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What is Ovulation?

When it comes to getting pregnant, many women don’t actually know what ovulation is despite the vital role it plays in their fertility.

A woman usually ovulates once in each menstrual cycle (also known as your monthly cycle). Natural hormonal changes in your body cause one of your ovaries to release an egg into your fallopian tube, where it is ready to be fertilised if it comes into contact with sperm. If sperm fertilises the egg, it will travel into the uterus where the uterine lining will have thickened in response to the normal hormones of your menstrual cycle ready to support the fertilised egg.

Depending on the length of your natural menstrual cycle, most women will ovulate approximately 12 to 16 days before their next period starts. Your egg can only be fertilised for up to 24 hours after ovulation. If fertilisation doesn’t occur, then the lining of your womb comes away along with your egg and your period begins.

The best time for you to get pregnant is during your fertile window. Your fertile window is a six-day period, commencing five days before ovulation and including the day you ovulate. While your egg only lives for up to 24 hours, sperm can remain active for up to five days, which means you can conceive through sexual intercourse up to 5 days before your egg is released.

There are several methods that can be used to help you pinpoint when you are ovulating in order to help you to maximise your chances of conception.

In November 2017 Dr Fertility launched a national survey targeting women aged 25-44 years old to test just how #cyclesavvy the lovely ladies of the UK are when it comes to understanding their own fertility!

Unsurprisingly there were many knowledge gaps! Kate Davies, Fertility Nurse Consultant helps to get us #cyclesavvy in her 'bite-sized' video series below: