How Long Does Ovulation Last?

Every month during a woman’s reproductive cycle unless she is pregnant and often if she is breastfeeding she ovulates, meaning she produces an egg that is released from her ovaries in the hopes to meet up with sperm and become an embryo. Ovulation usually occurs at around 14 days following the first day of bleeding of a woman’s menstrual period, however all women are different and as such, all cycle lengths vary. While some women’s cycles will be the standard 28 days, others will report 20 days or even 35 days. Despite these variations, one thing remains constant, and that is the duration of ovulation.

It helps to understand the mechanics of ovulation. Basically, one of the woman’s ovaries will release an egg, which will make its journey down the fallopian tube over a period of about 24 hours. Within this 24 hour time frame is the optimum window opportunity for conception, but there are other variables. For instance, an egg will survive in the fallopian tubes for up to 2 days, so if intercourse takes place up to 2 days following ovulation, conception can still occur. Also, if intercourse has occurred prior to ovulation, conception is still possible because sperm can loiter in the fallopian tubes for 2 to 3 days, meaning that once the egg is released, it could already have a handsome suitor waiting for it!

Taking advantage of this window period is part of the fun of trying to conceive. Unless you know precisely when you are ovulating, having intercourse over the 3 or 4 possible days might increase your chances … unless your partner has a low sperm count, in which case, narrowing down to the optimal time frame is best.

Using an ovulation predictor kit will help you to determine when ovulation is about to occur, and taking your basal body temperature using a special basal thermometer will help you chart when ovulation has passed. Using these methods and also being aware of your body’s cervical mucus changes, discomforts and mood swings will also help you to familiarize yourself with when ovulation is taking place.


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