How Long Do You Ovulate For?

It is natural for women of childbearing age to ovulate every month. In a 28-day menstrual cycle, you are likely to ovulate around day 14. Ovulation refers to the process in which your ovaries release an egg that passes throw your fallopian tube and eventually reaches your uterus. Many women wonder how long ovulation lasts. It actually depends on a number of factors; follicles in your ovaries usually start to mature by day 6 of your menstrual cycle, but for most women, it can happen anywhere between days 6 and 14. An egg usually develops after day 10 and comes out of the ovary on day 14. While it is a natural process, it really helps to track ovulation. Let's find out more about it.

How Long Does Ovulation Last?

Under normal circumstances, your ovulation cycle may last for about 24 hours – it happens once each month. An egg will dissolve or die in 12-24 hours after being released from an ovary, if of course it is not fertilized within this time. Your uterine line will also shed in case no fertilization takes place, and this causes menstrual bleeding to appear, which in most cases starts after two weeks of ovulation.

Many women think that since they ovulate once a month, they can get pregnant only on that day. This is not true because you can conceive within a six-day window, which starts about five days prior to ovulation and continues through the day of ovulation. Moreover, sperm can survive up to five days in your body, so if you have unprotected sex a few days prior to ovulation, chances are there will be sperm to fertilize an egg. This may result in pregnancy.

It is important to understand that conception does not take place in your uterus, but in the fallopian tube. If an egg is not fertilized, it is dissolved in the fallopian tube, but it continues further and reaches into the uterus if it is already fertilized in the fallopian tube. Once an egg is fertilized, it moves into the uterus and implants itself to the uterine wall. This implantation usually takes place 6-10 days after conception.

How Do You Know If You Are Ovulating?

You do not always notice any signs of ovulation, but once you know the answer to, "How long does ovulation last?" you may also develop an idea of how to know when you are ovulating. Here are a few tips to help you out:

  • Check your cervical fluid for possible changes. If you are experiencing cervical fluid or discharge, this usually indicates that you are already ovulating or will start in a few days. The fluid in this case is wet, clear, stringy, or stretchy.
  • Check your basal body temperature. Your basal body temperature refers to your body temperature when you are at rest. If you are ovulating, your basal body temperature is likely to go up. The only problem is that most women notice a significant increase in body temperature 3-4 days after their fertile time. Therefore, it is important to keep an eye on your basal body temperature and this is when a basal thermometer will come in handy.
  • Furthermore, you may experience some other signs of ovulation, such as sore breasts, cramping, high sex drive, and bloating. If you are experiencing these signs, it may really help to check your body temperature to know if you are ovulating.

Know Your Odds of Pregnancy

How long does ovulation last? About 24 hours. What are your odds of pregnancy during this period? Many studies have been conducted to accurately judge how fertile you are just before and after you ovulate. Unfortunately, there is still no accurate method available to detect when you actually ovulate. You can use a body basal temperature chart, an ovulation predictor kit, and try other ways, but they may indicate different ovulation day. The only way to detect ovulation is through blood work or ultrasound. Even these tests will tell you that you have already ovulated, which may not be very helpful.

Nevertheless, there is some research explaining the odds of becoming pregnant before or after ovulation – remember, that is only when you know the exact day of ovulation.

Engaged in Sex

Chances of Pregnancy

5 days prior to ovulation


4 days prior to ovulation


3 days prior to ovulation


2 days prior to ovulation


1 days prior to ovulation


On ovulation day


2 days after ovulation


Some studies also show that you may end up becoming pregnant even when you have sex 6-7 days before ovulation, which means that your fertile window is not as small as you might think. However, it is important to note that there are large variations in odds of conceiving depending on when you engage in sex. This is mainly due to the use of a different method to calculate ovulation day. Moreover, the studies conducted to get these odds were limited by the number of conceived cycles.

Facts That Can Affect Ovulation

Now you know "How long does ovulation last?" it is important to point out that it is possible for some women to not ovulate even in their childbearing age. This happens because many factors can impair your body's ability to release an egg.

  • It could happen when you have a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in which there is an imbalance in progesterone and estrogen. This imbalance results in the growth of ovarian cysts, which affect your menstrual cycle, cardiac function, fertility, and appearance.
  • Similarly, an underactive or overactive thyroid can also affect your ability to ovulate. It may also lead to premature menopause. It is also possible to not ovulate in case you are under serious stress. Therefore, it is important to talk to your doctor to discuss why you are not ovulating.

Interestingly, it is possible to have your menstrual cycle even when you do not ovulate. You notice menstrual bleeding when your uterine lining becomes thick and sheds itself even when there is no egg. However, you may not notice heavy bleeding and your cycle may also be shorter than normal. If your cycle is very long or very short, chances are you are not ovulating. 

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