET

My cycle came on the 23rd,had sex on the 29th,ovulated Jan. 2nd & 3rd, and now I’m still spotting a week later. What could be going on?

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Aina Dorcy Sep 16, 2018 04:27:35 PM ET

Today is my 11th day of my menstral cycle. I wiped and saw brownish discharge could this be my ovulation discharge? I had my period for 5days and the bleeding stopped on the 5th day.

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Sweet pea Williams Jun 30, 2018 07:08:09 PM ET

Today I am on cycle day 19 I woke up to light brown spotting. It is 2:00pm, and it's nothing on my panty liner my app says implantation can be cycle day 20 to 24 is it possible that is what I'm experiencing? I've been TTC for 6 months now. But also today I took a test and got a faint line. I'm so confused. Thanks in advance

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Mouni May 19, 2018 11:22:13 PM ET

Hi, I am 29 years old and planning for kids. I had a spotting on 12th and 13th day of my cycle and bleeding on 14th day (my periods are irreregular) . Can anyone please help me, what is this? I am really scared.

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Mary Feb 22, 2018 09:53:24 PM ET

Hey, I had intercourse on the 13th and 14th, but I spotted on the 16th for about three hours real light. Is that a sign of Pregnancy?

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RachaelP Jan 16, 2018 09:30:07 AM ET

We have been TTC for e months now with no luck. My calendar and CM point to ovulation being today. Yesterday and today I had very, very light pink tint on the toilet paper. I have never experienced ovulation spotting before so I find it strange that's it's just appearing now. What does that mean? Hopefully this will be our month.

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Danae francis Jan 14, 2018 11:22:49 AM ET

Yeah, I had ovulation spotting on the 13th day of ovulation. I was worried, but now I read your article. I felt better and stopped worrying.

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Fabienne Jan 7, 2018 05:36:17 AM ET

I have been trying for 3 months, this is my 4th month. I am hoping this is it. I wiped and found a slight pinkish on the paper. My cycle is exactly 28 days and my expected ovulation day is on the 4th, it's the sixth and I experience it today. I know it's too soon for implantation. I'm just confused on what this pink spot could mean. I hope it is a good thing. I had sex 3 times, the day before my expected ovulation and one day after the day. Can you guys please help me?

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Megan Jan 1, 2018 08:31:36 PM ET

Had some light spotting on cd 16-17 but had a few like pin tip sized blood clots. Those were supposed to be my fertile days. CB advanced OPK tested negative with an empty circle. I am on thyroid medication for several months now but had taken Femara for the first time this cycle. What's going on?

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Shabz Dec 5, 2017 02:01:49 AM ET

I'm kind of confused and don't know if I may be pregnant. My uncle passed a few days back and it has been a depressing time but, it happened close to my fertile day and so my husband and I tried . 3 days later I'm spotting very pale pink spots for 2 days and then very light. Today would mark the 4th day of this but, today it's light but not heavy . I'm not sure, I was not supposed to have my period until 15. But I got it on the first of December.

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