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When you ovulate, a mature egg is released from the ovary and moves into the fallopian tubes, where it is available to be fertilized. If the egg is not fertilized, the lining of the uterus, which has thickened to prepare for fertilization, will be shed through menstruation.
When Does Ovulation Occur?
Ovulation can occur at different times of a woman’s menstrual cycle, depending on the number of days of the woman’s cycle. The average menstrual cycle
is usually between 28 to 32 days. Women with a 28-day menstrual cycle usually ovulate between days 13 to 15, or about two weeks after the start of her period.
What Happens During Ovulation?
During ovulation, an egg is released from your ovary and is ready to be fertilized. An egg is available for fertilization for only 12 to 24 hours. On the other hand, sperm can live in the body for 3 to 5 days, making most women fertile for around 5 to 7 days. This means you can get pregnant from intercourse that occurred either just before or just after ovulation.
Right before ovulation, you will experience a luteinizing hormone (LH) surge. Your
luteinizing hormone is linked to your ovarian hormone production and egg maturation. Within 24 to 36 hours of your LH surge, your mature egg will be released for fertilization. Your egg will dissolve after around 24 hours if the egg is not fertilized.
Signs of Ovulation
There are several physical ovulation signs that may let you know when you are about to ovulate. Your amount of cervical mucus will increase, and its texture will change to a white, slippery consistency, which is key to creating a healthy environment through which sperm can travel.
Your basal body temperature (BBT) will also rise. Before ovulation, your BBT should be lower. After ovulation, your BBT should increase by around 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit. This increase should be maintained for about 14 days.
Other secondary signs of ovulation, which may not occur consistency in all women, can include light spotting, slight cramping, breast tenderness, abdominal bloating, and increased sex drive.
Read more about ovulation within FertilityAuthority's Ask Dr Fertility resource.