|Knowing your ovulation date increases your chances of falling pregnant. Here’s our guide to calculating it.|
A woman’s menstrual cycle has three phases, with the first day of your period signalling the start of the cycle:
- The follicular phase, which lasts for about 14 days. During this fortnight, follicles in the ovary will reach maturity, and a single one of them will develop into a mature egg (an ovum). Your period begins right at the start of the follicular phase.
- Ovulation, which takes place over 24 hours. When FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) reaches peak maturity, another hormone, LH (luteinising hormone), is secreted and causes the egg to be released from the follicle. The egg is then carried along into the Fallopian tubes. If it’s not fertilised, it’s shed, and you get your period.
- The luteal phase, which lasts for 14 days. During this time, the egg secretes corpus luteum, luteal hormone and progesterone. Progesterone prepares the womb lining for an egg to be implanted.
These different phases overlap, which is why the overall length of the cycle can seem longer than 28 days!
To calculate your ovulation date, you should bear in mind that no matter how long your entire cycle is, the luteal phase always lasts for 14 to 15 days.