The ovulation cycle includes the timeframe in which your body releases a mature egg from the ovary, shuttles it down the fallopian tube, and presents it for potential fertilization.
This cycle introduces many hormonal and physiological changes, and the process begins in the brain with the release of hormones that stimulate egg growth.
Understanding Your Ovulation Cycle
- 1. Menstruation
- This is the time of your cycle when you have a period, also known as menses. The menstruation phase is the starting point of the ovulation cycle
- The entire phase generally lasts an average of 28 days for most women
- The first day of your period is a visual marker that you and doctor use to distinguish both the beginning and end of an Ovulation Cycle. This phase typically lasts 4 to 7 days.
- On the first day of the menstruation cycle, the uterine wall sheds and bleeding occurs.
- When you have a period, your body is shedding the nutrient-rich lining created during the previous cycle from inside your uterus.
- This occurs when estrogen and progesterone hormone levels decrease and there is no pregnancy.
- 2. Follicular Phase / (Also Known As The Pre-ovulatory Phase)
- This phase accounts for the 1st half of the menstrual cycle; beginning on the first day of your period and continues for 10 to 17 days.
- Under the control of various hormones following puberty, your brain will send a hormonal signal to the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) to your ovaries to recruit several follicles to mature each month.
- Each follicle recruited during a cycle contains a single egg. The fastest, healthiest follicle and egg (also known as the dominate follicle) will win the race and release an egg (ovum) at the time of ovulation.
- The other follicles and eggs that were in the race are then reabsorbed, having lost their chance to fully mature or ever be released.
- As follicles within the ovary race to mature, changes are also occurring within the lining of your uterus. Endometrium is formed by increasing amounts of estrogen which stimulate a thickening of the lining of the uterus
- The thickened endometrium is essential for a fertilized egg (egg + sperm = embryo) to attach or implant into the uterine lining.
- This is an essential process that occurs in preparation for an embryo (fertilized egg that will become a fetus) to attach or implant itself in the uterus and continue it’s development.
- Other hormones are released near the end of the Follicular phase including testosterone.
- These hormonal changes are responsible for increased vaginal lubrication and an increase in libido or sexual desire. This is nature’s way of helping you to time sex to achieve pregnancy.
- 3. Ovulatory Phase
- Everything that took place during the Follicular phase has prepared your body for a spectacular series of hormonal events that lead to ovulation. Ovulation occurs mid-cycle in response to a series of hormonal changes that are set off by a peak in estrogen, occurring any day from day 10 to 17 of the Follicular phase.
- This peak in estrogen triggers a brief surge in Luteinizing Hormone (LH), which triggers ovulation within usually 24 hours and occasionally up to 48 hours.
- Ovulation is the time when an egg is released from the dominant follicle within an ovary, into the fallopian tube where it can become fertilized by sperm.
- This is the only time during the menstrual cycle that a woman can become pregnant.
- If sperm are available, now is their chance! Once an egg is released, the egg is viable for up to 1 day, while sperm can be viable for up to 3 days. This means that the few days leading up to ovulation are the most fertile days of your cycle.
- With this is mind; conception is most likely to occur when sperm are available a few days prior to or just following ovulation.
- 4. Luteal Phase
- The luteal phase is the last step in the cycle and lasts approximately two weeks.
- During this phase, the corpus luteum develops from where the egg was released.
- Estrogen and progesterone help thicken the lining of the uterus to prepare for implantation.
- Progesterone levels will also increase to help the uterine walls prepare for the zygote.
- Day 25 is a critical phase in the ovulation cycle because the egg fertilization will be an indicator of successful pregnancy.
- If the egg is fertilized, the zygote keeps progesterone levels high and prepares the body for pregnancy.
- On the other hand, if the egg isn’t fertilized, the corpus luteum falls apart and stops producing progesterone.
- Ref https://intermountainhealthcare.org/blogs/topics/intermountain-moms/2014/02/ovulation-made-simple-a-four-phase-review/
- You can find out the best time to get pregnant with ovulation calculator or fertility calculator. You can track your fertility days in the ovulation calendar and keep a record of the same. Couples can increase chances of getting pregnant with the assistance of ovulation calendar.
Understanding Ovulation Calendar/ Fertility Calendar
- An Ovulation Calendar works like an ovulation period calculator and indicates about your most fertile days and helps in increasing the chances to conceive naturally, as you get to know your exact ovulation date.
- It helps in finding out the favorable time to fertile and conceive a child.
- A Fertility Period Calculator tracks the surge of luteinizing hormone (LH) which triggers ovulation and elevates the release of progesterone
- For most of the women who don’t know how to calculate ovulation date, you can plot your ovulation/fertility calendar and find your most fertile days to conceive
- Your fertile window refers to the most fertile days in your menstrual cycle which give you the highest chance of conceiving.
- The fertile window is a series of about 6 days in a month, when your fertility is optimal.
- But even during this window, your fertility graph peaks on the day before ovulation and on the day of ovulation.
- You have six days in a month to make a baby. This is because sperm are known to survive for up to six days inside the female body, and the closer to ovulation they enter, the higher the likelihood of one of them fertilizing your egg.
- It’s important to time intercourse in these six days leading up to ovulation to maximize your chances of conception.
- If you aren’t already charting your menstrual cycle, now is the time!.
- How to calculate your fertile window?
- To calculate your fertile window, you need to determine what day you ovulate. To do this, you need to know the length of your menstrual cycle (which tends to vary from 23 to 35 days).
- The length of your menstrual cycle is the number of days from the first day of bleeding in your last period, to the first day of bleeding in your next. From this figure, subtract 14 days from the end of your current cycle to determine the approximate day you ovulate.
Signs and symptoms of Ovulation
- The best indicator is your body! Which shows subtle signs. Watch out for these tell-tale signs:
- 1. Egg White Cervical Mucus (EWCM):
- The consistency of your vaginal discharge gets exceptionally slick and slippery during ovulation.
- It feels like egg white;
- Take the discharge between your fingers to check the consistency. If it stretches more than an inch without breaking, it’s likely that your egg is on the way!
- 2. Basal Body Temperature (BBT):
- Your basal body temperature rises about half a degree Celsius after ovulation.
- It can be a great indicator of when you’re ovulating, so that you can chart your cycle in the coming months.
- It’s Time to Make a Baby
- Tracking your menstrual cycle is the best way to map your fertile window. Like they say, it’s all in the timing. Whip your calendars out, ladies. It’s time to make a baby!
Limitations of the Ovulation Calendar
- Ovulation Calendar will not work out if you are having irregular periods.
- Because if you don’t know the exact intervals then it will not work as an ovulation period calculator.
- For such situations, we strongly recommend to consult your gynecologists /fertility specialists
- Similarly, If you have either short length (less than 21 days) or long length (more than 35 days) menstrual cycle, Ovulation Calendar will not help you out much.
- In such a case, we suggest you find out ways to regulate your menstrual cycles by consulting your gynecologists
- The follicular phase actually begins during the first day of the ovulation cycle and works in tandem with the menstruation phase. During the beginning of the menstrual cycle, the pituitary gland begins to produce a mix of hormones. The uterine lining also starts to thicken as your body prepares for the release of the egg during its fertile period.
- Day eight in the cycle is when the matured egg prepares to escape the ovaries. The maturation of the egg follicles produces its own hormone called estrogen. After about 12 days, hormone levels are elevated and an LH (Luteinizing Hormone) surge occurs 24 hours prior to ovulation. During this time period, this is your fertile period and is the best time to conceive. Signs of your fertile period include increased sex drive, breast tenderness, bloating, increase in cervical mucus, and ovulation pain. On day 14, the egg is released and lives for 12-24 hours, marking the beginning of ovulation.
- There are only about six days in a month when you’re fertile. This is known as the fertile window. Essentially, the fertile window consists of the five days preceding ovulation, and the day of ovulation. Once your egg has popped out of your ovary and rolled into your fallopian tube, it has only between 12 and 24 hours to get fertilised. If there are no sperm waiting, the egg falls into the uterus and disintegrates, by way of your period fourteen days later.
- What If I have irregular menstrual cycles
- If you have irregular menstrual cycles, or your cycle length varies from month to month, it will be difficult to calculate your ovulation date. Ovulation urine tests or ovulation tracking may be useful, and you should consider seeking further advice from your GP or a Fertility Specialist.
- How long should I try ,before seeking medical advice
- It is recommended that you consider seeking professional advice after trying to conceive naturally without success for 12 months if you are under 35 years-old or after 6 months if you are over 35.
- A fertility specialist can conduct some simple fertility tests to find out what’s happening, explore all your options and help you fall pregnant sooner.
- What Is Ovulation?
- The process of an egg emerging from one of your ovaries and settling in the fallopian tube is called ovulation. Think of it as a mating call for sperm. Ovulation happens once in every menstrual cycle and the days leading up to it form the best window for conception. Ovulation happens about 14 days before the start of your next period. If you have the length of your menstrual cycle worked out, you can apply a simple calculation to know when you’re ovulating. Your menstrual cycle is the number of days from your last period to the day before your next. Let’s say your average menstrual cycle works out to be 35. Count back 14 days from the date on which you expect your period (in this case, day 21). It’s likely that you’ll be ovulating around this time! When you chart your menstrual cycle, it’s wise to time intercourse every alternate day during your fertile window to make sure that there’s a constant supply of sperm to the fallopian tubes.
Ovulation Tips and Considerations
- While the body automates the process, there are some things that you can do to support and encourage a healthy ovulation cycle when trying to conceive. The environment, any hormones in your diet, and stress levels in your daily routine are three things that can help or hurt your chances of getting pregnant.
- While the old adage of 8 glasses of water a day isn’t fully accurate, ensure that you drink enough water to hydrate your body each day. Lack of water can cause decreased circulation and other medical concerns. Water intake is incredibly important to preparing your body for a successful pregnancy.
- What isn’t exercise good for? From fertility yoga to just walking around the block, exercise will increase blood flow, oxygenate the blood, and even lift your spirits if you’re feeling down. Anything you can do to make your body as healthy as possible will support a healthier ovulation cycle.
- Give your baby a head start by loading your body with essential nutrients that can boost fertility and increase your odds of a successful pregnancy. A healthy diet is essential, so ensure that you include foods that contain loads of vitamins, minerals, essential fats and amino acids. Examples include dark green leafy vegetables, citrus fruit, bananas, sweet potatoes, wild caught fish, and avocados. In addition to focusing on what to put in your body, try to avoid excess amounts of sugar or caffeine. Hormonal balance is often easier to achieve when you limit these two items from your diet.
The ovulation cycle is a miraculous thing to behold, so work with your fertility specialist today to begin tracking and managing your own cycle to dramatically increase the odds of conception. Please contact Red Rock Fertility Center at 702-749-4642 to schedule an appointment.
- Discover the Right Time
- With the help of an Ovulation Calendar, you can discover the right time to conceive. Finding the most fertile days during ovulation is necessary. It will help you in finding the maximum chance of getting pregnant at the right time. Ovulation Calendar or fertility calculator can also help you in finding whether your partner has a healthy sperm count. If the ovulation period is regular and you are not able to conceive, then you must visit a doctor immediately