The American Pregnancy Association suggests that many women ovulate 11 to 21 days after your last menstrual period ends. You may also ovulate 12 to 16 days before your next period begins. However, several factors may impact the timing of ovulation. It can also take several months of paying close attention to your body to determine when you ovulate. Those who need to know when they ovulate can purchase products like predictor kits and monitors to help them discover the exact timing.
What Is Ovulation?
When a female's egg reaches maturity, it's released by the ovary, ready to be fertilized. This is ovulation. If the egg is fertilized, it travels to the uterus and begins the process of becoming a human being. If it isn't fertilized, it disintegrates. The uterus then sheds its lining, and a woman experiences her period.
Signs of Ovulation
Your body may also let you know when it's ovulating by providing you with signs like light spotting, pain on one side of the abdomen, and changes to your cervical fluid and position. When who are ovulating may experience an increased sex drive, tenderness in the breasts, bloating, and an increased sense of sight, smell, taste, and hearing. If you are charting your basal body temperature, those changes can also help you predict ovulation.
How Long Does Ovulation Last?
While every woman's body is different, ovulation typically lasts as little as 12 hours or as many as 24. However, you don't have to have sex during this small window to get pregnant. Sperm can live inside the female body for up to five days after intercourse, and if sperm is present at the moment of ovulation, the odds of it resulting in pregnancy are heightened. For this reason, couples who are trying to get pregnant should have sex frequently for the five or six days leading up to ovulation. Couples who do not wish to become pregnant should take extra precautions during these six or seven days.
What Impacts Ovulation?
Most women don't have a typical 28-day menstrual cycle, so keeping track of your own personal cycle can help you determine when you'll ovulate. However, some underlying factors can delay, speed up, or prevent ovulation. Stress, diet, and body weight can all affect ovulation as can medical conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis. Adolescents who have just started menstruation, or women nearing menopause may also experience changes to ovulation.
Improving the Odds of Pregnancy
While keeping up with your menstrual cycle and time of ovulation is one of the best ways to increase your chances of getting pregnant, there are other things women can do to improve their fertility. They include maintaining a healthy body weight, avoiding alcohol, and stopping smoking. Having regular intercourse with your partner can also help improve your odds. Living a healthy lifestyle is important too. Eat well and get plenty of exercise and plenty of sleep. It's also important to reduce stress and handle any health problems you may have.