You may or may not be aware of what ovulation is and what role it plays in the female system. Understanding ovulation will help you to better understand your own body and the processes it goes through each month.
What is ovulation?
Ovulation is the release of a mature egg from the ovary. The egg is matured within a fluid filled sac, known as a follicle, prior to ovulation. When ovulation occurs, this follicle ruptures and the egg is swept into the uterine (fallopian) tubes. From here, the egg will only be viable for 24-48 hours. If it is not fertilized within this time frame, it will die and will be expelled during menstruation.
Why is ovulation important?
Without ovulation, there is no egg available for fertilization. Without a mature egg, pregnancy is impossible to achieve.
When does ovulation occur?
Ovulation typically occurs halfway through a woman’s cycle (generally two weeks) however, the exact time of ovulation varies from woman to woman. Some women ovulate earlier or later than the middle of their cycle. It is not uncommon for women to experience cycles in which they don’t ovulate at all.
Do women experience symptoms when they ovulate?
Some women experience mild cramping sensations on the lower right and left side of the abdomen around the time of ovulation, however, most women are unaware of when ovulation has occurred.
How can I tell when I ovulated?
There are various methods women may use to determine whether or not they have ovulated. These methods include monitoring basal body temperature, using ovulation predictor kits and checking cervical mucous.
Monitoring the basal body temperature involves the woman taking her resting (basal) temperature every morning before rising from bed. By charting her temperature for several months, she will be able to see the trends and get a general idea of when she ovulates based on the spikes in her temperature.
Ovulation predictor kits are similar to a pregnancy test, however, these tests look for the lutenizing hormone, rather than HCG. These tests are taken daily using urine around the middle of a woman’s cycle for several days. Once a positive result is achieved, the woman should ovulate within 24-48 hours following the positive test.
The monitoring of cervical mucous involves the daily observance of the different states of the woman’s cervical mucous. Mucous that is thick, white and pasty is usually present when the woman is not fertile, while mucous that is thin, transparent and spreads between the fingers is usually present closer to ovulation.