Many couples are trying to conceive but are not able to do so because of a lack of knowledge about the fertile period of the menstrual cycle, because of not being able to predict the ovulation day.
So in this blog, I am going to talk about ovulation. So, what is ovulation? What is the importance of the fertile window? Why it is important to know your ovulation day and how it affects the chances of conception.
Ovulation is the part of the menstrual cycle when an egg is released from the dominant follicle present in the ovary, into the fallopian tube.
If this egg is fertilized by a sperm, the embryo is formed in the fallopian tube and this embryo then travels to the uterus and gets implanted in the uterine endometrium and develops further.
If the egg remains unfertilized it disintegrates and sheds along with the uterine lining and women would have menstrual bleeding.
The average menstrual cycle length is 28-35 days.
It has 4 phases
1. The menstrual phase – Usually lasts for 4-5 days.
2. Follicular phase – In this Phase follicular stimulating hormone (FSH) stimulates follicular growth and maturity in ovaries. The duration of this phase may vary in each individual with each month
3. Ovulation – Estrogen hormone released by growing follicles signals the pituitary gland for the luteinizing hormone (LH) surge. Within 36 hours of LH surge, ovulation occurs.
4. Luteal phase – Duration of this phase is mostly fixed i.e. 14 days. In this phase, progesterone hormone rises which is secreted by the Corpus luteum (remnant dominant follicle after the release of an egg), and the uterine endometrium is prepared for implantation.
If a woman has regular cycles of 28 to 30 days, then the day of ovulation is calculated by subtracting 14 days from the cycle length i.e. in 28 days cycle ovulation day is the 14th day.
Ovulation days may vary each month in a particular woman with a regular menstrual cycle. In women with irregular cycles, it is difficult to predict exact ovulation day. There are certain methods and symptoms which would aid in tracking the ovulation cycle.
• Change in consistency of vaginal discharge (becomes clear and slippery like egg white) and the amount of vaginal discharge also increases
• Mild ovulation pain in the lower abdomen (mittelschmerz)
• Spotting or mild bleeding
• Increased libido or sexual desire
• Fullness or tenderness in breasts
1. Transvaginal sonography
• Most accurate method
• Regular monitoring of follicular growth is done and ovulation is predicted.
2. Basal body temperature
• In this process, you have to record morning temperature daily for a month. Rise in
basal body temperature by 0.5-1 degree centigrade indicates ovulation.
3. Ovulation predictor kits
• These kits are easily available in the market. They work by detecting a luteinizing
hormone in urine. The ovulation predictor kit indicates LH surge, which means you may
Ovulate in the next 1-2 days.
4. Maintaining ovulation calendar
• In women with an irregular cycle, it is useful to maintain an ovulation calendar for
3-4 months and thus we can calculate average menstrual cycle length and thus
can predict ovulation day and fertile window.
5. Ovulation indicator apps
• Certain Mobile apps could also be used for pinpointing ovulation day.
This is the time frame during which if sexual intercourse is done then the chances of natural conception are higher. After ovulation, the life of an egg is 12-24 hours but the life of sperm is approximately 3 to 5 days. So, the best time to have intercourse is 3-4 days before ovulation to 1-2 days post ovulation.
Ovulation is thus a crucial factor affecting the chances of natural conception. It is therefore of utmost importance to understand your ovulation cycle and keep track of your ovulation day. In case of irregular periods or not being able to conceive for say 6 months to 1 year, it is always advisable to consult a gynecologist or an infertility expert.
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