A woman’s body is governed by a cycle. The ovulation cycle determines when a woman’s body will menstruate, when hormones are released, and when pregnancy can occur. Understanding ovulation can be helpful for couples trying to get pregnant. Knowing when you're ovulating and the right times to try to conceive can make all the difference.
Ovulation is when a mature egg is released from the ovary and pushed down the fallopian tube. Around once a month, an egg is released and is ready to be fertilized by sperm once the uterine lining thickens in preparation. If the egg is not fertilized, the lining, as well as some blood, is shed. This is commonly known as menstruation.
When Am I Ovulating?
A woman’s cycle is measured from the first day of her period, or the first day of bleeding and shedding of the uterine lining. The average woman's cycle lasts around 28 days, however this varies greatly woman to woman. Most women ovulate between the 11th and 21st day of their cycle.
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When Am I Fertile?
A woman is only fertile during ovulation. During that period, an egg is deposited into the fallopian tube in anticipation of fertilization by sperm. The day before ovulation and the day of ovulation are considered the most fertile days for a woman since the egg survives about 24 hours after it is released.
How Long Do I Have to Get Pregnant During Ovulation?
A woman’s window of fertility during ovulation lasts around 6 days. This window is comprised of the five days leading up to the release of the egg and the actual day of the release. The first five days include the total lifespan of sperm in the vagina, while the one-day lifespan of the ovum rounds out the sixth and final day. In the 12-24 hours after ovulation, the woman is no longer able to get pregnant during that cycle.
How Do I Know I Am Ovulating?
Many women track their BBT throughout their cycle to determine whether or not they are ovulating. Hormone levels change throughout the monthly cycle. When the body begins to release a hormone called progesterone following ovulation, body temperature rises. After a few months of tracking the BBT, it’s possible to determine when ovulation is taking place because of the changes.
Some women also report feeling pain on one side of the lower abdominal area known as “Mittelschmerz”. It occurs right before, during or just after ovulation and can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few hours.
What is the Luteal Phase?
The period of time that starts the day after ovulation through the remainder of the menstrual cycle is known as the luteal phase. This phase lasts anywhere between 10 and 16 days and is generally consistent between cycles. At the outset of the luteal phase, Basal Body Temperature (BBT) increases to provide an accommodating environment for the egg.
What If My Cycle Isn’t Regular?
Many women experience cycle irregularities. If you are consistently having abnormal periods, it’s best to consult with your doctor before trying to track your ovulation.
What Could Cause Irregularities in My Ovulation?
Simple factors like stress, illness, medications, and increased physical activity can all have an effect on your ovulation. Consult with your doctor if you believe your ovulation is being affected.
Don’t get stressed out by ovulation! Consult with your fertility doctor if you have questions about your cycle,your fertility, and family planning. For more information on fertility treatment options and other at home fertility options, sign up for our newsletter below.