Your two most fertile days each month
Your monthly cycle is regulated by a series of hormones that rise and fall over approximately 28 days. Ovulation is the part of the process, usually occurring around mid-cycle, when the egg is released from the ovary. Women are born with approximately 300,000 eggs that mature as needed to complete the monthly cycle. It was once believed that no new eggs could be produced and fertility steadily declined over a woman’s reproductive lifetime. Early stage research now shows that stem cells are present in the ovaries and could possibly be stimulated to produce new eggs, ready for the ovulation cycle.
The first day of your period is counted as Day 1 of your fertility and ovulation cycle. On or around Day 3, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) signals your ovaries to develop a follicle around a single egg. As the follicle matures, it produces estrogen which (among its many functions) lets the pituitary gland know that an egg is ready to be released.
Around mid-cycle (approximately 11-14 days) the pituitary then causes luteinizing hormone (LH) to surge, propelling the egg, still in its follicle, to leave the ovary and begin its journey down the fallopian tubes to the uterus. This is ovulation. Your two most fertile days each month begin with the LH surge. This is the hormone detected by ovulation predictor kits. If you have intercourse within 24-36 hours after you detect your LH surge, you will maximize your chances of becoming pregnant that month.
The good news is that almost 100% of women are able to produce the hormones necessary for ovulation. Getting pregnant is sometimes just a matter of timing and knowing when ovulation occurs allows you to increase your chances. If you are planning to get pregnant, it is important to first have a gynecological checkup and be current with screenings such as the PAP test. Discuss your questions about ovulation and your menstrual cycle with Dr. Amy Siegel.