How Pregnancy Occurs: Ovulation



 

What is Ovulation?

Ovulation occurs when a mature egg is released from the ovary, pushed down the fallopian tube and is available to be fertilized. The lining of the uterus has thickened to prepare for a fertilized egg. If no conception occurs, the uterine lining as well as blood will be shed. The shedding of an unfertilized egg and the uterine wall is the time of menstruation.

Key Facts of Ovulation:

  • An egg lives 12-24 hours after leaving the ovary
  • Normally only one egg is released each time of ovulation
  • Ovulation can be affected by stress, illness or disruption of normal routines
  • Some women may experience some light blood spotting during ovulation
  • Implantation of a fertilized egg normally takes place 6-12 days after ovulation
  • Each woman is born with millions of immature eggs that are awaiting ovulation to begin
  • A menstrual period can occur even if ovulation has not occurred
  • Ovulation can occur even if a menstrual period has not occurred
  • Some women can feel a bit of pain or aching, near the ovaries during ovulation called mittelscherz which means “middle pain” in German
  • If an egg is not fertilized, it disintegrates and is absorbed into the uterine lining

Tracking Ovulation:

A woman’s monthly cycle is measured from the first day of her menstrual period until the first day of her next period. On average, a woman’s cycle normally is between 28-32 days, but some women may have much shorter cycles or much longer ones. Ovulation can be calculated by starting with the day the last menstrual period (LMP) starts or by calculating 12-16 days from the next expected period. Most women ovulate anywhere between Day 11 – Day 21 of their cycle, counting from the first day of the LMP. This is what many refer to as the “fertile time” of a woman’s cycle, because sexual intercourse during this time increases the chance of pregnancy. Ovulation can occur at various times during a cycle, and may occur on a different day each month.

Infertility Information: If you have been trying to conceive for six months or more you may be experiencing challenges related to infertility.

Last Updated: 12/2006

Last updated: 03/2009