Cycle Basics: Ovulation

The main event! Ovulation is the main event of your menstrual cycle – it is an indicator of optimal health and fertility, and it also triggers the production of progesterone in the second half of your cycle – the luteal phase: which is essential for whole body health over your reproductive life and well into menopause.

In order for ovulation to occur, one of those beautiful little follicles that were developing in the follicular phase has reached maturity (or multiple have in the case of twins and triplets!). In response to the increased levels of oestrogen reduced by this mature follicle, luteinising hormone surges, triggering the rupture of this ovum from the follicle. It makes its way to the Fallopian tube – this is where sperm and egg should meet in order for conception to occur. In order to maximise your chances of conceiving, sperm should already be waiting or arrive within 24 hours of ovulation!

Wanting to avoid pregnancy? Then it is as *simple* (and as complex) as keeping sperm away from the fertile egg. That is why identifying the opening of the fertile window during the follicular phase, and confirming its closure after ovulation is essential to naturally avoiding pregnancy.

Even if you do not wish to become pregnant, ovulation is so important to womens’ health – because it allows for the development of the corpus luteum, which is created from the ruptured follicle in the ovary and secretes the higher levels of progesterone that are present in the luteal phase. Progesterone is essential for brain, bone, breast and cardiovascular health, not just now but well into menopause – and it is only when regular ovulation is occurring that you are building up your stores for the rest of your life!

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