Ovulation: calendar, prediction, test
Ovulation is the process of discharging a mature ovum (egg) from an ovary after a Graafian follicle - representing the final stage of follicular development before ovulation - has been formed. In humans, normal ovulation happens 14 days before the start of the next menstrual cycle. Some women can feel a slight pain in their lower abdomen, known as Mittelschmerz or "intermenstrual pain".
In every menstrual cycle some ovarian follicles begin maturation, but mostly only one will end as a Graafian follicle,
growing rapidly under the influence of FSH and LH at the end of its development to a diameter of approximately 15 mm, forming a "blister" on the surface of the ovary with a small spot without blood vessels, the "stigma". Enzymatic processes and the growing pressure of its fluid-filled antrum lead to its rupture. By this time, the oocyte has undergone its first meiotic division, leading to two cells of very different size: the secondary oocyte - containing all of the cytoplasmic material of both daughter-cells - and the first polar body. The second meiotic division follows at once without DNA-replication but will be arrested in the metaphase and will so remain until fertilization. The spindle apparatus of the second meiotic division appears at the time of ovulation. If no fertilization occurs, the oocyte will degenerate approximately 24 hours after ovulation. At ovulation, the mucous membrane of the uterus - named as "functionalis" - has reached its maximum size, and so have the endometrial glands, althouhg they are still non-secretory.
Knowing about the time of ovulation is critical for all forms of natural family planning, though is not typically considered a reliable method of birth control. Recent research suggests that in some women, ovulation may occur more than once during each menstrual cycle, making it difficult a woman to be aware of exactly when she is fertile. This discovery is considered by some to be a likely explanation for pregnancies caused by sexual intercourse when a woman is sure she should not be ovulating.
Ovulation is the ideal period of your cycle when your chances of getting pregnant are highest. Your fertile period starts about 4-5 days before ovulation, and ends about 24-48 hours after it. This is because sperm can live in your body for approximately 4 to 5 days, and the egg can live for 24 to 48 hours after being released. In normally fertile couples there is a 25 percent chance of getting pregnant each cycle, meaning around 75 to 85 percent of women who have sex without using birth control will get pregnant within one year. You can boost your chances of getting pregnant by learning exactly when you ovulate by understanding the cyclic hormonal and physical changes that take place in your body each month.
There are several ways to predict ovulation in efforts to know the optimal time to attempt conception. Some methods simply need you to become aware of your body s changes during the menstrual cycle while others require special equipment.
Your body temperature at rest (basal body temperature) rises very slightly after ovulation has occurred. This increase is as a result of a rise in the hormone progestogen. To detect this temperature increase, you have to take your temperature at about the same time everyday before you get out of bed and before you consume any fluids or food. You should begin checking your temperature on the first day of your period and continue throughout the month. Keep a record of your temperature for several months so you can see if there is a pattern to your cycle. A rise in temperature by 0.2ºc to 0.4ºc suggests that you have ovulated sometime in the last few days. It is important that you understand this means you have missed your most fertile time. If you have regular cycles, you can use this method to 'predict' which day you will ovulate in your next cycle. This method should only be used as a general guideline as many other factors can affect your body temperature. There are special thermometers available called 'basal thermometers', which make reading this rise in temperature easier.
Checking cervical mucus is natural way to predict ovulation. During the non-fertile phase of the menstrual cycle, cervical mucus is non-existent or present in minute amounts. This cervical mucus present during this time will be thick, cloudy and brittle. As your cycle approaches ovulation, estrogen levels increase thereby increasing the amount of salt and water found in cervical mucus. This mucus will begin to increase ten times in volume while becoming slippery, stretchy and clear, often resembling egg whites. This "egg white" mucus indicates when it is time to make a baby.
Also, changes in cervical positioning is an indicator of impending ovulation. Checking the position of your cervix can be difficult. The best way to learn the position of your cervix is to discuss it during your next wellness visit. After menstruation has ended, the cervix will rest low, feel hard, and the opening will be closed. Often, people describe it as feeling like your nose. As ovulation approaches, the cervix will continually soften as it rises to the top of the vagina. At the apex of ovulation, the opening will widen to allow sperm to enter. At this point, it may feel like your lips. When the cervix seems to disappear, it is because it has blended in with the texture of vaginal walls and has risen to high to be reached. This stage is known as SHOW: soft, high, open, and wet.
Ovulation Calendar calculates your fertile days based on your menstrual cycle data. To use Ovulation Calendar you need to enter the first day of your last period, the length of your menstrual cycle, and the length of your luteal phase if you know it. An ovulation calendar and fertility chart is an excellent aid when attempting to predict ovulation. A chart is used to record the cyclical changes to predict future patterns based on the previously charted information. The chart provides a place to record the beginning of your period, physiological and emotional fluctuations, BBT, cervical changes, cervical mucus cycles, and ovulation test results.
Ovulation predictor kits are available to use in the privacy of your own home. The kits detect the 'L.H. surge' that occurs in your body before ovulation begins and so helps to work out the best time for intercourse. Once the 'L.H. surge' has occurred, ovulation will usually follow in the next 24 - 48 hours. Ovulation tests are the most reliable and accurate method of predicting your most fertile days. The kits detect a hormone, LH or luteining hormone, which peaks right before you ovulate. They are simple to use and said to be more accurate than the BBT method and can predict ovulation 24 to 36 hours in advance. They are not, however, without incorrect readings and women with irregular periods usually run the risk of more inaccurate readings. While they do measure your LH levels, they cannot indicate whether you ovulate if you get a positive response. LH levels are known to peak either with or without the actual release of your eggs. For these reasons, following the directions word for word cannot be stressed enough.
Ovulation tests are designed to indicate to a woman when is the best time for her to conceive based on a prediction of when her ovulation will occur. Alternatively, they are sometimes used as a form of contraception to indicate a time frame when she should abstain from sexual intercourse to avoid conception. The levels of LH (Leutenising Hormone) are present in urine from the first day of the cycle, however, as shown in the graph above, they peak rapidly between 24 and 36 hours before ovulation. Ovulation tests allow for the detection of this rapid rise in LH levels. Most of the test kits available are based on a principle similar to a home pregnancy test. A sample of midstream urine is taken and after a few seconds, a positive test will be indicated by two lines of similar color and a negative test will show only a single line. There are two types of ovulation tests currently on the market. Both formats have been shown to be just as reliable. To use test strips, you fill a sterile container with urine and dip the strip into the container for a predetermined number of seconds. Midstream tests are held in the urine stream like a home pregnancy test. Ovulation tests using blood as an LH surge indicator will gather a positive result four to five hours before a urine test. Some women find that best samples are gathered after noon time. Once you have noted the LH surge, conception is most probable one to three days after this surge. This period is the peak fertility time of your cycle.
More information on pregnancy
Pregnancy - Pregnancy is period of time between fertilization of the ovum (conception) and birth, during which mammals carry their developing young in the uterus (see embryo).
Pregnancy signs and symptoms - During pregnancy a woman's body undergoes a number of changes to allow the fetus to develop inside the womb. The symptoms of pregnancy vary from woman to woman.
Pregnancy tests - A pregnancy test is a test of blood or urine used to determine whether a woman is pregnant. There are two types of pregnancy tests - blood and urine tests.
Home pregnancy test - A home pregnancy test measures the presence of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine. All home pregnancy test kits test your pregnancy on the basis of your urine sample.
Pregnancy stages - There are three stages of pregnancy called trimesters. Each trimester is three months. The word "trimester" comes from a Latin word meaning "three months long."
First trimester of pregnancy - First trimester pregnancy is the early stage of pregnancy from conception to 12 weeks gestation, or about 14 weeks from the first day of the last normal menstrual period (LNMP).
Second trimester of pregnancy - In the second trimester the embryo, now known as a fetus, is recognisable as human in form, but is not developed enough to be viable if born. The second trimester is often called the planning trimester.
Third trimester of pregnancy - The third trimester of pregnancy lasts from 28 weeks after your last menstrual period (LMP) until the birth, which usually occurs between the 38th and 42nd weeks of pregnancy.
Calculating pregnancy due date - The due date is usually computed from the first day of the last regular period. In the calendar, this can be figured by taking that date, subtracting three months, and adding seven days.
Prenatal diagnosis - Prenatal diagnosis is the process of detecting and diagnosing fetal abnormalities before birth. A targeted prenatal diagnosis is done when there is a concrete suspicion that there might be a particular disorder.
Healthy pregnancy diet - A balanced diet is key to having a healthy pregnancy. Pregnancy places substantial demands on the availability of iron in the body.
Nutrition during pregnancy - Nutrition is an essential component of prenatal care. During pregnancy, your body needs more nutrients in order to provide a baby with what it needs. Eat enough food to gain weight at the rate recommended by your health care provider.
Exercise during pregnancy - Exercise plays an important role in promoting health and well-being for pregnant women. Excessive levels of physical activity in pregnancy can reduce fetal growth and increase the risk of preterm delivery.
Spotting during pregnancy - Spotting is light bleeding similar to your period and it can happen at any time during pregnancy, but it is most common during the first trimester.
Bleeding during pregnancy - Bleeding from the vagina in early pregnancy is very common. First trimester bleeding is any vaginal bleeding during the first 3 months of pregnancy.
Smoking during pregnancy - Cigarette smoking during pregnancy can cause serious health problems to an unborn child. Many complications of pregnancy are more likely to occur in smokers.
Sex during pregnancy - Sex and sexual intercourse are not harmful during pregnancy. For most women and their partners, sex during pregnancy is fine as long as both partners consent and are comfortable.
Prenatal care - Prenatal care is the health care that a woman receives before her baby is born. Prenatal care is provided for women during the period between conception and birth of the baby.
Teenage pregnancy - Teenage pregnancy is a pregnancy that occurs in an adolescent. Babies born to teenagers are at risk for neglect and abuse.
Twins and multiple birth - Multiple pregnancies are on the rise in recent years with more and more twins and other types of multiples being born. A multiple birth is when more than one human baby results from a single pregnancy.
Childbirth - Childbirth (also called labour, birth, or parturition) is the culmination of pregnancy, the emergence of a child from its mother's uterus.
Obstetrics - Obstetrics is the surgical specialty dealing with the care of a woman and her offspring during pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperium (the period shortly after birth).
Pregnancy ultrasound - Pregnancy ultrasound is a method of imaging the fetus and the female pelvic organs during pregnancy.
Chinese lunar pregnancy calendar - The Chinese pregnancy calendar was allegedly discovered about 700 years ago. The accuracy of the chart has been proved by thousands of people and is believed to be 99 percent accurate.
Fertility charting - Fertility charting allows you to predict ovulation, pinpoint your most fertile time in your cycle, and increase your chances of becoming pregnant.
Ovulation: calendar, prediction, test - Ovulation is the process of discharging a mature ovum (egg) from an ovary after a Graafian follicle - representing the final stage of follicular development before ovulation - has been formed.
Getting pregnant - The best or most fertile time to get pregnant is the period of ovulation in your menstrual cycle. Most women ovulate (release an egg from the ovary) about two weeks before their period.
Gender selection - There are three main techniques of sex selection: pre-natal testing and termination of pregnancy, pre-implantation genetic testing of embryos, and sperm sorting.
Prenatal tests - Prenatal tests are one of the many ways your practitioner can check on the well-being of your growing baby and find out whether you're at risk for complications.
Genetic screening - Genetic screening is a process used to find out what diseases or birth defects a child might inherit from his or her parents.
Genetic counseling - Genetic counseling is the process of determining the risk you have of passing on an inheritable disease to your baby.
Birth control (contraception, pregnancy prevention) - Birth control is the practice of preventing or reducing the probability of pregnancy without abstaining from sexual intercourse; the term is also sometimes used to include abortion.
Male condoms - Condoms are thin barriers made of latex, plastic, or natural membranes. The male condom fits over a man's penis. The female condom fits inside a woman's vagina.
Female condoms - The female condom is a polyurethane sheath or pouch about 17 cm (6.5 inches) in length. It is worn by a woman during sex.
Diaphragm - A diaphragm is a rubber disc a woman places into her vagina. The diaphragm blocks a man's semen from entering the cervix (the opening to the womb).
Cervical cap - The cervical cap is a small latex cup that a woman inserts into her vagina before sexual intercourse. The cervical cap fits snugly over the woman's cervix.
Birth control pills - The birth control pill is a small, usually white, tablet that is taken orally (by mouth). The pill usually comes in a packet that has days marked off for a cycle lasting about a month.
Norplant - Contraceptive implants (Norplant?) are six match stick size implants inserted into the upper arm. Norplant is a form of progestin that is placed under the skin.
Depo Provera - Depo Provera is a hormone, much like the progesterone a woman produces during the last two weeks of each monthly cycle. Depo-Provera or progesterone stops the woman's ovaries from releasing an egg.
Spermicides - Spermicides are chemicals that make the sperm unable to function. Spermicide can be used alone or with other birth control methods to reduce the risk of pregnancy.
Emergency contraceptive pill - Emergency contraception is the use of certain methods after unprotected intercourse to prevent pregnancy.
Natural family planning - Natural family planning is defined as the understanding and use of the natural phases of fertility and infertility by a couple in order to either achieve or avoid pregnancy.
Intrauterine device (IUD) - An intrauterine device (intra meaning within, and uterine meaning of the uterus), is a birth control device also known as an IUD or a coil.
Birth control patch - The birth control patch is a thin plastic patch (1 3/4 inch square) placed directly on the skin of the woman. It is a hormonal method of contraception obtained by prescription.
Sterilization (vasectomy) - Sterilization is a surgical technique leaving a male or female unable to procreate. It is a method of birth control.
Fertility awareness method (FAM) - Fertility awareness is a means of understanding a woman's reproductive cycle by observing and writing down fertility signs.
Abstinence - Periodic abstinence is a way that sexually active women prevent pregnancy by becoming familiar with their fertility patterns and abstaining from vaginal intercourse on the days they think they could become pregnant.
Pre-eclampsia, eclampsia - Pre-eclampsia is a condition which only occurs during pregnancy. It causes high blood pressure, protein leaks from the kidneys, and other symptoms may develop.
HELLP Syndrome - The HELLP syndrome is a complication of pregnancy featuring a combination of abnormal conditions including emolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count.
Intrauterine growth restriction - Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) refers to the condition in which a foetus is unable to grow to its genetically determined potential size to a degree that may affect the health of the foetus.
Premature birth - Premature birth is defined medically as a birth occurring earlier than 37 weeks. Infants born prematurely have an increased risk of death in the first year of life.
Stillbirth - Stillbirth refers to the death of a baby after 24 weeks of pregnancy but before birth. A pregnancy that ends before the twentieth week is called a miscarriage rather than a stillbirth.
Caesarean section - A Caesarean section (Cesarean section AE), is a surgical procedure to deliver one or more babies through an incision in the mother's abdomen and uterus.
Preterm labor - Preterm labor, or premature labor, is when the uterus (womb) contracts and the cervix opens earlier than normal.
Rh incompatibility - Rh incompatibility is a condition that occurs when the mother of a fetus or newborn has Rh-negative blood type and the fetus or newborn has Rh-positive blood.
Ectopic pregnancy - An ectopic pregnancy is one in which the fertilized ovum is implanted in any tissue other than the uterine wall.
Pregnancy diabetes (gestational diabetes) - Gestational diabetes is a condition in which the glucose level is elevated and other diabetic symptoms appear during pregnancy in a woman who has not previously been diagnosed with diabetes.
Group B strep - Group B streptococcus (group B strep) is a type of bacteria that causes infection among newborns, pregnant women or women after childbirth.
Morning sickness (NVP) - Morning sickness, also called nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP), affects between 50 and 85 percent of all pregnant women.
Hyperemesis gravidarum - Hyperemesis gravidarum means excessive vomiting during pregnancy. The severe vomiting associated with hyperemesis gravidarum requires medical attention.
Miscarriage (spontaneous abortion) - Miscarriage is the term used for a pregnancy that ends on it's own, within the first 20 weeks of gestation.
Postpartum hemorrhage - Postpartum bleeding (severe postpartum bleeding) is the loss of more than a pint of blood within the first 24 hours after delivering a baby.
Pregnancy-induced hypertension - Pregnancy-induced hypertension (also referred to as toxemia, preeclampsia and eclampsia) is a condition that may develop during the second half of a woman's pregnancy.
Pica - Pica is a pattern of eating non-nutritive substances (such as dirt or paper), lasting for at least one month.