Ovulation is the phase of a woman's menstrual cycle when an ovum, also known as egg cell, is released from one of the ovaries through the fallopian tube to the uterus. Though the usual length of menstrual cycle is 28 days, this can differ from woman to woman. As a result, the time of ovulation would also be different.
Along with the length of the menstrual cycle, ovulation also depends on some other factors like hormone levels, physical activity, and stress. Though it is very difficult to know when ovulation actually occurs, it can be determined through various methods.
Time of Ovulation
If a woman's menstrual cycle is 28 days, ovulation is most likely to occur on the 14th day, starting from the first day of her period. However, there are many women who experience irregular periods, and in such cases, there are chances of the menstrual cycle to be anywhere between 21-35 days long.
If this happens, the woman may ovulate anywhere between the 8th day to the 20th day of her period. Thus, it is actually the length of the menstrual cycle that determines the time of ovulation. When a woman ovulates, the egg stays in the uterus for 12-24 hours, and begins to disintegrate if it is not fertilized by a sperm.
Though there are very rare chances for the release of eggs from both the ovaries at the same time, these cases do occur, sometimes leading to the conception of fraternal twins. The ovulation time can also be different every month for the same person.
Ovulation time is the most fertile period for a woman. Though the egg stays in the reproductive system only for 12-24 hours, a woman's fertile period can extend up to 5-7 days because a sperm has the ability to survive in the woman's body and fertilize the egg when it ovulates.
Signs of Ovulation
Although it is not possible to know whether one is ovulating overtly, there are certain changes that a woman may experience while this process takes place. One of the ways with which a woman can keep a track of her ovulation and period is by using an ovulation calendar, marking the 14th day from the first day of her periods.
However, as ovulation need not be the same with every woman, there are other methods to tell you are ovulating.
Increase in Body Temperature
It is said that some days before and on the day of ovulation, the basal body temperature of the woman increases. You have to measure your body temperature every morning with a special thermometer, and note it down in the calendar. When the temperature increases slightly, it is likely that it is the time for ovulation.
Another symptom of ovulation is abdominal pain. Some women experience pain in their lower abdomen when they are ovulating. However, this is not a clear method of determining the time of ovulation in a woman. One can also experience other premenstrual symptoms like breast tenderness or enlargement, moodiness, etc.
Change in Cervical Mucus
Change in the appearance and texture of the cervical mucus can also indicate that you are ovulating. Usually, the cervical fluid is thick and cloudy; however, during ovulation it becomes clear, faint, and stretchy.
Another method one can use is the ovulation-predictor test. It is an easy and cheap way to examine whether one is ovulating. Although there is no foolproof method to pinpoint the occurrence of ovulation, keeping a regular track of your menstrual cycle can specify the approximate date of ovulation.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.