How Does Ovulation Work?

Even if you have had your monthly menstrual cycle for years, the details of the female reproductive system can still seem like a mystery. Whether you are trying to start a family, synch cycles with an egg donor, or are trying to prevent pregnancy, knowing the details and timing of your body’s cycles will help you better plan for the future.

Ovulation occurs when an egg has matured and is released from the ovary. Once the egg leaves the ovary, it travels down the fallopian tube and becomes available for fertilization. If fertilized, it travels to the uterus and eventually develops into a pregnancy.

Where does ovulation fall within my menstrual cycle?

When your menstrual flow begins, your cycle has reset to its follicular phase with a new egg. In this phase, your body will release a follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) that helps mature the new egg in preparation for release. Once the egg matures, a luteinizing hormone (LH) helps to trigger the egg’s release.

After approximately 24-36 hours, ovulation occurs and the egg is released from the ovary; this typically happens around day 14. The luteal phase follows ovulation, in which the uterine lining thickens in preparation for pregnancy for the following 12-14 days. If pregnancy does not occur, the lining will shed and your cycle will begin again.

What are the symptoms of ovulation?

Though not everyone experiences ovulation symptoms, there are a few indicators of the activity of your reproductive cycle you can look out for.

  • Breast tenderness
  • Heightened senses
  • Increased sex drive
  • Light spotting

The most common and noticeable symptom during ovulation is a change in vaginal discharge. You may notice more, or that the consistency is stretchy and clear; this change helps the sperm swim to the egg released during ovulation.

There are a number of reasons to keep track of where you are in your menstrual cycle, whether you’re thinking of starting a family or deciding your next reproductive health steps. Our staff has the clinical experience and expertise to provide the most comprehensive and compassionate care for whatever stage of your life you are in. If you have questions or would like to speak to an expert, contact us today.

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