Perhaps you have only just started trying to conceive, and would like some basic information about ovulation. Or maybe, even though you have been trying to get pregnant for some time now, some matters regarding a woman's cycle are still unclear to you. In either case, here are 11 important facts you should know about women's fertility.
1. A normal, healthy menstrual cycle can last anywhere between 21 and 35 days.
2. On average, ovulation occurs about 10 to 16 days BEFORE the expected date of your next menstruation. Thus, the expected date of ovulation should be calculated starting from the end of your cycle, not from its beginning.
3. You can learn whether your body is preparing for ovulation by observing your cervical mucus. The presence of estrogen during the days before ovulation increases the quantity of mucus and makes it look transparent and stretchy, much like raw egg white.
4. Ovulation occurs only once in a cycle.
5. During ovulation, usually only one ovum is released. It’s rare to ovulate with two or more ova.
6. Ovulation does not always alternate between ovaries. It cannot be determined in advance in which ovary the egg cell will begin to mature. At times, an egg begins to mature in both ovaries, and both ovaries release eggs simultaneously.
7. The presence of fertile mucus and positive ovulation tests do not indicate that ovulation took place. They only inform you that the body is preparing for ovulation. An increase in basal body temperature (BBT), caused by high levels of progesterone in the blood, is the only true indicator of ovulation. The body temperature remains elevated until the end of the cycle.
8. A released egg cell lives, on average, for 12 to 24 hours. The older a woman, the shorter the egg’s life.
9. Conception may occur as a result of sexual intercourse both three days prior to, and on the day of ovulation. Intercourse on the day of ovulation maximizes the chances of getting pregnant.
10. During any one year, a healthy woman may experience one or two unovulatory cycles - cycles in which ovulation does not occur at all.
11. On average, from about 30 years of age, a woman's fertility begins to decrease, and from about 35 years of age the capacity to become pregnant decreases quite rapidly. This is because egg quality decreases and unovulatory cycles become more frequent.
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