Ovulation Frequently Asked Questions

Ovulation FAQs with answers about tracking your ovulation.

How do I calculate when I am ovulating?

The timing of ovulation is complex and can take some studying of your body and your cycles to figure out. By using a combination of methods such as studying cervical fluid, taking your body temperature, and tracking your periods, you can calculate your time of ovulation. The American Pregnancy Association encourages women to learn about the fertility awareness method of tracking cycles and then combine that with ovulation predictor kits to best understand when you are ovulating. The Association estimates that this is anywhere between 11-21 days since the last menstrual period (LMP), or 12-16 days from when you expect the next menstrual period to start. Order Fertility Kit or Monitor

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Don’t women ovulate on the 14th day after their period starts?

Unfortunately this is a myth that many still hold on to, including healthcare professionals. The day of ovulation differs from woman to woman and can even be different from month to month. The “14th day” thinking appears to come from either taking the average of when all women ovulate or from someone just dividing the 28 day cycle in half. However this myth got started, it is not an accurate way to calculate ovulation, because many women do NOT ovulate on the 14th day of their cycle.

During my ovulation time, how many days am I really fertile?

During the time of ovulation, an egg is available to be fertilized for only about 12-24 hours. But since sperm can live in the body for 3-5 days and then the egg is available for one day, your most fertile time is considered to be about 5-7 days.

Can I ovulate during my period?

For women who have regular cycles, ovulating during your period is highly unlikely. Some women have very irregular cycles, maybe coming once every 3 months or 2-3 times in one month, and these women can have the odd occurrence of ovulating during a period or what is believed to be a period. Still, the chance of ovulating during a period is unlikely. But because sperm can live in the body for 3-5 days, pregnancy could occur from intercourse that takes place during a period.

Can I ovulate right after my period?

The answer to this is determined by how many days are in your cycle. For example, if you have a 21 day cycle ( from the beginning of one period to the beginning of another) and you bleed for 7 days, then yes, you could ovulate right after your period. This is because we know ovulation can occur 12-16 days before your next period begins, and this would put you ovulating at days 6-10 of your cycle.

Can I get pregnant during my period?

Pregnancy can occur from intercourse that takes place during a period. This is because sperm can live in the body for up to five days, and if a woman ovulates soon after her period, then conception could take place from intercourse that occurred during her period.

Can I ovulate without detecting the stretchy white cervical fluid?

Ovulation can take place even if you do not notice the “stretchy egg-white” fluid that we assume accompanies ovulation. Every woman can experience her own type of cervical fluid, and not all are the same. Ovulation is assumed to take place on the day a woman has the most amount of wet fluid.

What does it mean if I have the stretchy cervical fluid on more than one day?

Many women can experience ovulation fluid a few days before ovulation actually takes place and can even have it after ovulation has finished. When women are studying their fluid to determine ovulation, they are looking for the 12-24 hour period that they had the greatest amount of wet fluid as the time that an egg is available for fertilization, although intercourse that happens on the few days before this can also result in pregnancy.

If an ovulation predictor test kit says positive, that means that I am for sure ovulating, right?

Ovulation predictor kits determine whether the luteinizing hormone (LH) is detected. The luteinizing hormone (LH) rises right before ovulation occurs. Therefore the kits are supposed to detect whether you’re going to ovulate but cannot ensure that you do ovulate.

Women may have a high level of the LH if they have certain conditions such as polycystic ovaries, premature ovarian failure (POF), or for women over age 40 who are experiencing perimenopause. Any of these conditions could result in a false positive result on an ovulation predictor test.

What are signs of ovulation?

The signs of ovulation can be any of the following, although many women may only notice one or two of these: • Change in cervical fluid • Change in cervical position and cervical firmness • Brief twinge of pain or dull ache that is felt on one side of the abdomen • Light spotting • Increase in sex drive • Elevated level of the luteinizing hormone which can be detected on a test • Body temperature chart that shows a consistent change • Breast tenderness • Abdominal bloating • Heightened sense of vision, smell or taste

Can a woman ovulate more than once during each cycle?

A woman cannot ovulate more than once during each cycle, therefore she cannot get pregnant more than once during a cycle. Multiple ovulation can occur and is when two or more eggs are released in a single cycle. Both eggs are released during one 24 hour period and are responsible for the birth of fraternal twins. It is believed that this may occur in as many as 5-10% of all cycles but does not result in that many twins due to a type of miscarriage referred to as the “vanishing twin phenomenon.”

Can I ovulate without having a period?

Since a woman releases an egg 12-16 days before her expected period, it is possible for women to get pregnant without having periods. Women who are not menstruating due to a certain condition (i.e.…low body weight, breastfeeding, perimenopause) risk the chance of ovulating at any point. For those who want to conceive, the lack of periods could make it more difficult to know the timing of ovulation if you are not charting temperature and cervical fluid changes. But if you are not having periods and wanting to prevent pregnancy, a form of contraception should be used since there is no way to know when ovulation will occur.

Can I have a period and still not have ovulated?

Having a period does not necessarily mean that ovulation has taken place. Some women may have what is called an anovulatory cycle, (meaning no ovulation) and can experience some bleeding which is mistaken for a period, but it is actually not a true period. This bleeding is caused by either a buildup in the uterine lining that can no longer sustain itself or by an estrogen level drop. The main way to decipher if ovulation is in fact taking place is by tracking the body temperature.

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Last Updated: 03/2011