By: Allison Waldbeser
Ovulation is a topic most of us know about but don’t fully understand, which is why we’re here to set some facts straight. Whether or not you and your partner are deciding to conceive, it’s important to understand what your body is doing and at what times, especially if getting pregnant is not in your current plans!
WHAT IS OVULATION?
Ovulation happens once in every menstrual cycle (read about the phases of your menstrual cycle on our site to learn more!). During ovulation, one of your ovaries releases an egg into the fallopian tube, where it waits for sperm to be fertilized. The released egg only has a lifespan of ~24 hours in order to be fertilized, so if it isn’t, the egg dissolves and your uterus starts to shed its lining, resulting in your period! If you have a regular cycle, ovulation usually happens 2 weeks BEFORE you start your period. But there’s a catch…sperm can live up to 3-5 days after intercourse, which means that if you partake in some baby making activities within the five days of ovulation (the fertile window), you COULD get pregnant.
THE FERTILITY WINDOW
The fertility window, also known as the “window for opportunity,” is the time during which conception can happen. A lot of people are shocked when they learn you can only become pregnant during the “fertile” days of your cycle, which typically lasts around six days depending on your cycle! CRAZY RIGHT? In other words, you can become pregnant from about five days BEFORE ovulationall the way through the day of ovulation. Knowing what days you’re ovulating and understanding the signs your body is giving you is crucial in order to determine your fertile days. Something else to consider is that you’re moving into your fertility window right after your period ends, usually between day 11 and 21 of your cycle leading up to ovulation. Read all about our fertility awareness method blog post to understand how to track your fertile days!
CAN I GET PREGNANT DURING MY PERIOD?
My grandma once told me, “I thought you couldn’t get pregnant on your period, but that’s how I had your father!”
...okay grandma, but maybe your cycle was shorter than the typical 28-30 days. If you have a shorter cycle, the chances of conceiving during your period could be higher because you’re ovulating earlier in your cycle. In other words, “the earlier you ovulate, the earlier you will hit your fertile window, since your fertile window starts five days before you ovulate.”
Don’t sweat it menstruators, we’re here for you. If you think you know your cycle pretty well, then you probably know what’s going on inside your uterus. But if you’re still uncertain, (maybe you just got off birth control and you’re slowly getting to know your cycle, or maybe you just NEVER kept track of it), now is the time to do your own research and take control of your body! Here’s a fun blog post we wrote about ways to keep track of your menstrual cycle.