All About Cycles: Stages of Ovulation
Ovulation is an important process for women’s reproductive organs. When ovulation doesn’t occur, pregnancy becomes impossible to achieve. But how does ovulation work? What are the stages of ovulation?
The Menstrual Phase
The menstrual phase is the time of your cycle when you’ll experience a period, otherwise known as menses. This phase marks both the end and the start of your ovulation cycle. This phase usually lasts between four to seven days and occurs because your body is shedding the nutrient-rich lining of the uterus since pregnancy hasn’t occurred. For many, this phase may be rather painful and challenging. Medical intervention may be required if this phase is exceptionally heavy, painful, or otherwise unusual for you.
Follicular Phase (Pre-Ovulatory Phase)
This stage lasts from 10 to 17 days and is the first half of your ovulatory phase. This phase is when FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) will be released, telling your ovaries to prepare several follicles to mature each month. Each follicle will contain an egg, one of which will be released once it’s mature and healthy. This egg or ovum will be released at the time of ovulation and will travel down to prepare for fertilization. During this phase, your uterine lining will also thicken in preparation for a fertilized egg to embed within it. Your hormones will also change, increasing testosterone, which may increase your libido.
While each stage is part of the ovulation cycle, this phase is where all the other stages lead to in hopes of implanting a fertilized egg. This phase is marked by an increase in LH or Luteinizing Hormone, which triggers ovulation. Ovulation is the phase when an egg is released from the dominant follicle and travels into the fallopian tube, where it can be successfully fertilized by sperm. Once the egg is released, it is viable for up to one day, while sperm is viable for up to three days. Because of this, sex that occurred before ovulation can still result in a pregnancy as the sperm is stored and viable. This is considered the most fertile window.
This stage lasts about 14 days and is when your body adjusts your hormones yet again to make sure your uterine lining stays nutrient-rich and viable for implantation. Estrogen drops, and Progesterone increases. If implantation doesn’t occur, your brain and body will signal for the cycle to begin preparing to start over again. Should implantation occur, your hormones and body will adjust to carry the pregnancy.
Ovulation has four important stages that work together to form a functioning reproductive system. Without ovulation, pregnancy could not occur. Staying healthy is important for a healthy reproductive system. Staying healthier is easy with telemedicine visits, which are still available at our clinic.
This blog post was first published on WFMCHealth.org.