Ovulation happens when the female’s egg gets released from the ovary. It is then pushed into the Fallopian tube. The uterus is being prepared for possible fertilization with the thickening of the uterus wall. If no conception occurs, the lining and some blood will be shed. This shedding of the egg and the lining plus blood is called menstruation. Each time a female undergoes a menstrual cycle, ovarian follicles mature. They mature and develop with the help of pituitary hormones. A dominant follicle produces an egg which will be released and possibly fertilized. A growing follicle secretes estrogen in increasing amounts. If the estrogen production peaks, this will surge the production of luteinizing hormone. This surge will allow the release of the egg from the follicle.
Fertilization Window of Time
The follicle that released the egg is now known as the corpus luteum and it begins to secrete a hormone called progesterone. The egg is expected to live around 12 to 24 hours. It could live even less than that. In order to ensure conception, fertilization must happen within that time frame. After that time frame, the egg can no longer be fertilized. It really is a short span of time when fertilization is possible. However, sperm can live longer and if it’s deposited before ovulation it is able to survive in the female reproductive tract for a few days and conception can still happen.
Luteal Phase vs Follicular Phase
Ovulation is a phase of the menstrual cycle. When the follicles are developing, this phase is called follicular phase. The luteal phase comes after the development of follicles. The length of the follicular phase is not the same from one cycle to another. On the other hand, the luteal phase is constant from cycle to cycle. The luteal phase lasts from 10 to 16 days.
When Specifically Does Ovulation Occur?
Ovulation generally takes place around two weeks before a woman gets her period. It may vary from 10 to 16 days before the onset of menstruation. In an average 28-day cycle the ovulation will take place between the 13th and the 15th day of the cycle. Since some women do not have a generally regular cycle this may vary from time to time.
Remember that ovulation can happen even if the menstrual period has yet to occurred. At the same time, menstrual period can occur without ovulation. Normal ovulation can be affected by stress, illness and other factors that may throw off the above mentioned phases. There are incidents where more than one egg is released. However, in normal cases only one egg is released.
How do you Know you are Ovulating?
It is important that you know some of the facts about ovulation. When your menstrual cycle begins, your estrogen levels are low. A follicle stimulating hormone is released to trigger the production of eggs. One of the follicles will become the dominant follicle which will produce the egg. An increase in estrogen levels will tell the female’s body that there is an egg waiting to be fertilized.
By understanding how women ovulate, you are understanding how reproductive process works. The process can be confusing. It is best that you partner with a healthcare professional or your gynecologist for more information.