Ovulation is when the egg is released from the ovaries ready for fertilization. During the first half of the cycle, several follicles mature. But only one becomes dominant and releases estradiol, which leads to an increase in luteinizing hormone (LH). The dominant follicle then bursts and releases an egg. This egg remains viable for up to 24 hours.
When is the best time to get pregnant?
The best day to get pregnant is the day you ovulate, right? Not exactly. If you are planning a pregnancy, you should have unprotected intercourse 5 days before you ovulate. This is because the moment when the egg is released from the ovary, i.e. ovulation itself, only lasts a maximum of 24 hours. In the best case scenario, your partner’s sperm will already be in the fallopian tube. This significantly increases the probability that the released egg will be fertilized vs. just having sex at the time of ovulation.
A 1998 study found that while the chance of fertilization is high when a couple has unprotected sex during ovulation, the likelihood of a subsequent miscarriage is also higher. The reason for this could be that the egg has already been outside the ovary for too long.
How can I measure ovulation?
About 12 to 24 hours after the LH surge, ovulation occurs. How long the surge lasts varies from woman to woman.
You can use ovulation tests to determine ovulation. The first test should be used on the first day of the fertile window.
The Ovy App shows you when your fertile window is by highlighting it in green:
Please note that if you want to find the day of ovulation, it is useful to evaluate other fertility indicators according to NFP in addition to an ovulation test. For women with a very short LH surge, the test may not find the best time.
Women with a very long LH surge often get positive results for days. It can also happen that you have an LH surge but no ovulation takes place. This phenomenon is called LUF syndrome (luteinized unruptured follicle). In this case, an egg matures, but is not expelled.
hCG – what role does the pregnancy hormone play?
The level of hcG increases when implantation of the egg occurs. The hormone keeps the progesterone level high, which leads to a lack of menstruation and thus to the first signs of pregnancy. You can measure the hCG hormone with a pregnancy test, which can be used from the first day of the missed period at the earliest.
When I get my period, it means I was ovulating too, right?
No, not necessarily! After a hormonal change, e.g. if you have recently stopped taking the pill or have had a baby, you may still get your period without ovulation.
When the lining of the uterus has built up in the first half of the cycle, what’s known as breakthrough bleeding occurs. This can also occur without ovulation. You can keep a close eye on your body using a cycle calendar.
Using the symptothermal method, you can determine whether there is a significant temperature rise or a permanent temperature high in the middle of your cycle. The temperature high indicates ovulation. Similarly, observing your cervical mucus allows you to make an assumption about when and whether you are ovulating.