Cramping Pain During or After Ovulation?

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Philip Druce

By Philip Druce, Founder of Ovulation Calculator

When you are trying to conceive, every ache and pain is put under the microscope. Could it mean you are pregnant? Is something wrong?

In reality, many of the feelings you will have during your cycle are completely natural and they were probably even present long before you were trying to conceive - they are just much more noticeable now.

But what about cramping 1 day after ovulation, or even 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 days after ovulation? Is that a normal part of your cycle or an indication of pregnancy?

We asked 9,670 women if they experienced any pain during or after ovulation that felt like cramping and 50% said yes. See the survey results below.

Cramping pain survey

There are over 3 million cases of ovulation pain each year in the US.

If you are trying to conceive, it's important to get the timing right. Luckily that's what Ovulation Calculator does. Learn when you ovulate by clicking here.

Ovulation and Mittelschmerz

Cramping pain during ovulation affects about 20% of women. Some women experience very painful ovulation.

Here's what happens. The follicle (capsule containing the egg) is surrounded by follicular fluid in the ovary. When you ovulate, the egg, fluid and some blood are released from the follicle and ovary.

Causes of ovulation pain

There are a few theories as to what causes this pain;

Ovulation pain cause by theories

The pain is referred to as mittelschmerz, which comes from the German words for "middle" and "pain." As this phenomenon describes a pain that occurs in the middle of the cycle, the name makes perfect sense. Contrary to popular belief, the presence of mittelschmerz in a cycle does not indicate pregnancy. It simply indicates ovulation.

However, there is one important distinction. Mittelschmerz occurs during ovulation. This is normally about 15 days before your next period, depending on your cycle and luteal phase length. If you are tracking your cycle closely, have never experienced pain or cramping during ovulation, and are certain that your cramping occurred after ovulation, it may be an indication that you are pregnant (more on this below).

Mittelschmerz affects 1 in 5 women and is most common between the age of 14 and 40.

Mittelschmerz age affects

We've made a list of 20 ways to increase your fertility - make sure you read #18

Ovulation pain symptoms

A pain on one side of your lower abdomen and pelvic area that occurs about 15 days before your next period is due.

Cramping pain symptoms

The pain can be described as a sharp and sudden abdominal pain or a dull and cramping like pain. In some cases the pain can be severe, but it is usually mild. Most women experience the pain for a short period of time (a few minutes to a few hours), but for some women the pain can last days (two to three days).

Scientists, researchers and doctors cannot explain why some women experience this pain and others don't. It could simply boil down to genetics.

The pain can be agonizing for some women and can be confused for appendicitis. This pain will only stop occurring at menopause.

Treatment

Treatment is not normally needed as the pain is not harmful. However, for severe cases of ovulation pain, it's recommended women take pain relievers that you can get over-the-counter.

Cramping pain treatment

Cramping AFTER ovulation

Most women ovulate about 14 to 16 days before the start of their period. If you are closely monitoring your cycle and the signs of ovulation, you should know when you are ovulating.

Cramping pain after ovulation

If you experience cramping after ovulation, it is possible that you are feeling the effects of implantation. About 20% of pregnant women report that they feel cramping after ovulation. This is a very positive sign that you may be pregnant, but please understand that not all women experience cramping at implantation. So if you do not feel cramps after ovulation, you could still be pregnant. Take the Implantation Bleeding or Period Quiz.

Other causes of cramping after ovulation

Pregnancy is the most common reason why women experience cramps after ovulating, but that uncomfortable feeling could be due to other things. A menstrual period causes cramps in most women, and although you are not likely to get your period so close to ovulation, it is possible. If you are cramping from your period, though, you should see normal period symptoms follow soon after the uncomfortable feeling sets in.

Endometriosis is another possible yet uncommon cause of cramping that could occur after ovulation. So, if you are experiencing cramping after ovulation and it is not a pregnancy or your menstrual period, you may want to schedule a visit to your gynecologist. Endometriosis can be a painful condition that may interfere with your ability to conceive, so it is important to involve your doctor early on if you think this may be a problem.

Other ovulation symptoms

Cramping pain is just one of 12 ovulation signs.

Knowing when you ovulate will greatly increase your chances of pregnancy
Got a question or a comment? Post your comment below.

New Join the Discussion!

  1. Andi Jul 26, 2016
    I just finished my period on July 23 had sex on the 24, on mon the 25 I started to have really bad cramps through out the day. Now today tues 26 mid afternoon. I starting to have cramps again. Could I be ovulating early? Why would cramps happen after my period. Has anyone had cramps right after you period? Please let me know you thoughts.
    Reply
  2. Dsanjeevkumar9 Jul 27, 2016
    How many days should you have sex before your period?
    1. Sarah (OC Team): It depends on the many factors such as your cycle length and luteal phase etc. You can use Ovulation Calculator to see your most fertile days. - (Jul 27, 2016)
    Reply
  3. Shannon Jul 29, 2016
    I had a period on July 11 2016. I had sex on the 19th and the 25th my period is so messed up I'm not sure when I ovulate, my cramps are in my lower abs area it hurts. My question is I have one tube due to an ectopic in 2012 so I can't tell when I ovulate so could that be ovulation or pregnancy or period? I have had 3 kids but never felt this before to the point I'm bent over when it hurts.
    1. Sarah (OC Team): If you know when you ovulated it would be easier to work out if it was mittelschmerz or not. I understand that you said you're not sure when you ovulate, so it's hard to know. Can you have a look at this post and see if you had any of the other 12 signs of ovulation: https://www.ovulationcalculator.com/ovulation-symptoms-signs/. - (Jul 29, 2016)
    2. Claire: Shannon, I have been with my partner for 13 years and no protection. Nothing happened for 9 years. Then I downloaded an app on my phone called ovia fertility. Now I have 2 children and hopfully number 3 on the way ...all thanks to this little app. Hope this helps. Good luck! xxx - (Aug 09, 2016)
    3. Christina (OC Team): Technology has made amazing strides in helping women conceive, and fertility apps are no exception. :) One thing that stands out about Ovulation Calculator is that it updates whenever new data is logged, so it will become more and more accurate as you use it (unlike others that stay the same). Good luck to you, Claire and Shannon! - (Aug 09, 2016)
    Reply
  4. Frances Jul 31, 2016
    I had my period on the 14 of July 2016 and I had HSG on the 25th of July 2016. My ovulation was on the 28th of this month and I am feeling cramping. Is this normal?
    1. Christina (OC Team): Cramping during ovulation (mittelshmerz) is normal for many women. You can expect it to subside by the time you have finished ovulating. Some cramping is also normal after the HSG procedure, but if you are still experiencing cramps days later, you should consult your doctor. - (Jul 31, 2016)
    Reply
  5. Jennifer Aug 06, 2016
    Can a person get pregnant if she has uprotected sex six days after her period? Her cycle is 27
    Reply
  6. Unknown Aug 06, 2016
    I menstruated on the 24th of July and had sex on the 1st of August. Can I be pregnant because I have a 28 day cycle?
    1. Christina (OC Team): It's difficult to accurately estimate ovulation based on your cycle alone because cycles do vary. If you weren't tracking ovulation and are unsure when you had your fertile window, it is possible. For example, if you ovulated on the 6th, the 1st would have been the first day of your fertile window. - (Aug 06, 2016)
    Reply
  7. Janey Aug 09, 2016
    I had my period on the 31st of July. My cycle is 24 days, so I was supposed to start ovulating on the 5th. Today I feel cramps. Could I be pregnant?
    1. Christina (OC Team): If your fertile window began on the fifth, you may now be experiencing cramping from ovulation. A woman's fertile window is six days, leading up to and including ovulation. - (Aug 09, 2016)
    2. Janey: Hi, My back still aches but now its on the left side - (Aug 12, 2016)
    Reply
  8. Enono Aug 10, 2016
    I menstruated on the 25th of July, and I have had sex on the1st, 2nd and 3rd of August. Can I be pregnant? My cycle is 24 days.
    1. Christina (OC Team): Most women ovulate within 12-16 days of the end of their cycle (next period). So the dates you mentioned were likely in your fertile window. Having sex in your fertile window makes pregnancy a possibility. However, the only way you can know for sure if you were ovulating would be to look for signs. Here is an article abut tracking cervical mucus and position changes https://www.ovulationcalculator.com/cervix-cervical-mucus/ And here is an article to help you track your basal body temperature https://www.ovulationcalculator.com/basal-body-temperature/ - (Aug 10, 2016)
    Reply
  9. Hiphe Aug 12, 2016
    I had my period on the 14th -18th of July, on the 27th of July I had sex, and on the 12th of August I started having cramps in my right pelvis. It was followed by bloody discharge, but not flowing as my normal period. Please what is happening?
    1. Christina (OC Team): You didn't mention your cycle length, but it sounds like this could either be a period or implantation bleeding. Have a look at this article to see the differences https://www.ovulationcalculator.com/implantation-bleeding-or-period-quiz/ - (Aug 12, 2016)
    Reply
  10. Jackie Aug 16, 2016
    I had my period on the 2nd of August. I had intercourse on the 11th and 12th of August. On my tracker, it says my most fertile days were on the 10th-15th. I started ovulating the 15th. What is the chances of me being pregnant? I'm feeling cramps...
    1. Christina (OC Team): If you ovulated on the 15th and had sex on the 11th and 12th, you were within your fertile window and have a chance to conceive in this cycle. Are you tracking ovulation in any other way? I'd recommend checking out these articles: https://www.ovulationcalculator.com/basal-body-temperature/ & https://www.ovulationcalculator.com/cervix-cervical-mucus/ for more info. If you just entered your fertile window on the 15th, you would ovulate on the 20th and the cramping could be from ovulation. It may sound complicated, but once you start tracking the signs, it will all make sense. Good luck! - (Aug 17, 2016)
    2. Jackie: My fertile window was the 10th-15th (from what my app says) and I ovulated the 16th. I had intercourse on the 10th-12th. - (Aug 17, 2016)
    Reply
  11. Kay Aug 18, 2016
    Hello, I had my last period on July 29th and it's 14 days late from my previous period. I'm tracking my periods. I have a 32-day cycle, and today, August 18, I have cramping on only one side. Does that mean I'm ovulating? We are TTC.
    1. Christina (OC Team): The best way to track ovulation is to track your BBT (info here: https://www.ovulationcalculator.com/knowledge/?q=basal+body+temperature) and log your results here. - (Aug 18, 2016)
    Reply
  12. Joan Aug 20, 2016
    My cycle is 28 days. I usually experience some pain in my anus during ovulation which I confirmed through ovulation tracking. However, since about 4 days after ovulation, I have been experiencing mild cramps for about 5 days now. What could this be pointing to?
    1. Christina (OC Team): Light spotting and cramping after ovulation could be a sign of implantation. Have a look at this article to learn more https://www.ovulationcalculator.com/implantation-bleeding-or-period-quiz/ - (Aug 20, 2016)
    Reply
  13. Cndy Aug 20, 2016
    I had my period start on August 7, 2016. It ended August 11th 2016. I took an ovulation test on the 19th of August. I was ovulating. I had intercorse on the 17th and the 19th. Now one day later I'm cramping. What could be happening? Could I be pregnant?
    1. Christina (OC Team): One DPO is early for implantation. Have a look at this article to learn more https://www.ovulationcalculator.com/implantation-bleeding-or-period-quiz/ - (Aug 21, 2016)
    Reply
  14. Amanda Aug 21, 2016
    I started ovulating from the 15-22 and I had sex 17-18-20-21-22. Today I have cramping like my period. My period cramps are pretty bad. Could I be implanting or is it nothing?
    1. Christina (OC Team): If the actual date of ovulation was the 22nd (today), your cramping is more likely due to ovulation. Have a look at this article to learn more about implantation bleeding and timing. https://www.ovulationcalculator.com/implantation-bleeding-or-period-quiz/ Good luck! - (Aug 22, 2016)
    Reply
  15. Porsha Aug 22, 2016
    I started ovulating on August 20th and I started having dull cramps and pain above my right hip the next day. It's still hurting now. Am I Pregnant?
    1. Christina (OC Team): You're in what's known as the "two week wait" now. You can test on the 3rd, but you may want to have a look at this article for information on implantation in the meantime. https://www.ovulationcalculator.com/implantation-bleeding-or-period-quiz/ Good luck! - (Aug 22, 2016)
    Reply
  16. Jemma Aug 24, 2016
    Me and my boyfriend had sex 1 day before my ovulation day on the 21st of August 2016. Now, 3 days later, I've got mild stomach cramps. Could I be pregnant? They are like period pains but I'm not due for my period for a week and a half.
    1. Christina (OC Team): 2 days past ovulation is early for implantation cramping. Have a look at this article to learn more https://www.ovulationcalculator.com/implantation-bleeding-or-period-quiz/ - (Aug 24, 2016)
    Reply

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