When it is that time of the month, and all you can think of is the scary little monster that you will turn into, the entire natural process of ovulation will be the last thing on your mind. So, make sure you are reading this before it’s time for the bloody warriors to arrive!
The release of an egg by the ovary triggered by hormones changes in each menstrual cycle is termed as ovulation. This process normally occurs around 12-16 days before your next cycle starts. This is known as the ovulation period in the cycle. The first day of period when the bleeding starts is considered as first day of the cycle. Although it seems like a simple thing to our eyes, our body goes through a lot of changes on the inside and is working hard during this time to either help you conceive or to start your next menstrual cycle. We shall read about the process in detail in this article.
Understanding the Ovulation Cycle
The level of oestrogen in the body increases during this time which eventually causes a quick rise in the Luteinising Hormone (the ‘LH surge’). This LH surge triggers the major follicle to rupture and discharges the mature egg from the ovary. This egg then enters the Fallopian tube. This is the process of ovulation.
It is assumed by many women that they ovulate on the 14th day, but 14 is just an average, and may vary from women to women as they will ovulate on different days of menstrual cycle and this may also vary from cycle to cycle. Some women claim to feel a cramping sensation when they ovulate, but most women do not have any sensation at all and there won’t be any sign that you are ovulating.
As the egg (or ovum) releases, it moves along the Fallopian tube towards the womb. An egg can survive up to 24 hours whereas a sperm’s survival is more variable, typically 3-5 days, so the days closer to ovulation and the day of ovulation are the most fertile. As soon as ovulation occurs, the follicles starts producing another hormone known as progesterone. At this stage, symptoms of pre-menstrual tension (PMS) begins to appear such as breast tenderness, bloating, lethargy, depression and irritability.
The Ovulatory Phase
The Ovulatory Phase happens in the middle of the menstrual cycle. An increase in the luteinizing hormone (LH) level is the reason for the mature follicle to burst and release the egg into the fallopian tube, which is usually around day 14. This is universally called as ovulation. From the ovary, once the egg travels to the fallopian tube, it then awaits potential fertilization by a sperm.
The best days for conception are generally between 11 to 17 days which are the days leading up to and immediately after ovulation. If the egg is not fertilized, it will dissipate within 12 to 24 hours.
The best time to get pregnant
You’re most likely to get pregnant if you have sex within a day or so of ovulation (releasing an egg from the ovary). This is usually about 14 days after the first day of your last period, if your cycle is around 28 days long. An egg lives for about 12-24 hours after being released. For pregnancy to happen, the egg must be fertilised by a sperm within this time. Sperm can live for up to seven days inside a woman’s body. So if you’ve had sex in the days before ovulation, the sperm will have had time to travel up the fallopian tubes to “wait” for the egg to be released. It’s difficult to know exactly when ovulation happens, unless you are practising natural family planning, or fertility awareness.
Have frequent sex If you want to get pregnant, having sex every couple of days throughout the month will give you the best chance. You don’t need to time having sex only around ovulation. Trying to do this can be stressful, and being stressed may mean you have less sex.