Ovulation & fertility facts to help you get pregnant

Apr 30, 2013

  • 1

    What is ovulation?

    Ovulation refers to the phase in a woman’s menstrual cycle during which she releases a mature egg from her ovarian follicles to into the oviduct. Women produce thousands of eggs in their lifetime that wait to be fertilised. When an egg is released from the ovary, it starts to journey through the fallopian tubes en route to the uterus, the egg can be fertilized. Once the egg leaves the ovary, it only lives for 12 to 24 hours during which time it can be fertilized by a sperm.

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    Changes during ovulation

    The average menstrual cycle lasts 28-32 days. While the exact timing of ovulation can vary, it happens between day 11 and 21 of the cycle. A brain hormone called luteinizing hormone (LH) surges, triggering the release of the egg that's most ripe. At the same time, your cervical mucus changes to a slippery, egg-white consistency to help sperm make their way to the egg.


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    Tracking ovulation

    Women can know when they will ovulate by tracking menstrual cycles. The first day of the last menstrual period through ovulation is called the follicular phase. The day of ovulation to the next period is called the luteal phase. The follicular phase can vary widely between women from lasting only a very short duration to one of the several weeks or even a month or more. The luteal phase is generally more consistent, usually lasting 12 to 16 days in length. Tracking fertility can be done through monitoring the body or through an ovulation tracking kit by checking cervical mucus and basal body temperature.


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    Enhancing ovulation

    If you want to boost your chances of getting pregnant, you may want to eat foods rich in folic acids. Buy more organic foods and green products, maintain a healthy body weight by way of balanced diet and exercise and avoid alcohol, caffeine, drugs and plastic wraps.


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    Timing is all that matters

    Usually, just one egg is released each month and it travels down the fallopian tube towards the uterus where it's ready to be fertilized. The sperm can live for about 72 to 120 hours, however, the egg only lives about 12 to 24 hours after leaving the ovary. So, knowing you're due to ovulate can help you plan sex for higher chances of conception.


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    Weight affects fertility

    According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, weight loss of 5--10 percent can dramatically improve ovulation and pregnancy rates. Obesity is also a cause of infertility and low testosterone levels in men. A study of women found that those whose body mass index (BMI) was above normal took twice as long to get pregnant as those with a normal BMI. Weight loss for those who are overweight or obese can improve fertility and pregnancy outcomes. Being significantly underweight can also alter hormones of the reproductive organs and be a cause of infertility.


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    Effects of ageing on possibility of conception

    A healthy 30-year-old woman has 20 per cent chance per month of getting pregnant, while a healthy 40-year-old has a 5 per cent chance. Fertility decreases with age, especially after 35 years of age. Experts say a woman should talk to her doctor if she's under 35 and has been trying to conceive for more than 12 months or is over 35 years and has been trying to conceive for more than 6 months.


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