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Understanding Ovulation Can Help You Get Pregnant

 Understanding Ovulation Can Help You Get Pregnant

Understanding your ovulation can help improve your chances of getting pregnant

Studies show that couples – as many as 1 in 2 – could be trying to conceive on the wrong days because they do not have a complete understanding of the woman’s menstrual cycle and the ovulation process.

Here are some facts about your eggs:

  • Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have (~400,000 per ovary).
  • By the time of woman’s first menstrual period about 180,000 eggs remain in each of her ovary.
  • The number of eggs per ovary drops to 25,000 by the time a woman is 37 years old. That egg number falls to zero by menopause. 
  • Each month about 1,000 eggs start to slowly develop.

Here are some facts about your menstrual cycle:

  • Your first day of menstruation is considered the first day of your new menstrual cycle.
  • There are only a few days within the menstrual cycle when pregnancy can occur.
  • During the first part of the menstrual cycle eggs are being matured inside the ovaries so they are ready for release from one of the ovaries.
  • Eggs inside the ovary compete with each other to become the single egg that will be ultimately released during ovulation of that month’s menstrual cycle. That egg is the one that can then fertilize with the sperm. The rest of the eggs that matured but where not released die and are absorbed back into the body.  

Here are some facts about the process of ovulation:

  • Ovulation is the process that occurs when your hormones trigger the release of an egg from your ovary.
  • Ovulation usually happens 12 to 16 days before the start of your menstrual period (first day of your menstrual cycle).
  • The average woman will ovulate 400 times during her reproductive years.
  • The body produces estrogen as ovulation gets closer. Estrogen is the hormone that increases the lining of the uterus. When the uterus thickens it creates a friendly environment for sperm to move around.
  • Estrogen increase triggers a sudden increase in another hormone called luteinsing hormone (LH.) This LH surge causes the release of the mature egg from the ovary. This is when ovulation occurs.
  • Ovulation usually occurs 24 to 36 hours after the LH surge, which is why the LH surge is a good predictor of the best time to be able to conceive.

Here are some facts about your fertile window:

  • You are most fertile in the 3 days leading up to, and including, ovulation day. During this time the egg is living in your fallopian tube where it must be fertilized within 12-24 hours or it will die.
  • If fertilization occurs the egg will divide into two identical cells and continue to subdivide while it slowly moves down the fallopian tube towards the uterus.
  • If fertilization does not occur, the egg in the fallopian tube disintegrates, progesterone levels fall, and you will release the tissues that were built up along the uterine wall about 12-16 days later, which is when you menstruate.
  • Sperm are viable for a longer time than the egg is viable, usually anywhere from 3 to 6 days. This means that if you have sex a few days before your ovulation, you will most likely have enough active sperm to get pregnant.
  • It only takes one sperm to get pregnant.

Knowing when ovulation occurs is the key to getting pregnant. Taking the time to learn how to predict your ovulation can mean the difference between success and failure. There are several different ways to predict ovulation including ovulation calculation methods, temperature charting, noticing cervical changes, and ovulation predictor kits (see our related blog on this particular topic).

Would you like to learn more about your own menstrual cycle? Have questions on how best to predict your ovulation? Schedule a free 15-minute consultation here that will give you quick and convenient access to top US fertility expert from the comfort of your home.

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