What is Ovulation ?
We’ve all heard the word ‘ovulation’ time and again, and know that it has something to do with our menstrual cycles. But what exactly is it?
Ovulation refers to the process of the release of an egg from your ovary. When the egg is released, there are chances of it being fertilised by the sperm. In case the egg is fertilised, it may travel to the uterus and eventually lead to a pregnancy. If the egg is not fertilised, the uterine lining is shed during your periods. It is essential to understand the process of ovulation in case you want a pregnancy, or even if you don’t!
When does Ovulation happen?
Generally, ovulation happens somewhere in the middle of the menstrual cycle. It is most likely going to happen around the 14th day in a 28-day cycle, but then every woman’s body works differently. In a nutshell, the ovulation period is four days before or after your cycle’s midpoint.
The process begins with the release of the Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH), which is somewhere between the 6th and 14th day of your menstrual cycle. This hormone is responsible for helping the egg inside your ovary to mature. Once the egg is mature, the body secretes the Luteinizing hormone (LH) that aids in the release of the egg. The follicle from which the egg is released is called the Corpus Luteum, and it releases progesterone that helps the uterine lining for implantation. Ovulation generally takes place 28 to 36 hours after the release of this hormone!
Ovulation and fertility
The menstrual cycle is in reset mode, the moment your menses begin. This is generally the beginning of the follicular phase, when the egg matures and then prepares to release during ovulation. After the ovulation period, starts the luteal phase. If pregnancy happens during this time, certain hormones will be secreted that will prevent the uterine lining from shedding. Otherwise, menses will start around day 28 of the cycle, which marks the onset of the next period.
Besides, ovulation is not the only time you can get pregnant. While egg can only be fertilised in the 12 to 24 hours after its release, the sperm can live for as long as five days. In case you have sex in the days prior to ovulation or on the day of the ovulation, there are chances you could get pregnant. The fertile window is generally the six days that lead up to and include the ovulation period.
What generally happens is that the sperm stays in the fallopian tubes for a few days after you have sex. This is generally to fertilise the egg once it has been released. Once the egg reaches the fallopian tubes, it lives for about 24 hours. You only need to have sex once during this fertile period to get pregnant. To increase your chances, you could also indulge in sexual intercourse several times during this time. The best time to get pregnant is two days prior to ovulation and the day of ovulation, too! In case you do not want to get pregnant, make sure to use protection during the fertile window.
One can start looking for pregnancy symptoms as early as the week after fertilisation. While there aren’t too many symptoms of ovulation, the most common sign is an increase in vaginal discharge. The discharge is often clear and resembles raw egg whites! After ovulation, the discharge secreted is much lower in volume and appears thick and cloudy. Some women also experience light bleeding or spotting, tenderness in the breasts, as well as discomfort in the abdominal area.
Factors such as stress or any kind of illness can affect ovulation and result in changes in your period. You could have an early period or maybe even a delayed one, which is why, it is always better to track your ovulation cycle to get a better idea.
The timing of ovulation is extremely important and helps a woman understand her body. This is the biggest factor that determines pregnancy and also makes you feel more in charge of your health. Once ovulation has occurred, there is nothing you can do to increase your chances of pregnancy. The best step is to track your ovulation cycle, so that you know when’s the right time to get pregnant. After all, there’s nothing better than being prepared!