Ovulation is the process by which a woman’s ovary releases a mature egg into the fallopian tube for impregnation. The ovulation stage can be broken down into three phases: pre-ovulation, ovulation, and post-ovulation.
The pre-ovulation phase begins on the first day of your period and continues until ovulation. When you are ovulating, the mucous becomes stretchy and clear, resembling egg whites.
The next phase is the actual ovulation phase. Most women ovulate sometime between the 12th and the 21st day after your last period starts. Sometimes there can be a slight pain, much like a cramp on the side of the abdomen the ovary is releasing the egg. At this time, a woman is fertile. This phase lasts from 24 to 48 hours.
The post-ovulation phase begins on the day of ovulation and lasts until the next period. If the egg has been fertilized it will implant into the womb, if not, it is flushed out with the lining of the uterus as the period.
There are multiple products on the market that can assist you in knowing if you are ovulating. Additionally, you can download a number of apps from your app store. These apps can help you track your ovulation and period, making it easier for you to know which days you are the most fertile.
Other things you should know about ovulation:
- By tracking your ovulation you can plan or prevent pregnancy.
- Sometimes ovulation can happen later than normal and can affect your fertility. If this happens see a doctor to prevent infertility issues.
- During ovulation, your egg is fertile for 12 to 24 hours.
- If you ovulate after intercourse, there is a possibility of getting pregnant up to seven days afterwards.
- Other signs you are ovulating include changes in your cervical mucus, cervical position, and cervical firmness. Sometimes this also includes spotting, increased sex drive, breast sensitivity, abdominal bloating, heightened sense of smell, and changes in the basal body temperature.
(American Pregnancy Association, 2017).
- Parents Magazine (2017) reports that body weight and other conditions such as lupus, diabetes, arthritis, stress, alcohol, smoking, and some medications can change your ovulation cycle.