Women's Health Last updated on 2022-04-09 20:45:44
The Fertility Window: All About Ovulation Tracking
- Dr. Sreelekha Daruvuri
- 3 Min Read
- Fact Checked
Ovulation and how it's related to the Menstrual cycleThe menstrual cycle starts from day 1 of periods. Here are a few details about the menstrual cycle.
(1) Normal cycles range between 21 to 35 days, and on average, it's 28 days. The first five days are the menstruation phase.
(2) This phase is then followed by the stimulation of the ovary to produce the ovum by the hormones released from the pituitary gland.
(3) Ovulation is a process where an egg/ovum is released from the ovary, and this usually happens on day 14 of a 28-day cycle. But for someone with a 32-day cycle, ovulation happens on the 18th day. In short, ovulation day is estimated as 14 days before day 1 of the menstrual cycle and depends on many factors, including hormonal levels.
(4) The most important hormone that helps in ovulation is the LH hormone released from the pituitary gland. LH surge happens around 16 to 24 hrs. before ovulation. This is important for the release of the ovum. Besides the LH hormone, another hormone at its peak is estrogen, which happens almost 24 to 36 hrs. before ovulation.
(5) Due to these high levels of hormones, certain changes in the body happen, which can help us track ovulation.
(6) Post ovulation, progesterone is released from the ovary, which helps thicken the endometrial lining, and their levels continue to rise until two days before menstruation. Also, due to a drop in hormone levels in this phase, menstrual bleeding occurs.
Fertility windowThe egg is fertilizable for 12 to 24 hrs. meaning it can lead to pregnancy if the egg is fertilized within a day of ovulation. Sperm, on the other hand, lives for five days, but the capacity to fertilize the ovum is for 72 hrs. or three days. The fertility window is for a period of 6 days, including the day of ovulation. The chances of pregnancy are high when couples participate in sexual intercourse during this period. For example, for a woman who has a 28-day cycle, the fertility window is from 9 to 14 days with 14th-day ovulation. However, this does not mean that having sexual intercourse on other days will not lead to pregnancy. The chances are less if sexual intercourse is done on other days apart from the fertility window. Tracking ovulation helps in increasing the chances of pregnancy. There are certain methods to track ovulation which include.
(1) Rise in body temperature: There is a 0.5 - 1 degree increase in basal body temperature due to ovulation, and it will stay until menstruation begins. Recording the temperature every day for 2 to 3 months helps you see what the basal temperature is.
(2) Cervical mucus change: The cervical mucus, commonly called white discharge, changes its consistency to watery, thin, string-like five days before or during ovulation. It appears like 'egg white' , clear and sticky. The consistency changes to thick and white color after ovulation
(3) Ovulation kits: These kits measure certain substances like LH or estrogen products in urine that help detect ovulation.
(4) Abdomen pain: Also called Mittelschmerz pain, it can occur due to mild inflammation that happens in the process of ovulation.Other signs include bloating, breast tenderness, and spotting. These are non-specific signs, and using more than one method to detect ovulation can increase the predictability of ovulation. The best time to have sexual intercourse for getting pregnant is during the fertile window period. Having sexual intercourse during the fertile window period increases the chances of conceiving. The ovulation tracker helps to track ovulation. Having an ovulation tracker also can help in identifying PCOS. However, the ovulation tracking methods are not confirmatory, and they only help in spotting the ovulation day. If one is planning for pregnancy and cannot conceive for more than six months to 1 year, you need to consult a fertility specialist.
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