Ovulation in a simple term is when the ovary releases an egg for fertilization. Ovulation time is different for all women, the period before the egg is released and when the egg is released is called fertile window. The fertile window is within 5 days, meaning you are able to conceive within these days in every cycle. The egg (ova) when released by the ovary can only last for 24 hours after which it disintegrates into what we see as the monthly flow, commonly called “‘period’”.
What is fertile window
This is the most fertile days in your menstrual cycle which give you the highest chance of conceiving.
The most fertile days in your cycle are the days leading up to ovulation, before the egg is released from the ovary. After ovulation the egg survives for just 24 hours, while sperm retain fertilising capability for two to three days in the fallopian tubes. For this reason, we recommend that couples have sexual intercourse every two days throughout the fertile window. The probability of pregnancy rises steadily until the two days before and including the day of ovulation.
How to Calculate your fertile window
To calculate your fertile window, you need to determine what day you ovulate. To do this, you need to know the length of your menstrual cycle (which tends to vary from 23 to 35 days).
The length of your menstrual cycle is the number of days from the first day of bleeding in your last period, to the first day of bleeding in your next. From this figure, subtract 14 days from the end of your current cycle to determine the approximate day you ovulate.
However, If you have irregular menstrual cycles, or your cycle length varies from month to month, it will be difficult to calculate your ovulation date. Ovulation urine tests or ovulation tracking may be useful, and you should consider seeking further advice from your doctor.
How to identify your Ovulation
- Basal body temperature: Body temperature often dips immediately prior to ovulation, and spikes shortly after.
- Cervical fluid: Becomes more thin and stretchy as your approach ovulation
- Physical symptoms: Women often notice different physical or emotional symptoms at certain times during their cycle. Establishing a pattern with ovulation can help predict the fertile window
- Ovulation tests: These tests strips search for the presence of luteinizing hormone (LH), the hormone that triggers ovulation when released. Ovulation tests can tell you when ovulation is imminent, and has arrived.
- Libido changes: Some women notice that their sex drive increases during ovulation, which might be Mother Nature’s way of ensuring we keep the species alive and well! But, as Moore says, “sex drive can be influenced by just about anything, including whether you had a glass of wine or are just in the mood.”
- Changes in the cervix: During ovulation, your cervix may become higher, softer and more open. You can check your cervix, along with your mucus, for ovulation symptoms, but it can take time to learn the differences you’re feeling for and is often more difficult than watching for the other symptoms mentioned above. If you’d like to try and get more comfortable checking for cervical changes as a sign of ovulation, Moore recommends standing in whatever position you use to insert a tampon (for example, next to the toilet with one foot up on the closed seat) and using your finger to feel inside. In many women with a regular cycle, right before ovulation the cervix will be softer, like touching your lips, but after ovulation it will feel harder, more like touching the tip of your nose. An OB-GYN can also check for cervical changes using a speculum and help give you more guidance on how to do it at home