Health

The Fertility Window: Understanding and Tracking Ovulation

Women have a chance of getting pregnant for a few days every month. This fertility window – the day of ovulation and five days preceding it – offers the best opportunity to conceive. No doubt, tracking ovulation is painful, and irregular monthly cycles make it more intricate to identify the exact date. However, the body of a woman exhibits a specific unique pattern and signs every month as it undergoes ovulation, and you can recognize the timing with an eye on these symptoms.

Here is a detailed guide on understanding and tracking ovulation.

Understanding Ovulation

Ovulation refers to ovaries releasing one or more eggs for fertilization. The ovary produces and passes eggs into the fallopian tube, where these join sperms to form the zygote, the first stage of the embryo.  This process occurs every month almost halfway the monthly cycle when either of the ovaries discharges a mature egg waiting to unite with sperms released by your partner during the intercourse.

A woman’s body shows evidence of some changes during this period—these signs when carefully read help tracking ovulation and maximize your chance of conceiving.

The egg stays in the fallopian tube for 24 hours. Unless it meets sperms there within that time, it disintegrates leading to the loss of the ability to conceive for that month. Sperms can survive in the fallopian tube for up to five days. So, the closer is the intercourse to the time of ovulation, the better is the chance of conception. You have the best opportunity to become pregnant when you have frequent sex within five to six days of ovulation.

With the onset of ovulation, the uterine walls become thick to be able to hold the egg fertilized by sperms. If no fertilization occurs, the uterine wall thins out, leading to shedding of blood. This results in menstruation.

Things To Know About Ovulation

  • The most common assertion is that ovulation begins your monthly cycle halfway. However, there is no conclusive evidence to identify the 14th day as the exact day of ovulation. Not even in those with a perfect 28 or 30-day cycles. Research shows it starts between a few days and a few weeks following the menstrual. The period also varies from one woman to another.
  • Those tracking ovulation time must consider 10 to 20 days following the monthly period as the best time.
  • The lifestyle, nutrition, job, stress, health, and environment influence the menstrual cycle, and so is the day of ovulation.
  • The fertilized egg stays active for up to 24 hours.
  • Either ovary releases one egg every month. In some cases, there may be more than one egg released, leading to the birth of twins or multiples.
  • If the egg can meet sperms in the fallopian tube, the zygote is formed. The fertilized egg moves to the uterus and takes about 6 to 12 days for implantation.
  • An unfertilized egg disintegrates and soaked up by the uterine wall.

How Does Ovulation Occur?

Follicle-stimulating hormone stimulates the development of 5 to 10 follicles or small spherical group of cells. With growth, these cells amplify the production of estrogen hormone. The strongest of these cells mature into the egg and released by the ovary.

Luteinizing hormone is known to contribute to ovulation. When an egg becomes mature, there is a sharp rise in the estrogen levels. As a reaction, the luteinizing hormone initiates the ovulation process that leads to the release of the egg. Once ovulation is over without fertilization, you have to wait until the next cycle to conceive.

Ovulation occurs each month until you can become pregnant. However, the number and strength of eggs vary with the level of fertility.

Symptoms Helpful in Tracking Ovulation

  • A mild pain-like sensation is felt between the 11th and 22nd days following the onset of the menstrual cycle. It is not exactly pain, but a sudden and steady feel of discomfort for 2 or 3 days and could be a potent sign to start tracking ovulation.
  • A slight drop in basal temperature by about a half a degree marks the ovulation time. The temperature starts fluctuating or dropping a day before the release of the egg and rises once the ovulation is over, as the progesterone level increases. You may track ovulation with careful monitoring of basal temperature over months.
  • You may observe clear, slippery, and stretchy cervical mucus-secreting around the ovulation period due to the rise in estrogen hormone. It remains sticky, creamy, or watery in regular times.
  • A soft, open, high, and wet cervix is indicative of the fertility window. Else it remains low and hard.
  • Breasts become tender and sensitive during ovulation.
  • The simultaneous increase in sexual desire, energy level, and enhanced sensory attributes are other standard signals of ovulation.
  • Water retention and mid-cycle spotting also signal impending ovulation time.

Awareness about your fertility window empowers you to have the most excellent chance of getting pregnant. If you have the family plans on the cards, tracking ovulation is highly desirable. It is the only way to know when you have the best chance of conceiving. Here are a few tips for tracking ovulation.

Tips for Tracking Ovulation

Make a menstrual calendar. Note down your dates over a few months when pregnancy is a priority for you. Ovulation starts two weeks before the next year, and you stay fertile for six days ending on the ovulation day. Calculate the fertile window and plan your lovemaking accordingly.

Paying close attention to your body signs is another effective way of tracking ovulation. Learn the symptoms and be attentive to their manifestation. No doubt individual symptoms could be misleading in many cases, but viewing their exclusiveness and occurrence alongside each other is an assurance of identifying and tracking ovulation successfully.

Monitor your body temperature to see the variation after a particular time-lapse following your menstrual. The temperature remains low in the first half of the month and increases by about half a degree in the second half.  The timing when the body temperature increases is an indication of your monthly ovulation time. Write down your temperature over a few days between the 10th and 22nd days following the menstrual. Assess the period for a few months to become sure of it and able to anticipate ovulation time in the coming months.

Check your cervix regularly between the first and third weeks of the monthly cycle. It helps you notice cervical changes, a critical factor in tracking ovulation. The usually finger-tip-like hard cervix becomes softer around the ovulation time in anticipation of pregnancy. Cervical mucus also changes with rising estrogen hormone in the blood. When you feel cervical changes alongside mucus transformation, it is an indication of ovulation time.

Predictor Kit for Tracking Ovulation

Use an ovulation predictor kit to zero on the exact timing of ovulation. Women widely use these kits for tracking ovulation and help you know the date 24 hours in advance.  The predictor test should be done ten days after you have the last menstrual. If it shows positive, you may have impending ovulation in the next one or two days.

Alternatives

If due to some medical condition or by her choice, a woman can not or does not want to get pregnant yet intends to grow the family, then surrogacy is the best choice to grow family. It’s recommended to get in touch with egg donation and surrogacy centre such as Rite Options for the best answers.

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