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Ovulation means the time of the monthly cycle when the body releases an egg or ovum from the ovaries. This egg makes its way from the fallopian tube and is ready to get fertilized by a sperm post-intercourse. If the egg is fertilised, it may travel to the uterus and implant to develop into a pregnancy. Thus, it is not possible for a woman to become pregnant without ovulation.
Do Women Have to Be Ovulating to Conceive?
Normal, healthy women with a regular menstrual cycle generally ovulate once a month. A woman has to ovulate in order to conceive. You can get pregnant if you have intercourse 5 days before ovulation and 1 day after ovulation. This is because a man’s sperm can survive in the female birth canal for up to 5 days.
Can You Get Pregnant Without Ovulation?
A woman cannot get pregnant without ovulation. If you are thinking about the chances of getting pregnant if you are not ovulating, then understand that the chances are none. Ovulation is necessary for the sperm to be able to fertilize the egg. Many women question if they can get pregnant if they are fertile but not ovulating. The answer is “No”. If a woman is fertile, it means she is able to produce eggs. But a woman can only get pregnant if she has intercourse around the time of ovulation. Thus, it is not possible to get pregnant if a woman is not ovulating.
When Does the Ovulation Occur
A menstrual cycle of a woman lasts for 28 days on an average. In this cycle, the first day of periods is considered as day 1. In a cycle of 28 days, ovulation occurs sometime between days 11 and 21. This is around 14 to 15 days before the next period begins. However, not everyone has a 28-day menstrual cycle. Cycle length can vary from 21 to 35 days. For a 21 day cycle, ovulation occurs between days 5 and 12, and for a 35-day cycle, ovulation occurs between days 18 to 26.
The exact time of ovulation can be determined by charting the length of your cycles, your basal body temperature, observing changes in the cervix and cervical mucus, and by using ovulation predictor kits available in pharmacies.
What Are the Most Fertile Days?
The most fertile days during the menstrual cycle are the last 5 days. Out of these, 3 days are right before ovulation, 1 on the day of ovulation, and 1 day after ovulation. These days are the most fertile as sperm can stay alive in a woman’s birth canal for up to 5 days and the egg deteriorates between 24 to 48 hours after ovulation. Thus, the most fertile days can be calculated based on cycle length.
FAQs Regarding Ovulation
Here are frequently asked questions about ovulation:
1. What Are the Signs of Ovulation?
The signs of ovulation are:
- A decrease in basal body temperature before ovulation and a significant increase in temperature after ovulation.
- Changes in cervical mucus: The cervical mucus is thick and transparent and looks very similar to egg whites at the time of ovulation.
- Changes in the cervix: The cervix will feel wet and soft at the time of ovulation. However, this can be detected accurately by women only after following and examining their cervix for several menstrual cycles.
- Other signs: Some women may experience other signs during ovulation, such as increased libido, mild pain or cramps on one side of the pelvic area, bloated abdomen, spotting, and an increased sense of smell, taste, or vision.
2. What Are Ovulatory Disorders?
An anovulatory disorder is anything that hampers the normal ovulation process and causes irregular or failed ovulation. Anovulation is an ovulatory disorder where there is an absence of ovulation. This is because the eggs may not have developed properly or an egg may not get released by the ovaries. Oligo-ovulation is a disorder where the ovulation occurs, but not every month. The ovulation is irregular.
3. What Are the Causes of Ovulatory Disorders?
Most ovulatory disorders are caused by Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). This is a hormonal disorder which is characterized by ovarian cysts, excessive production of male sex hormones like testosterone, and irregular periods. Other causes of ovulatory disorders are hormonal problems, urinary infections, malfunctioning of endocrine and pituitary glands, over-exercising, obesity, being underweight, and eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia.
4. How Are Ovulatory Disorders Treated?
Treatment of ovulatory disorders depends on their root cause. If it is a hormonal problem, the doctor may prescribe medicines to correct that. There are also pills available that increase the level of hormones such as Luteinizing hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) that activate ovulation in the body. The doctor may also suggest diet and lifestyle changes to treat eating disorders or over-exercising.
5. How to Know If I Am Not Ovulating?
In order to track ovulation, you will need to chart your menstrual cycles and your basal body temperature around the time of ovulation. This will help you keep a record of your ovulation cycles. If there is no significant temperature drop in your basal body temperature, then you may not be ovulating. You can learn about your ovulation better by using the ovulation test kits available in pharmacies.
6. Can Ovulation Occur without Period?
Ovulation can happen without a period. For example, lactating mothers do not have menstrual periods for a few months after delivery, but they do ovulate and can get pregnant if they have unprotected intercourse. It is difficult to track ovulation if you do not have menstrual periods and you will need to track it using the symptoms like lower basal body temperature and changes in cervical mucus.
7. Is It Possible to Have Periods But No Ovulation?
It is possible to have a menstrual period without ovulating. Some women may experience menstrual bleeding but not ovulate at all. This is called anovulatory cycle. This may be because of a reduction in oestrogen levels or some accumulation in the uterine lining that needs to be shed.
8. Can Ovulation Occur Right After a Period?
Ovulation can happen early in women who have short menstrual cycles. So it is possible to ovulate soon after a period. Women who ovulate early can get pregnant by having unprotected intercourse soon after a period.
9. What Are the Chances of Ovulating More Than Once in a Cycle?
Women can usually ovulate only once in each cycle. Scientific research to prove that it is possible for women to ovulate multiple times in the same cycle is insufficient. However, a woman can release more than one egg in a single ovulation cycle. This is one of the reasons for multiple pregnancies to occur. If a woman releases 2 eggs in her cycle and both get fertilized by sperm, fraternal twins are formed.
10. Can Ovulation Occur During a Period?
Ovulation cannot happen during a menstrual period. This is because a menstrual period happens when the uterus sheds its inner lining around 11 to 15 days post-ovulation. However, some women may experience mild bleeding mid-cycle, and this is called ovulatory bleeding. This happens at the time of ovulation. This is often mistaken by women for a menstrual period.
Pregnancy without ovulation is not possible as an egg has to be released by the ovaries in order for it to get fertilized by the sperm. In order to conceive, a woman has to have unprotected intercourse with her partner around the time of ovulation. The time of ovulation can be determined using ovulation test kits and by charting basal body temperature.
Also Read: Bleeding during Ovulation – Am I Pregnant?