What is ovulation?

all about cycle health olulations

Ovulation is an important link in a woman’s menstrual cycle. At this time, the ovum leaves the boundaries of the follicle. But why is it so important and how to determine the ovulation time?

What is ovulation for?

When the ovum comes out of the ovary, it moves from the abdominal cavity to the uterine tubes. If it meets a spermatozoid there, it may become fertilized. This is how a new life is generated. It consists by half of the genes located in the ovum, this is why a boy or a girl look like their mother to some extent.

However, occurrence of a pregnancy is not the sole purpose of the ovulation. Really, we don’t bear one child right after another. The nature has though of everything. In the moments when the pregnancy is absent, the ovulation is a transitional stage in the generation of sex hormones. Before the ovum leaves the ovary estrogens prevail, and after it, progesterone does. So what does it mean for our body?

Estrogens ensure:

  • strong bones;
  • smooth and resilient skin;
  • strong nails and hair;
  • healthy blood vessels where no cholesterol deposits;
  • good mood;
  • increased working capacity, and many other things.

Progesterone helps us:

  • to calm down;
  • to have a good night’s sleep;
  • to have no problems enduring the pregnancy;
  • to improve our skin.

Now you realize that if ovulation is disturbed, all these effects become impossible, as only one hormone will be generated, either progesterone or estrogens.

How to ascertain the ovulation?


Formerly, gynecologists used to employ indirect methods. For instance:

  • assessed the quality of discharge formed in the vagina (before the ovulation, it is thick and transparent and after it, viscous and white); or
  • asked the woman to take temperature in the rectum (it is called basal temperature). Before the ovulation, it is below 37°С and after it, above 37°С.

Nowadays, the situation has changed radically, as you can find out precisely when you have an ovulation. There are the following methods available:

  • Now there are special ovulation tests. They are taken the same way as a pregnancy test. They make it possible to determine by your urine when the concentration of a luteinizing hormone is the highest. Its peak precedes the coming-out of the ovum. It is usually observed 36-48 hours before the ovulation.
  • Take a blood test. To ascertain an ovulation, you will have to take the tests several times, because they will evaluate the decline of some hormones and increase of the others in dynamics. Such an examination is usually advised to the woman that plans a pregnancy.
  • Undergo an ultrasound scan. The doctor will learn about the ovulation that has occurred in your body using the ultrasound, if there is no large follicle in the ovary and instead of it, a yellow body forms, and the thickness of the inner uterine layer is big (14-20 mm). These changes are best revealed with at least 2 ultrasound scans within one menstrual cycle. This examination is prescribed when planning a pregnancy as well.

I am not planning a pregnancy

If you are not planning a pregnancy any time soon, you also need to keep an eye on your ovulation. This way, you will be able to determine the days when having unprotected sex (without any contraceptives) is unadvisable. To calculate, add 5 days to the ovulation date and subtract 5 days from it. It means that if your ovulation falls in the 15th day of the cycle, you definitely should practice safe sex from the 10th to the 20th day.

Why 5 days both ways? That’s simple. 5 is 2+3. The digit 2 means 2 days of a spermatozoid’s life while 3 means 3 days of the life of an ovum. So if they meet at the end of their «shelf life», the pregnancy is still possible.

I am planning a pregnancy


If you want to become a mother as soon as possible, determination of the ovulation date will help you here. The probability rate of a conception on that day reaches 80-90%.