Ovulation is a thing that is talked about when the conversations revolve around getting pregnant and being or not being fertile. But what is ovulation and what is its relevance to women? How important is tracking your ovulation cycle?
In simple terms, ovulation is the process of releasing an egg from the ovaries, which occurs 14 days before the beginning of your period. The closer you get to the day of ovulation, the more fertile a woman is.
The complex relationship of the female hormones consequently results in ovulation. This commences when the female hormones send chemical impulses to the various parts of the body to signal them of their corresponding functions. In ovulation, the most vital female hormones that are responsible for the efficient release of the eggs are the estrogen, progesterone, and luteinizing hormone.
The Vital Female Hormones
Estrogen. It is the most common of the three hormones and accounts for the growth and development of the female breasts. It is also the primary hormone that helps develop girls during their puberty. Its main function in ovulation is the regulation of one’s menstrual cycle.
Progesterone. It is primarily responsible for maintaining the safety and integrity of a woman’s pregnancy. It also aids in preparing the body for fertilization of the egg, which happens in the second half of the menstrual cycle. It thickens the uterine lining. Progesterone is also produced in the placenta during pregnancy.
Luteinizing hormone (LH). The LH works together with progesterone and estrogen in regulating the menstrual cycle, but its most crucial role happens just before and during ovulation. These hormones multiply to elicit the release of the egg.
The Menstrual Cycle Explained
We will be able to understand ovulation better if we learn more about the menstrual cycle. It consists of four phases, and we have listed them below.
- Menstruation. This doesn’t need much explanation. Bleeding occurs here as a result of the shedding of the uterine lining. The phase takes 3 to 7 days.
- Follicular Phase. Making up for the shedding, the body undergoes redeveloping. The ovarian follicles start to grow due to the release of the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) from the pituitary gland. The follicles then produce progesterone and estrogen, which help thicken the uterine lining in preparation for possible fertilization.
- Ovulation Phase. In this phase, the egg is now mature. It is then released after the surge of luteinizing hormones. After ovulation, the egg thrives for about 6 to 12 hours, but if there is the presence of cervical mucus, the sperm can also thrive for a few days where it waits for the egg. This so-called fertile window may result in pregnancy.
- Luteal Phase. This is the last phase, which occurs right after ovulation and just before a woman’s menstrual period. The follicle that contained the egg produces progesterone and then softens the lining for the fertilized egg to ‘rest.’ This whole phase usually takes 12 to 16 days. This phase determines whether or not the egg is fertile or not.
Know When You Ovulate
To be sure about when you ovulate, you need to know the length of your cycles and the physical signs to expect for. One cycle is counted beginning from day 1 of your period to day 1 of your next period. The timing of ovulation is not the same for all women; some may have longer cycles, and some may have shorter ones. If you have your period every 28 days approximately, then ovulation happens on day 14. Therefore, your chances of getting pregnant would be between the 11th and 14th day.
However, if your cycles are shorter, like 24 days, for example, day 10 would be the ovulation day, and the fertile window would be between the 7th and 10th day.
The Importance of Ovulation
It can be devastating for some women and couples to find ways and means to conceive but to no avail. It would be heart-wrenching for loving couples who have been married for so long yet have not seen the fruit of their love and companionship. This is the reason why the importance of knowing about ovulation and the ovulation cycle must be emphasized.
The whole gamut about fertility can be complicated, but certainly, a simple understanding of ovulation and where it fits into the fertility process is relevant in utilizing your fertile days. A woman’s ovulation only has one goal, and that is pregnancy. So you should take some time and effort in knowing more about it. Dig a little more into this. Good luck!
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