If you’ve experienced bleeding between your regular periods, you’re probably wondering if it’s anything to worry about. One possibility is that it’s ovulation spotting.
But what is ovulation spotting? And what does it mean? The good news is that it’s usually nothing to worry about.
What is ovulation bleeding?
Ovulation bleeding or ovulation spotting as it’s sometimes referred to, is a light bleed that occurs around the time of ovulation each month, when the ovaries release an egg. Typically, the bleeding only lasts a day or two.
Ovulation bleeding occurs usually at the same time your body ovulates, anywhere between 11 and 21 days after the first day of your last period, though it may occur sooner or later in some women, depending on the length of your cycle. Like your period, the timing of ovulation can vary cycle-to-cycle, and you may have the odd cycle where you don't ovulate at all.
Usually, the light spotting will be pinker in colour. This pink discharge is a sign that the blood is mixed with cervical fluid which women usually produce more of during ovulation. However, it can be redder in colour too. It’s certainly very different to your usual menstrual bleeding and will be much lighter and different in colour.
• Use our ovulation calculator to work out which days you ovulate each month.
Does spotting during ovulation mean pregnancy?
Ovulation spotting can sometimes get mixed up with implantation bleeding. While ovulation spotting happens during ovulation, implantation spotting or bleeding occurs when a fertilised egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus.
This can often cause some vaginal bleeding and can be one of the very first signs of pregnancy.
Why does ovulation bleeding happen?
A lot of hormonal changes happen during ovulation with higher levels of luteal progesterone and luteinizing hormone in some women.
Although ovulation bleeding only tends to happen in around five per cent of women, it doesn’t impact your chances of conceiving.
And don’t worry if you don’t have ovulation spotting, it doesn’t mean you aren’t ovulating, it just means you’re not someone who experiences mid-cycle bleeding.
If you’re concerned about the occasional bleed between periods, it’s always important to get this checked with your GP, just in case.
Signs and symptoms of ovulation
Ovulation is different for each woman. Some women are able to tell if they are ovulating through symptoms such as ovulation spotting. As well as using an ovulation calculator, there are a number of ways to track your ovulation.
• Fertility apps - There are a number of fertility apps that can track your menstrual cycles and discharge changes throughout the month.
• Ovulation predictor tests - These work similar to pregnancy tests in that you pop a strip into your pee to find out if you’re ovulating or not.
• Basal body temperature test - You can buy special Basal thermometers which are used to track your temperature each morning. The higher the temperature, the more likely you are to be ovulating.
• Cervical mucus tracking - Some women experience changes in the consistency and appearance of their vaginal discharge, which can also mean they’re ovulating.
• Saliva ferning test - Another special type of test that uses a microscope to test your saliva.
What if I'm experiencing ovulation pain?
Some women may experience a “stitch-like” pain on one side of the abdomen or the other, or at the very bottom of the tummy when ovulating. Known as Mittelschmertz, this pain is nothing to be concerned about. It can last just a few minutes or continue for a day or two, and some women may notice a little vaginal bleeding when it happens too. Find out more about ovulation pain.