Ovulation usually takes place roughly 14 days after the first day of the start of a period; however, the exact timing can vary greatly from woman to woman. While the timing of ovulation can vary greatly from one woman to another, the duration of ovulation itself is pretty consistent.
Once the egg (ovum) is released from one of the ovaries, it travels down the fallopian tube. This journey takes in the neighborhood of 24 hours. Ovulation depends on a complex interplay of glands and their hormones, and generally occurs about two weeks before the onset of the menstrual period. Typical ovulation symptoms and signs include changes in cervical mucus and a small rise in basal temperature. For most women, ovulation occurs about once every month until menopause, apart from episodes of pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, some women experience irregular ovulation or no ovulation at all.
The female body shows several signs of ovulation. While these vary from one woman to another, you may experience some or all of these signs:
- Regular menstrual cycles: periods that arrive every 24-35 days are more likely to be ovulatory than periods that occur more or less often.
- Mucus changes: about two weeks before menstruation, an ovulating woman may notice slick and slippery mucus.
- Abdominal pain: some women experience pain during ovulation. The pain may be general or localized to one side of the abdomen.
- Premenstrual symptoms: ovulation may accompany premenstrual symptoms such as breast enlargement and tenderness, abdominal bloating and moodiness.
- Temperature rise: women who use a natural family planning method of contraception will notice a small rise in their basal temperature after ovulation has occurred. The temperature rise is about half a degree Celsius. This temperature rise does not predict ovulation, it only suggests that ovulation has already taken place.