What is an Ovulation Calendar?
During normal menstruation, ovulation occurs when an ovary releases one mature egg. That egg must then travel down a fallopian tube and be fertilized by sperm. If the egg is not fertilized, the lining of the uterus is shed during menstruation. Most women in their 20s and 30s have a menstrual cycle length of 28 to about 32 days, which can be interrupted by a variety of factors–illness, extreme weight gain or weight loss, stress or disease. During times of normal cycles, the ability for a woman to ovulate takes place somewhere in the middle of their cycle, usually between day 11 and day 21.
An ovulation calendar helps women keep track of their fertile days, or the “estimated fertility window”, by asking for the first day of their last menstrual period and the approximate average length of your menstrual periods. For example, if the first day of your last period began on November 16 and the average length of your periods is 29 days, then your expected fertile days would be November 26 through December 1 and December 25 through December 30.
Ovulation calendars work best if you have regular menstrual cycles, although they are not 100 percent correct. Women with irregular menstrual cycles may need to resort to other methods for determining their fertile days, such as monitoring basal body temperature (higher during fertile days as progesterone levels increase) and noticing changes to cervical fluid.
Key Facts about ovulation affecting accuracy of an ovulation calendar include:
- Upon release from the ovary, an egg is only viable for 12 to 24 hours
- Ovulation is sensitive to viral or bacterial illnesses, such as head colds or stomach flu
- Light spotting is possible during ovulation, which may be misinterpreted by a woman as the beginning of a period
- Menstrual periods can occur even when ovulation does not happen
Women relying on ovulation calendars to get pregnant but are unsuccessful after a certain period of time may have underlying endocrine issues preventing ovulation and/or fertilization. New York Reproductive Wellness can help discover and address any problems interfering with establishing a pregnancy by offering a wide range of evidence-based treatment options. Make an appointment today by calling our Jericho/Long Island office at (516) 612-8466.