What You Need to Know About Your Ovulation Cycle [INFOGRAPHIC]
If you are looking to get pregnant soon, it is important to understand the way your body works and that includes the ovulation cycle. The ovulation cycle includes the timeframe in which your body releases a mature egg from the ovary, shuttles it down the fallopian tube, and presents it for potential fertilization.
This cycle introduces many hormonal and physiological changes, and the process begins in the brain with the release of hormones that stimulate egg growth. Let’s look at the ovulation cycle in depth to show how a better understanding of the cycle, in general, can improve the odds of conception.
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Understanding Your Ovulation Cycle
The menstruation phase is the starting point of the ovulation cycle. The entire phase generally lasts an average of 28 days for most women. On the first day of the menstruation cycle, the uterine wall sheds and bleeding occurs.
The follicular phase actually begins during the first day of the ovulation cycle and works in tandem with the menstruation phase. During the beginning of the menstrual cycle, the pituitary gland begins to produce a mix of hormones. The uterine lining also starts to thicken as your body prepares for the release of the egg during its fertile period.
Day eight in the cycle is when the matured egg prepares to escape the ovaries. The maturation of the egg follicles produces its own hormone called estrogen. After about 12 days, hormone levels are elevated and an LH (Luteinizing Hormone) surge occurs 24 hours prior to ovulation. During this time period, this is your fertile period and is the best time to conceive. Signs of your fertile period include increased sex drive, breast tenderness, bloating, increase in cervical mucus, and ovulation pain. On day 14, the egg is released and lives for 12-24 hours, marking the beginning of ovulation.
The luteal phase is the last step in the cycle and lasts approximately two weeks. During this phase, the corpus luteum develops from where the egg was released. Estrogen and progesterone help thicken the lining of the uterus to prepare for implantation. Progesterone levels will also increase to help the uterine walls prepare for the zygote.
Day 25 is a critical phase in the ovulation cycle because the egg fertilization will be an indicator of successful pregnancy. If the egg is fertilized, the zygote keeps progesterone levels high and prepares the body for pregnancy. On the other hand, if the egg isn’t fertilized, the corpus luteum falls apart and stops producing progesterone.
Ovulation Tips and Considerations
While the body automates the process, there are some things that you can do to support and encourage a healthy ovulation cycle when trying to conceive. The environment, any hormones in your diet, and stress levels in your daily routine are three things that can help or hurt your chances of getting pregnant.
While the old adage of 8 glasses of water a day isn’t fully accurate, ensure that you drink enough water to hydrate your body each day. Lack of water can cause decreased circulation and other medical concerns. Water intake is incredibly important to preparing your body for a successful pregnancy.
What isn’t exercise good for? From fertility yoga to just walking around the block, exercise will increase blood flow, oxygenate the blood, and even lift your spirits if you’re feeling down. Anything you can do to make your body as healthy as possible will support a healthier ovulation cycle.
Give your baby a head start by loading your body with essential nutrients that can boost fertility and increase your odds of a successful pregnancy. A healthy diet is essential, so ensure that you include foods that contain loads of vitamins, minerals, essential fats and amino acids. Examples include dark green leafy vegetables, citrus fruit, bananas, sweet potatoes, wild caught fish, and avocados. In addition to focusing on what to put in your body, try to avoid excess amounts of sugar or caffeine. Hormonal balance is often easier to achieve when you limit these two items from your diet.
The ovulation cycle is a miraculous thing to behold, so work with your fertility specialist today to begin tracking and managing your own cycle to dramatically increase the odds of conception. Please contact Red Rock Fertility Center at 702-749-4642 to schedule an appointment.