What does It Mean to be Ovulating?

Women are born with millions of immature eggs in preparation for the ovulation process of reproduction. Ovulation is the maturing of the female egg before it moves out of the ovary and through the fallopian tubes toward the uterus. Each egg will live between 12 and 24 hours before being absorbed into the lining of the uterus. This is the body's way of telling the woman she is ready to conceive.

Ovulation typically occurs between days 11 and 21 of the menstrual cycle. Calculating the window of fertility begins on the first day of the last menstrual cycle. For instance, if a woman starts her menstrual cycle on 1 April, she will ovulate between 12 April and 22 April.

There are two phases, the follicular phase and the luteal phase. The follicular phase occurs at the start of the menstrual cycle and lasts until the egg is actually released. The luteal phase begins on the same day the egg is released and lasts until the first day of the next menstrual cycle. This can be an important part of tracking conception because the egg has matured and is ready for fertilization when the woman is ovulating.


For women trying to track their fertility pattern in order to increase the chances of becoming pregnant, the luteal phase is when ovulation occurs. During this time, luteinizing hormone (LH) is released, which helps the egg to pass through the wall of the ovary and into the fallopian tube. This is when the egg is most fertile.

There are several ways to track ovulation including basal body temperature, cervical mucus, and testing kits. Each of these prediction methods require regular tracking of menstrual cycles. Once a menstrual pattern is established, predicting ovulation may be easier.

Basal body temperature, or average body temperature, will rise just a bit when ovulation begins. Temperature readings should be taken in the morning as soon as the woman awakens. Daily temperatures may have to be tracked for several months to notice the spike.

Cervical mucus will appear wet and slippery during ovulation. Women often relate the look of cervical mucus at this time to the look of egg whites. A sample of the cervical mucus can be collected by inserting an index finger into the vagina.

Prediction kits measure the amount of LH in the urine. The kits usually contain five to seven sticks. Although the LH is highest in the morning, the kits should not be used until four to six hours after waking. This is the time it takes for the hormone to pass out of the body during urination.


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Discuss this Article

Post 4

My partner and I had sex without protection on the 14th day after her period. Is there a chance of getting pregnant?

Post 3

I have noticed that slippery white mucus before, but I never knew its significance. It's nice to learn that it is an ovulation predictor of sorts.

Whenever I would discharge some of this mucus, I thought that I was about to start my period, because it felt like blood was moving out of me. It was usually a week or two later before I really started, though.

I would like to have a baby in the next few years. I don't know about buying kits and checking a calendar all the time, but observing cervical mucus sounds easy enough.

Post 2

@JackWhack – I'm interested in following my ovulation cycle, but for the opposite reason as your friends had. I have never wanted to have children, and I'm terrified of becoming pregnant.

I'm on birth control pills, but I know that they are not always 100% effective. So, I refuse to have intercourse with my husband while I'm ovulating. It's just too risky for me.

Kids complicate things. I like being free to do what I want when I want. I can't bear the thought of losing that freedom.

Post 1

Several of my friends have been successful at getting pregnant during ovulation. Before they became obsessed with it, I never knew that there was any way to tell when you were most fertile.

They were always checking their calendars and purchasing kits to help them increase their chances. This paid off bigtime for them. I suppose there really is something to it.

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