What is Ovulation?
Ovulation is a natural process in a woman’s body, wherein, every month an egg or ovum is released from one of the ovaries in the reproductive system. As the ovum is released from the ovary, the hormonal constituency changes in the body and the remaining follicles go in an arrested development stage. The released ovum waits in the fallopian tubes for fertilization with sperm and if fertilized, it gets implanted in the uterine wall. This cycle repeats on a monthly basis and is commonly referred to as menstrual cycle. An ovulatory or ovulation calculator helps identify the exact time frame during a menstrual cycle when ovulation happens.
How Ovulation calculator works
An ovulation calculator is a simple tool which operates on the fundamentals of menstrual bio-chemistry. As a woman’s body undergoes various hormonal changes during menstrual cycle, it is easy to identify the time frame of ovulation by simply being attentive towards ones period start and end date. A typical menstrual cycle which is of 28 days in duration, has the following important milestones –
Day 1: Start of blood flow. The uterine layer starts disintegrating as no pregnancy happens in the previous cycle and ovum as well as uterine tissue is discharged as blood.
Day 2 – 13: The follicular phase. This is the time during which new follicles become active and start developing into ovum.
Day 14: Ovulation. This is a mid-cycle stage when the ovum is released from the ovary. The estrogen levels surge significantly and in-turn lead to a rise in LH or Luteinizing hormone. This increased LH level causes the follicles to release ova into the fallopian tubes. Although 14th day is the most commonly observed time for ovulation, some women may experience it any time within the duration of 11th to 21st day of their menstrual cycle.
Day 15 – 22: The Luteal phase. This is the phase during which the left over follicle or corpus luteum releases progesterone and leads to thickening of the uterine wall. Meanwhile, the ovum waits in the fallopian tube for imminent fertilization.
Day 23 – 24: Possibility of embryo implantation. During this phase, the ovum moves to the uterus and implantation can happen if successful fertilization has happened.
Day 25 – 28: The hormone dip. If no implantation of fertilized embryo occurs in the uterus, the hormonal levels start dipping in the blood stream, causing the uterine lining to disintegrate and be shed as the menstrual flow.
An ovulation calculator requests for the only two important details in order to calculate your ovulation time –
- The date of first day of last period
- Average cycle duration (in days), i.e. how many days of gap is there between two periods
Who can’t use ovulation calculator
Despite the simple logic which allows for estimation of ovulation period with the help of an ovulation calculator, there are certain exceptions to its usage. Not all women can use it reliably to track their menstrual period and can in-fact struggle with its inaccuracy. Women with following conditions can’t use ovulation calculator –
- Women with a menstrual cycle shorter than 28 days
- Women with menstrual cycle longer than 32 days
- Women with irregular menstrual cycle
- Women suffering from conditions like PCOD can’t reliably use this tool either
- Women undergoing menopause can’t get accurate results from ovulation calculator either
- Women who have just recovered from a serious illness and though usually have regular periods, may have suffered blood loss and can face erratic periods for some time
Although, sometimes a menstrual period can happen without ovulation and at times, despite ovulation a menstrual period may not follow. An ovulation calculator cannot take such cases into account.
What are its benefits?
An ovulation calculator is beneficial for identifying the exact time when the body produces ova. Although this knowledge is of no use as a birth control measure, it can surely be used as a predictive tool to ensure conception by parents trying to get pregnant. It is commonly known that sperms can stay active within the body for 2-3 days. But is rarely known that an ovum can only stay active for 24 hours, during which time fertilization has to be ensured. This means, it is important to know the exact duration of ovulation and ensure copulation 24-48 hours prior and 24 hours after ovulation. Using an ovulation calculator and tracking your period on a regular basis can make this estimate much more accurate. For a higher level of accuracy, ovulation kits are also available in the market which can track the hormonal activity in the body to confirm the process of ovulation.