The Phases of Ovulation; what really happens?

Ovulation:  By now, we have become familiar with AF, however do most of us really know what happens during ovulation?

During the first half of a woman’s cycle, the FSH or follicle stimulating hormone is produced. This hormone is what tells your body to begin the process of maturing the eggs for ovulation. The eggs that are maturing are contained within a follicle until they are ready for ovulation. While your eggs are maturing, the follicle continues to enlarge and produces estrogen while doing so.  The high levels of estrogen in your body are what cause the LH surge or the Luteinizing Hormone surge. This LH surge is what causes the matured egg to release from the follicle = ovulation.

The second half of a woman’s cycle is called the luteal phase. The remaining part of the follicle, after the egg has been released creates progesterone which will help to thicken the lining of the uterus for the egg to implant if conception occurs. If you become pregnant, the growing embryo delivers hcG to your body. If you do not become pregnant, the levels of progesterone and estrogen begin to drop; signaling to your body to shed the uterine lining resulting in menstruation. The luteal phase may last 12-14 days depending on the individual length of a woman’s cycle.

Factors Affecting Ovulation: 

  • Hormones
  • Stress
  • Health & Wellness
  • Disruption to a woman’s normal routine

Facts about Ovulation:

  • Generally only one egg is released per cycle.
  • The egg lives approximately 12-24 hours after being released.
  • Women are born with millions of eggs; that number decreases as they age.
  • An egg that is unfertilized will disintegrate and be shed with the lining during menstruation.
  • Some women experience minor pain or discomfort when ovulating, some experience light spotting.

Some signs of ovulation:

Basal Body Temperature– a woman’s body temperature will rise sharply when her body has released an egg. The rise in body temperature is to stimulate progesterone. Charting your basal body temperature for a couple of months prior to TTC will get you familiar with your monthly cycle.

Cervical Mucus – the consistency, coloring and amount of the cervical mucus changes closer to a woman’s most fertile timeframe. This is where the term “egg whites” comes into play. The mucus is said to resemble the consistency and coloring of egg whites when you are most fertile.

Middle Pain– Many women may feel a slight twinge or discomfort in their lower abdomen, concentrated on one side when they ovulate.

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