Ovulation is when a woman’s ovarian follicle produces and releases a fully matured egg. Ovulation truly begins at the start of the menstrual cycle. Once a woman menstruates, ovarian follicles start to develop and take shape, all thanks to the pituitary glands. As the follicle develops it is releasing estrogen in to the body. Once it has maxed out estrogen production, an egg is ready to be released. During this process one follicle is able to complete developing and eventually creates an egg. Once the egg is created, it can be let out of the follicle and at this point it simply waits to be fertilized.
After a woman has ovulated, one of her two fallopian tubes receives the egg and it makes its journey to the uterus. In this time frame it is the best possible time for the egg to be fertilized. Once an egg is released from the ovarian follicle, which is now called the corpus luteum, it has no more than 24 hours to be properly fertilized. A little less than one day may seem like quite a small time frame to fertilize the egg, but male sperm that has been deposited in the woman up to a few days prior to her ovulating can sometimes fertilize the egg as well.
Ovulation is more of a blanket term that covers the entirety of the menstrual cycle. When ovarian follicles are forming, before ovulation has even started, it is referred to as the follicular stage. Once ovulation is all said and done, this stage is known as the luteal stage. Follicular stages have a wide variety of lengths across subjects, but the luteal stage has stayed at a fairly constant 10-16 days for most everyone. If you are the victim of an irregular cycle, this simply means that you ovulated either earlier or later than you should have. The reason that the luteal stage is so significant is because it gives you more of an understanding of your own cycle. By that I mean you will know, through the luteal stage, when to expect your period and when exactly you should test for pregnancy.
Ovulation - When to expect it
In most cases ovulation will take place 2 weeks before a woman gets her period. To be more lenient most doctors would agree that it can happen anywhere from 10-16 days before your period. In a regular 28 day cycle most woman are told to expect ovulation to happen directly in the middle, but since each and every person is unique, this is not always the case. These bits of information are based on the fact that 28 days defines a normal menstrual cycle. A more up-to-date estimation will say that a menstrual cycle can fall between as little as 3 weeks to lasting as long as 5.
There are ways to detect when exactly ovulation will happen. Women must seek out these signs on their own. One of the signs is that a woman notices cervical fluidd that is significantly whiter and elastic than usual. Also, at-home ovulation prediction kits can help tell a woman when she is close to ovulation. Another technique is by recording your basal body temperature. By doing this you will be able to pick out the exact day that ovulation happens. You will know this because the day after ovulation, your basal body temperature will begin to rise.