Ovulation, Conception, and Pregnancy

OVULATION:

This is what happens when your egg is released from your ovary to travel along the Phalopian tube. You have to ovulate to become pregnant.

The egg lives 12-24 hours after leaving the ovary. Normally only one egg is released at one time. Since it doesn’t live very long, you need to have intercourse before it is released so the sperm can meet the egg in time for it to be fertilized.

The date you ovulate can be affected by stress, illness, or the disruption of your normal routines. Sometimes when you ovulate, you may have a little bit of light spotting.

If your egg is fertilized, implantation occurs 6-12 days after ovulation.

Even if you don’t ovulate, you can still have your period. It is called an ‘anovulatory’ cycle. These can happen every once in awhile, so you don’t need to worry unless it is happening for at least 3 months in a row.

Some women may feel a bit of pain or aching near ovaries called mittelschmerz (middle pain). It isn’t really painful, and you might think it is just gas pain or something.

If the egg is not fertilized, it disintegrates and is absorbed into the uterine lining before your period begins.

Ovulation can occur anywhere from day 5-25 of your cycle, counting from day 1 of LMP (last menstral period).

The first half of your cycle is called the follicular phase. It lasts from day 1 to the day you ovulate. This phase can be anywhere from 7-40 days maximum.

The luteal phase is from ovulation to your period. Usually this is only 12-16 days long, if you are not pregnant. If your luteal phase is less than 10 days, you need to see a doctor to lengthen this.

Stress can make you ovulate later than normal, which in turns makes your period later. You period doesn’t come late if you stress after you ovulate. It doesn’t work that way.

Once you ovulate, any intercourse after will not get you pregnant. Sperm can live up to 5 days in fertile mucus, but they have to meet the egg in the Phalopian tube before it becomes useless the day after it is released.

CONCEPTION:

If the egg is fertilized, the genetic make-up is already decided. Withing 24 hours of fertilization, the egg starts to divide.

The egg remains in the tube for about 3 days then travels to the uterus to implant.

If it implants, the cervix is plugged with mucus and the uterine lining begins to thicken.

An embryo is the phase from conception to week 8 of pregnancy. A fetus is from week 8 till the birth.

PREGNANCY:

Doctors measure pregnancy from the first day of your LMP, making it 40 weeks from that date.

A normal pregnancy is 280 days from LMP, but it is only 266 days from conception to birth.

HOWEVER, not everyone ovulates at day 14-16, so pregnancies are longer or shorter than 40 weeks. You could be anywhere from a month early to 2 months later than the date they give. Which is probably why it is an Estimated due date.

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This is mainly educational. Ultrasounds can sometimes get a better due date than your estimated one. If you know when you ovulated, you will actually have a better date than the one from your LMP.

Any questions you have should be directed to your doctor or midwife.

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