Ovulation refers to the release of a mature egg by a woman’s ovary. Generally, a woman is most fertile during the days just before and during ovulation.
To recognize when ovulation takes place, it’s important to understand your cycle. Most women have a cycle that is between 26 and 30 days in length. On average, ovulation occurs anywhere from 11 to 21 days after the start of your last period, although the exact day can vary from woman to woman or even in the same woman from one month to the next.
During ovulation, a brain hormone called luteinizing hormone (LH) surges, which causes the ovary to release a mature egg. The egg lives for about 12-24 hours after being released.
Many women looking to become pregnant choose to track their ovulation so that they can plan for sex during those days that they are most fertile. There are a few different ways to track ovulation, based on changes that occur in your body during that time:
- Study changes in your cervical fluid, which during ovulation, frequently becomes slippery and turns egg-white in color
- Check for slight elevations in body temperature using a basal thermometer. Body temperatures tend to rise about ½ to 1 degree during ovulation
- Measure higher levels of LH in the urine using a home ovulation kit
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