Timing is everything – in your career, in finding love and when it comes to making babies! For all of you trying to conceive, it is very important to be familiar with that particular moment during the menstrual cycle when a woman is most fertile and thus more likely to get pregnant. This “moment“ is called ovulation and knowing what it is and how to recognize it can significantly increase your chances of getting pregnant. It’s good to remember that most women can only conceive five to six days out of every month, which is why it’s even more important to seize the “moment“.
Here are the five most frequently asked questions and answers about ovulation you might find useful if you are planning to get pregnant.
- What is exactly ovulation?
Simply put, ovulation is the phase during the menstrual cycle when you can get pregnant and this is possible because one of your ovaries releases a mature egg or ovum. Typically, a woman ovulates one egg each month and only occasionally two. To be more specific, an acute rise of LH (luteinising hormone) triggers part of your ovary called an ovarian follicle to discharge a ripe egg that then travels down the Fallopian tube connecting the ovaries to the womb. During this process, an egg can be fertilized. But if fertilization doesn’t happen within 24 hours of its release, the egg will dissolve. So, good timing is literally everything!
- When does ovulation happen?
Ovulation happens four days before or four days after your cycle’s midpoint.
If your menstrual cycle is a textbook 28-day one, ovulation usually happens around day 14. But if it, for example, a shorter 24-day cycle, it happens at day 10. If your average menstrual cycle starts every 35 days, ovulation for you happens around day 21.
But because ovulation doesn’t always occur on the same day within the cycle, and because it can change with age or be easily affected by factors such as stress or change in diet – predicting when it will take place is not always as simple as it sounds. Also, sometimes the menstrual cycle can just be irregular.
- So, I can only get pregnant during ovulation?
No! Even though an egg can be fertilized up to 24 hours after it is released, sperm can live up to 5 days inside a woman’s body. This means a woman can get pregnant even during the period prior to ovulation.
- What is a ‘fertile window’?
‘Fertile window’ refers to the most fertile days in your menstrual cycle during which you are most likely to get pregnant. It includes 5 days leading to the day of ovulation and the day of ovulation itself. These six days are your most fertile days and the likelihood of conceiving significantly increases if you have sex in the three days leading up to and including ovulation. This means that if your menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, your best chance of conceiving is between days 11 and 14. If it last 24 days, your ‘fertile window’ is between days 7 and 10. But if it’s longer and lasts 35 days, your best chances are between days 18 and 21.
- What are the symptoms of ovulation?
Some women experience symptoms while ovulating, while others don’t. Not every woman can rely on symptoms of ovulation when determining its occurrence.
But when there are symptoms, these are the most common:
– mild cramping and lower abdominal pain;
– increased libido;
– a subtle rise in basal body temperature;
– changes in vaginal discharge;
– breast soreness or tenderness, and so on.