When a developed egg is let go from the ovary, moved though the fallopian tube and ready for fertilization, this is ovulation. The uterus lining is prepared, excited and eager to receive a fertilized egg. At this point, if there is no conception or fertilization, the uterine lining is shed through menstruation.
All about Ovulation
- About 12-24 hours after leaving the ovary the egg is still viable and could be fertilized.
- Only one egg is released during ovulation
- If you are stressed, sick or your normal routines are disrupted, there may be no ovulation
- You might know you are ovulating if you have light blood spotting
- Ovulation can happen even when there is no menstrual period
- If an egg is not fertilized, it is absorbed into the uterine lining
The ovulation cycle is divided into two parts. The first is the follicular phase. This phase starts the first day of your last menstrual period or LMP and continues until actual ovulation. This half of the cycle is very different for each woman and can last from seven to forty days. Phase two is the luteal phase and starts at the day of ovulation until the next period. The luteal phase is short and is only twelve to sixteen days long. Basically, the day ovulation begins determines how long your cycle is. Outside factors can disrupt the normal routine and throw off your ovulation time. This changes the timing of your period.
Using fertility awareness is a good way to track when conception can happen. This includes recognizing the changes in cervical mucus and using a basal thermometer. Fluids change to a wet and slippery substance just before ovulation and this fluid substance lasts until ovulation is finished. Body heat is increased. Basal thermometers track this increase in body temperature that signals ovulation. If you are trying to get pregnant, now is the time to do it.
Track the progress of your cycle through kits and fertility monitors. Tracking your phases gives you a better idea of when pregnancy can occur during a monthly cycle. When it is over or has happened, there is absolutely nothing you can do to increase chances of pregnancy. Now you just need to wait for the signs of pregnancy or move on with your regular menstrual cycle.
Estrogen levels are low when the menstrual cycle begins. The hypothalamus, the gland in charge of maintaining hormone levels, tells your pituitary gland which in turn sends out the follicle stimulating hormone FSH. FSH triggers your follicles to mature. One of these follicles releases a mature egg. More estrogen is sent out and the hypothalamus and pituitary gland rejoice; there is a mature egg!
Next step involves the luteinizing hormone or LH being released and the LH surge begins. The egg busts through the ovary wall and begins its journey down the fallopian tube for possible fertilization. The follicle or corpus luteum releases progesterone that thickens and prepares the uterine lining for implantation. This corpus luteum continues to produce progesterone until the placenta takes over (if you are pregnant). Watch for pregnancy symptoms a mere week after fertilization. However if fertilization does not occur, the egg dissolves after 24 hours. Hormone levels decrease, uterine lining sheds, and the process begins again.
The process is a bit confusing and even more overwhelming. Use an ovulation calculator or calendar, pee strip kit or fertility monitor to maximize your chances of knowing when ovulation occurs and the best time to become pregnant or to take precautions to avoid it. Learn to take charge of your body, learn the signs and symptoms; this gives you a heads-up in your health and welfare.