In a culturally shy society that we live in, speaking about women’s and men’s personal issues is often shunned. Despite all that, we have come leaps and bounds in opening up and speaking about them, even the most sensitive and personal ones. In this article, we will delve more about ovulation and how women still fail to know the nitty-gritty of it.
So, why is knowledge about your ovulation cycle important?
Well, if you speak to your doctor or some well informed women, you will know that information regarding your ovulation cycle is important for:
- Family planning
- Getting pregnant (trying to conceive)
- Infertility treatments (when trying to conceive fails)
What are the answers to some common misconceptions/lack of awareness about ovulation?
Most women know what is ovulation. The term is most often clubbed with our menstrual cycle, with the ovulation being calculated as being the mid point of the menstrual cycle, but at times it is more than that.
A study conducted to know the awareness of women regarding the basics female reproduction (amongst 1,000 women aged between 18 to 40 years), showed that majority of them were unaware about their fertility cycle and information on how to avoid getting/get pregnant. As this article focuses on ovulation, the most common misconceptions/lack of awareness on this topic is explained below in a Q&A format:
1. Does sex during your ovulation and after is what increases conception?
If you and your partner are trying for a baby, keep in mind that having sex before you ovulate and during—and not after ovulation gets you pregnant!
This is because the sperm remains viable for 4 -5 days. However, the ovum/egg should be fertilized within the first 12 to 24 hours after its release. Ideally, the sperm should be ready and waiting to fertilize the egg.
2. Do you know about your cervix and what happens to it when you ovulate?
Most women are not aware of the anatomy of the female genitalia. One part of which is the cervix! The cervix is the neck of the uterus (womb) and has an opening which can be felt within the vagina via manual palpation. This cervical opening changes throughout the female reproductive cycle, and when closer to ovulation, it moves higher, softer and opens slightly. On the other spectrum, when a female is not fertile, the cervix is generally lower, harder, & closed.
3. How does your vaginal discharge change during ovulation?
Just before ovulation, most women notice an increase in the vaginal secretions that is most often wet and slippery (consistency that of raw egg white) to be conducive for sperms to stick. Studies have shown that the female body produces the greatest amount of this vaginal discharge on the day of ovulation.
4. Does the female reproductive system create new egg/s every month?
Each month, a woman ovulates an egg. But these egg/s are not created every month. A baby girl is born with around 2 million eggs. This number dwindles down to around 500,000 in number at puberty. And as the female ages, the genetic stability of the viable eggs decrease. That is why women over age 35 are have increased risk of
- a miscarriage
- conceiving a child with genetic disorders
5. Is your menstrual cycle a barometer of your ovulation cycle?
Most women are under the assumption that menstrual cycle is an indicator of your ovulation. This can be true if you have a regular and consistent menstrual cycle. But in cases of anovulation or reduced ovulation there is lighter period, heavier period or an altered menstrual cycle.
Just because a woman gets her period doesn’t mean that everything is okay with her ovulation or fertility.
5. Is healthy ovulation a barometer for a normal pregnancy?
Even if you have a normal ovulation, it should be known that there are a lot of reasons that you may fail to get pregnant. There is no denying that a healthy ovulation is vital to get pregnant, but it takes more than a receptive egg to conceive. The sperm must be able to reach the egg through the Fallopian tubes, and for this your tubes should be unblocked and healthy.
Apart from that, after fertilization, the egg should implant in the uterus to grow. For that to happen, the uterus should be conducive for implantation to occur. And as you age, even if your ovulation is normal, the quality of the eggs may vary.
6. Your body does not give any signals to indicate your ovulation?
It should be known that the female body gives cues to indicate her fertility, this is basic human biology for perpetuation of our species. The main signals that a female is ovulating is that she is sexually aroused and her pheromones alter indicating her receptiveness to a male partner.
So, now that you know more about ovulation, if you still feel that there are few grey areas in your understanding, you could speak to your doctor/gynecologist and get your queries answered. By doing this, you will be taking the first step in planning your pregnancy.