Ovulation 101 - The Basics

What is ovulation?

Ovulation in humans is defined as the phase of a woman’s menstrual cycle in which a single egg is released from a follicle that has developed and matured in the ovary. Commonly, ovulation takes place half way through the cycle on or about the 14th day in the case of a 28-day monthly cycle. Beginning at this time and for the next twelve to forty-eight hours the egg is the most likely to be fertilized before disintegrating. It is during ovulation that a woman is most likely to conceive.

When does ovulation occur?

Necessary for reproduction, the menstrual cycle is commonly separated into three phases: the follicular phase, the ovulation phase, and the luteal phase. A menstrual cycle usually varies around an average of twenty-eight days. Ovulation typically happens about fourteen days after the beginning of a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle. The exact schedule of ovulation may be different in a menstrual cycle because ovulation could be affected by things that occur in a woman’s life. Diet, stress, physical activity, or illness, are some factors that might affect ovulation. An individual woman can predict approximately when ovulation will occur with simple mathematics by subtracting the length of the luteal phase from the length of the cycle. As an example, if the length of the menstrual cycle is 28 days long, and the luteal phase is 12 days long, the ovulation phase, mathematically should occur on day 16.

How does ovulation determine my fertile days?

The fertile period of a woman may start approximately four or five days before ovulation. That fertile period will also end approximately 24 to 48 hours after it begins. The variation is scientifically figured based on the fact that sperm can live within a woman’s body about 4 to 5 days, and the egg from the woman can live about 24 to 48 hours after being released. A woman is most fertile the day before and the day ovulation occurs. If a woman knows her fertile days, she can increase the chances of becoming pregnant, or avoid pregnancy based on the likely fertile days. Read Ovulation and Pregnancy and Ovulation and Contraception for more information.

How do I calculate my fertile days using 'My Calendar'?

Using the calendar provided, called "My Calendar" a woman can calculate fertile days based on her menstrual cycle. Using "My Calendar" a woman should enter the first day of her last period and the length of her menstrual period. The length of the woman’s luteal phase could also be entered, if she knows it. Based on these markers, the Calendar should indicate that woman’s personal fertility chart. An example is shown on "My Calendar" in green:

Screenshot of My Ovulation Calendar

Read these topics to learn how "My Calendar" can help you:

Getting pregnant
Avoiding pregnancy

Can I feel ovulation?

You may experience lower abdominal discomfort, a slight rise in body temperature, and changes in cervical mucus during ovulation. Prior to ovulation, your cervical mucus is cloudy and thicker, and a few days before ovulation it becomes clear, slippery, and stretchy like raw egg whites. Immediately following ovulation, your body temperature can increase by 0.4 to 1.0 degrees Fahrenheit. About 20% of women feel discomfort or pain in their lower abdomen as the egg leaves the ovary. This condition is known as 'mittelschmerz', and it usually lasts from a few minutes to several hours.

What happens in my body during ovulation?

Ovulation is one of three phases of a female’s menstrual cycle. During this phase, a partially mature cell, called the egg is released into a part of the female body called the oviduct. After ovulation, the egg is able to be fertilized by sperm. If the egg is fertilized within 24 to 48 hours after ovulation, the egg is implanted into the woman’s uterine lining and the result is pregnancy. If no conception occurs, the egg is discarded along with the uterine lining during menstruation.

Read also:

Ovulation and Pregnancy
Ovulation and Contraception
Irregular Menstrual Cycle
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