Ovulation is the release of a single, mature egg from a follicle that developed in the ovary. It usually occurs regularly, around day 14 of a 28-day menstrual cycle. Once released, the egg is capable of being fertilized for 12 to 48 hours before it begins to disintegrate. This is the most fertile period of your cycle: during ovulation your chances of conception are highest.
Ovulation usually takes place 14 days after the beginning of your menstrual cycle. The time of ovulation within the menstrual cycle is determined by the luteal phase, which is usually 12 to 16 days long. You can calculate the time of ovulation within your cycle by subtracting the length of your luteal phase from the length of your cycle. For example, if your cycle is 28 days long and your luteal phase is 12 days long, the ovulation will occur on day 16 of your cycle (28-12=16). The exact time of ovulation may vary within your cycle, because ovulation can be delayed by a number of factors such as stress, illness, diet, or increased physical activity.
Your fertile period starts about 4-5 days before ovulation, and ends about 24-48 hours after it. This is because sperm can live in your body for approximately 4 to 5 days, and the egg can live for 24 to 48 hours after being released. You are most fertile on the day before and the day of ovulation. Knowing your fertile days can help you increase your chances of getting pregnant, or avoid an unwanted pregnancy. Read Ovulation and Pregnancy and Ovulation and Contraception for more information.
'My Calendar' calculates your fertile days based on your menstrual cycle data. To use 'My Calendar' you need to enter the first day of your last period, the length of your menstrual cycle, and the length of your luteal phase if you know it. Based on these data, Ovulation Calendar generates your personal daily fertility chart showing the fertile days in green:
Read these topics to learn how 'My Calendar' can help you:
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.
The process of ovulation is triggered by the release of Luteinizing Hormone (LH). The levels of this hormone increase significantly about 1-2 days before ovulation, causing the egg to be released from the ovary (this increase is known as the 'LH surge'). The egg travels down the fallopian tube towards the uterus. If fertilization does not occur within 24 to 48 hours after ovulation, the egg disintegrates and is expelled with the uterus lining at the start of your next period, usually 12-16 days later. If fertilization occurs, the egg implants itself in the lining of the uterus and begins its growth, resulting in a pregnancy.