Ovulation: what you need to know about it when planning pregnancy


Planning a pregnancy involves the observance of certain conditions (physical, physiological, psychological) that will lead to a favorable conception. And one of these conditions, without which fertilization is impossible, is ovulation.

Ovulation and menstrual cycle

Every month a number of physiological processes occur in a woman’s body, ensuring that the reproductive system functions in such a way that a new organism can be conceived and developed. These changes are cyclical (at the end the cycle begins again) and are called the menstrual cycle. Its duration depends on the individual characteristics of the organism and can normally be from 21 to 35 days. In gynecological practice, the concept of an "ideal" cycle is adopted, which lasts exactly 28 days. With such a duration, it is most convenient to calculate its phases and control their shift. The beginning of the menstrual cycle is considered the first day of bleeding (menstruation), and the end is the day preceding the next menstruation, that is, the beginning of a new cycle.

According to statistics, only 13% of all women have a cycle of exactly 28 days.

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Follicle maturation

From the very first day of the monthly cycle, the active maturation of follicles begins: several eggs (about a dozen) are surrounded by follicular cells, as a result of which follicles are formed. But during one menstrual cycle, as a rule, only one of them reaches full maturity.

In rare cases, two or three follicles mature, which can lead to multiple pregnancies and the birth of fraternal twins.

The diameter of the human egg on average is 88-91 microns. The follicle, in which it is contained, in the process of maturation with each day increases by about 2 mm and by the time of ovulation it grows to 20 mm in diameter. Its internal space is filled with fluid and granulose cells that produce female sex hormones (estrogens). Normally, the follicle matures in two weeks. By the end of the second week, the hormone level rises so much that it provokes a release of luteinizing hormone, under the influence of which the follicle breaks. Formations that have not reached full maturity, dissolve.

Follicle fully matured by the 14th day of the cycle

A broken follicle turns into a corpus luteum, which is beginning to actively produce another hormone, progesterone. It is under the action of progesterone that the endometrium of the uterus is prepared for implantation into the embryo. If fertilization does not occur, the corpus luteum resolves itself, and the cycle begins anew.

Ovum during and after ovulation

After about half of the cycle, ovulation occurs - this is the release of a fully mature, ready for fertilization egg from a bursting follicle.

The eggs are laid in the period of prenatal development of the female body, and by the time of puberty their number is 300-400 thousand.

When the female body reaches puberty, the first ovulation occurs. The latter will happen during menopause (menopause) - the termination of the maturation of the follicles and the stop of the menstrual function. Ovulation also does not occur during pregnancy, but after the birth of the baby, it is restored.

The duration of the process of release of the egg from the ovary is individual. The phase of ovulation is determined for up to three days. The ovum after leaving the ovary lives from 12 to 48 hours.

Fertilization is the very first stage of the birth of a new life.

Freed from the follicular membrane, the egg is captured by the fringe of the fallopian tube and begins to move along it towards the uterus. Fertilization occurs at the meeting of the egg with the sperm. If it does not come, the egg cell is destroyed. Otherwise, it begins to divide, moving further to the uterus, where after 5-6 days it is attached (implanted) to its wall. From this point on, the follicles stop maturation, and the menstrual cycle stops. Pregnancy comes.

What is the monthly and when they come

After the end of the cycle, during which the follicles develop consistently, ovulation, destruction of the corpus luteum and unfertilized egg, menstruation begins (menstruation), and, accordingly, a new menstrual cycle starts.

Monthly - bloody discharge from the female genital tract, the cause of which is the rejection of the inner layer of the mucous membrane of the uterus, if during a certain period after ovulation (the second half of the cycle) there does not appear a fertilized egg. After resorption of the corpus luteum, the production of sex hormones decreases, which leads to a change in blood circulation in the vessels of the endometrium: first there is expansion, and then - a sharp narrowing (spasm). The influx of new blood leads to its stagnation, which increases the pressure on the walls of blood vessels. When it becomes excessive, the vessels rupture and bleeding begins. The narrowing of the vessels of the uterine mucosa lasts about 48 hours from the beginning of menstruation, which causes lower abdominal pain in the first days of the cycle.

Menstruation is a monthly birth of an unfertilized egg.

V.F. Snegiryov, MD, Professor Emeritus of Moscow University, one of the founders of Russian gynecology / index.php / MENSTRUAL_CYL

The normal duration of the discharge period varies from 2 to 8 days. During this time, an average of 50 to 100 ml of blood comes out. Considered normal and the variation in the range from 10 to 150 ml. Sometimes the amount of blood secreted can reach 250 ml. If the volume exceeds these values ​​or, on the contrary, does not reach the minimum, this may indicate malfunction of the reproductive system of the woman or the presence of any disease.

How to calculate the onset of ovulation

Determining the period of ovulation is necessary first of all for women who want to get pregnant, since the probability of conception directly depends on this point. And it will also be useful for those who want to avoid unwanted pregnancy.

Calculate the time of ovulation, knowing the duration of all phases of the menstrual cycle. This method should be used only with a stable cycle. But even in this case, the days of ovulation are calculated only approximately.

The period of maturation of the egg takes about half a cycle, ovulation occurs on average about two days. The rest of the time falls on the path of the egg to the uterus and the development of the corpus luteum. Based on these data, it is possible to calculate the ovulation period for cycles of different length. Since the second phase (formation of the corpus luteum after ovulation) normally lasts, as a rule, 12-14 days (regardless of the duration of the first phase), in order to calculate the egg release period itself, you need to subtract 14 from the number of days of the cycle. For example, 28-14 = 14.

Taking into account that the ovulatory period can last up to three days, they take into account the previous day and the next one. Thus, ovulation will occur on the 13-15th day of the cycle. If the cycle is 23 days, then the days of ovulation are calculated as follows: 23-14 = 9. Accordingly, the time of release of the egg falls on the 8-10th days. For long cycles, everything is calculated in the same way. For example, with a 35-day cycle, ovulation occurs on days 20-22.

Calculating the ovulation period in order to avoid pregnancy is ineffective.

A more accurate method for calculating the time of ovulation is to determine it according to the schedule of basal temperature. To compile it correctly, certain conditions must be met, such as:

  • use of temperature indicators in the rectum or vagina;
  • temperature measurement daily and preferably at the same time;
  • taking measurements in the morning without getting out of bed.
After ovulation, the basal temperature rises above 37 ° C

In the first half of the cycle (before the onset of ovulation), the temperature does not fluctuate much and does not exceed 37 ° C. On the day of ovulation, it decreases (optional), and starting from the next day, it increases by 0.6-0.8 ° C (sometimes to 1 ° C) and exceeds the mark of 37 ° C. With the start of the next cycle, the basal temperature drops again. If in the second half of the cycle the values ​​on the graph do not exceed 37 ° C, then this may mean that ovulation has never occurred.

Methods for determining ovulation

Determine the onset of ovulation in various ways.

Subjective feelings of a woman

Some women can sometimes feel the very moment the egg leaves the follicle. In this case, you can clearly determine not only the day of ovulation, but also the ovary in which it occurred. Sometimes, if you listen to your body, the release of an egg can be recognized by the following features:

  1. Abdominal pain. Immediately before ovulation, the follicle increases to 20 mm in diameter, which can cause discomfort in the ovarian region. And the gap of education will make itself felt by sharp stabbing pain, which can last up to two hours. Also, the path of the egg from the ovary to the fallopian tube may be accompanied by pulling unpleasant sensations in the lower abdomen (similar to menstrual).
  2. Changes in the quantity and quality of mucous secretions from the genital tract. Mucous secretions that are present in one or another quantity throughout the entire menstrual cycle, before the onset of ovulation itself become more abundant. Their texture varies: they are transparent and resemble egg white. Sometimes bloody impurities can be noticed in the discharge. If there is little blood and its color is closer to brown than to scarlet, then you should not worry. The main reason for such secretions is that the ruptured follicle was located in the part of the ovary with intensive blood supply. In this case, the bleeding can last up to two days. In ovulation, the discharge is similar to egg white.
  3. Lowering the basal temperature on the day of ovulation followed by an increase (above 37 ° C).

But there are women who have the above symptoms either do not show up, or are so weak that they are not even felt. In this case, the days of ovulation can be calculated, but do not rely on this method, since deviations are observed even in stable cycles.

Ovulation test

The most reliable of the methods of self-determination of ovulation is a special test.

Tests for ovulation can be considered fairly accurate, since their task is to determine the content of luteinizing hormone in the body. Before the release of the egg, its level rises many times, under the influence of which the follicle ruptures.

But this method also gives false results, since an increase in luteinizing hormone can mean not only ovulation, but also the presence of certain diseases.

Ovulation test can be freely purchased at any pharmacy. On sale there are products of both domestic and foreign manufacturers. They differ, as a rule, in price and sensitivity. Tests are designed for use at home and do not require any special skills. The only question that should be puzzled is their required number. To do this, determine the days on which to conduct testing. Tests on ovulation can be done seventeen days before the end of the cycle. For example, with a 28-day duration of the menstrual cycle, the test should be conducted starting from the 11th day, and with a 32-day cycle - from the 15th day.

To determine the time of release of the egg, there are special tests for ovulation

If the cycle duration differs from month to month, then it is necessary to consider the shortest cycle in the last six months and the number of its days to subtract 17.

If there is a suspicion of "unplanned" ovulation (early or late), the test should still be done on "suspicious" days. In the presence of long delays and instability of the cycle using only this method will be ineffective.

Ultrasound monitoring

A guaranteed way to determine and control ovulation is daily ultrasound monitoring of the pelvic organs. This method is not widespread and is used in cases where there is a suspicion of a permanent lack of ovulation. With the help of the ultrasound machine determine the size of the follicles and monitor their changes daily.

Already on the 7-10th day of the cycle, out of a dozen mature follicles, one will stand out and continue to increase, while the rest will stop growing.

Observation is continued daily until the follicle is fully mature and ovulation occurs.

Deviations from the norm

Deviations from the normal course of the menstrual cycle is considered early or late maturation of follicles, as well as their non-maturity.

Early and late ovulation

If ovulation does not occur within the time limit for it (approximately in the middle of the menstrual cycle), but happened much earlier or later, it is considered to be a deviation. This happens if the follicle matures prematurely, or this process is delayed. Such ovulation is called early or late, respectively.

For example, if ovulation occurred on day 10 with a 28-day cycle, then it can be called early. Late ovulation will be counted for 18-20 days.

The reasons for changes in the timing of ovulation can serve both physical and psychological factors. The most common are:

  • too frequent sexual intercourse;
  • intense gym workouts;
  • exhausting diet;
  • lifting weights;
  • diseases;
  • hormonal imbalance.

Ovulation during menstruation

It happens that ovulation occurs almost at the very beginning of the menstrual cycle (during the menstruation period) or immediately after the critical days. The reasons for this may be:

  1. Short cycle If the cycle is 21-23 days or less, then it takes much less time for the egg to mature. In this case, ovulation can occur as early as 7-10 days.
  2. Maturation of several ova. Sometimes in the stage of maturation of the follicles is allocated not one, but several. Most often it can occur in those women in the family who have had multiple pregnancies. Oocytes can mature at different times. For example, follicles develop from the first day of the cycle. One matures faster than others, ovulation occurs, but fertilization does not occur. Meanwhile, another egg matures in another ovary. But the body has already received a signal that fertilization did not occur, and menstruation occurred. And a ripe egg from another ovary has just entered the stage of ovulation and is ready for fertilization.
  3. Violation of ovulation. The reasons for the violation of ovulation can be not only stressful situations and excessive exercise. Since this process is closely related to the hormonal system of the body, then its disruptions will affect the timing of maturation of the follicles. It can be disorders in the work of the adrenal cortex, thyroid, pituitary and hypothalamus; and inflammatory diseases of the female genital organs. If there is one of the above reasons, the egg can mature early.

Lack of ovulation and its stimulation

Also in gynecology there is the concept of anovulatory cycle. This is the name of the menstrual cycle, in which ovulation is absent. Anovulatory cycle does not always indicate violations. It occurs in girls during puberty, alternating with ovulatory, and women in menopause. In healthy women of reproductive age, anovulation occurs after childbirth and abortion and lasts for a certain period of time. Also during the year 1-2 menstrual cycles can be anovulatory, which is a variant of the norm.

Lack of ovulation (anovulation) is usually accompanied by changes in the nature of menstruation, such as:

  • oligomenorrhea (menstruation 1-2 days);
  • amenorrhea (absence of menstruation for more than 6 months);
  • dysfunctional uterine bleeding (unstable intervals between secretions).

Whether or not ovulation will occur can be influenced by many factors:

  • general health of a woman;
  • emotional distress;
  • stressful situations;
  • the presence of bad habits;
  • hormonal disorders;
  • taking medicines;
  • adverse environmental conditions, etc.

Ovulation does not occur due to follicle mismatch, which is possible with:

  • ovarian dysfunction;
  • various disorders of the endocrine system;
  • the presence of tumor formations in the pituitary or hypothalamus;
  • the presence of inflammatory and infectious diseases of the pelvic organs;
  • frequent stress, emotional instability, depression;
  • early menopause.

To restore the function of ovulation, it is first necessary to find out the cause of the anovulation and eliminate it. In the event of a malfunction of the hormonal system, the disorders of the function of the adrenal cortex or thyroid gland are corrected. Подбор гормональных препаратов производит врач в индивидуальном порядке по результатам анализов. Во врачебной практике есть способы искусственно вызвать овуляцию (стимуляция овуляции). Приём некоторых гормональных препаратов способен привести к созреванию нескольких фолликулов за один менструальный цикл.

Как овуляция соотносится со временем зачатия

Conception is the union of genetic material contained in the sex cells of a man and a woman, which leads to the emergence of a single cell, which eventually becomes a new organism. The process of connecting the female cell (ovum) with the male (sperm cell) is possible during unprotected intercourse, after which the sperm cell will meet with the egg in the female genital tract, where the latter can only get after ovulation.

Only one sperm cell is involved in the fertilization process.

Pregnancy probability with sex before and after ovulation

After ovulation has occurred, the egg will be ready for fertilization within 48 hours. It takes about two days for her to break free from the shell of a bursting follicle and get to the fallopian tube, where a meeting with a sperm cell is possible. During this time, the egg can be fertilized. And sperm can remain active for up to 5 days (sometimes up to 7). The possibility of pregnancy occurs during intercourse 3-4 days before ovulation, during ovulation and 1-2 days later. But even sexual intimacy during the release of the egg does not guarantee the onset of pregnancy.

Since sperm need time to get to the part of the pipe where an egg cell is waiting for them, the chances of getting pregnant are much higher during sexual intercourse, performed before ovulation or during it.

If ovulation has already come, then the egg can collapse before spermatozoa get to it. It is for this reason that the probability of pregnancy decreases sharply with early ovulation, if sexual intercourse is performed on the basis of its usual periods. With a late egg release, the situation is different: due to the long-term activity of the sperm cells, the probability of pregnancy is high, even if sexual intercourse was completed before expected ovulation.

Embryo implantation

Embryo implantation - attachment of a fertilized egg to the inner layer of the mucous membrane of the uterine wall of a woman.

Embryo implantation occurs 5-6 days after fertilization.

From the time of fertilization to implantation, it usually takes up to 7 days. The embryo gradually sinks into the mucous layer of the uterine wall, which takes about 40 hours. In case of successful implantation, a period of development begins, which is called embryonic, it lasts up to 8 weeks of gestation.

Sometimes after fertilization, it may take more than 10 days before implantation. In this case, they say about late implantation. Then, for the first time, tests can show the absence of pregnancy, but later its presence may be a pleasant surprise.

A similar case was observed in my girlfriend. Before becoming pregnant, she underwent long-term treatment, in which the pregnancy was undesirable, since there was a low chance of carrying the child. The moment when the doctor gave the go-ahead, she and her husband waited impatiently and carefully prepared for it. And when he finally arrived, my friend calculated the period of the egg's release and did an ovulation test, which showed a positive result. It should be noted that sex with her husband during that period was daily. And when at the right time she did not start her period, she, inspired, flew to the pharmacy for a pregnancy test. But he showed a negative result. And even when the second and third tests also turned out to be negative, she continued to believe that the conception did occur, because this pregnancy was so long-awaited. After a week of delay (there was a stable cycle for about six months), the woman went to the doctor. It was the doctor who explained to her that, due to the late implantation of the embryo in the body, not enough human chorionic gonadotropin (pregnancy hormone) was developed yet to reflect on the test result. And over the next week, the test still showed a positive result. Ultrasound confirmed that the fetus was fixed in the uterus. Still, women's intuition did not let her down: she really was pregnant.

The path of the egg from maturation to implantation - video

Is there a relationship between ovulation and the sex of the child?

Genetic information responsible for the sex of the child is in that half of the set of chromosomes that the male sex cell will introduce.

Spermatozoa containing the Y chromosome (male) move faster than sperm with the X chromosome (female); on the other hand, X chromosomal cells are able to remain active longer, so they can “wait” if ovulation has not yet arrived.

Thus, if sexual intercourse took place on the day of ovulation, then the sperm with the Y chromosome will first reach the egg and fertilize it. If ovulation occurred later for several days, then it will reach sperm with both Y- and X-chromosomes, but the latter have a greater chance of “surviving”. In such a situation, the probability of conceiving a female child is higher.

Despite the scientific substantiation of the influence of the ovulation period on the sex of the child, there is still no one hundred percent guarantee. My sister always wanted a boy, and before planning her first pregnancy 10 years ago she came across this theory. Since then, she has been in intimacy with her husband only after waiting for ovulation, which she monitored by measuring basal temperature. And when she got pregnant, she was sure that there would be a boy. Even the first ultrasound confirmed this. But a girl was born. After 5 years, she and her husband decided to try again to conceive a boy. Then she even used the test for ovulation and waited a day before embarking on conception. But the girl was born again. Apparently, her husband's sperm with X chromosomes were still "faster." Everything happened according to the rules: my husband and I wanted a girl, sexual intercourse took place almost immediately after the menstrual period; and after 9 months, I had a wonderful daughter. Although one story is not an indicator, but still it is necessary to take into account that any organism is individual, and if something is scientifically proven and statistically confirmed, it does not at all mean that this will be the case in all cases without exception.

The presence of a stable frequency of ovulation is not only a condition of pregnancy, but also an indicator of the reproductive health of women. And even if pregnancy is not included in the plans, with a prolonged absence of ovulation, you must visit a gynecologist.