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Do you know what ovulation is? And what is it for? Do you even know if you’re ovulating?

Ovulation is the main event of your monthly cycle. Hopefully your hormones have been doing their job during the follicular phase, your follicles have produced enough oestrogen and an egg has matured enough to rupture the follicle and start it’s journey through the fallopian tube.

A surge of luteinising hormone (LH) triggers the egg to be released into the fallopian tubes, and this is where it gets fertilised by lurking sperm, or re-absorbed into the body. You may notice a twinge or a mild pain in your lower pelvis when ovulation occurs.  The pain can be a dull cramp or a sharp and sudden twinge.  It’s usually on either the left- or right-hand side of your tummy depending on which ovary is releasing the egg.  It can last just a few minutes or continue for a day or 2. Some women notice a little vaginal bleeding when it happens.

Fun fact – we don’t have a name for this in English, but in German, it’s called mittelschmerz – which just means ‘middle pain’.

At the same time, all that lovely oestrogen which has been working hard on eggs, has also started changing the cervical mucus from non-fertile (white, thick, sticky) to fertile (clear, slippery, wet), making it easier for sperm to have an easier swim up to the Fallopian tubes. Your cervix will also soften, move down and open slightly – all this is to help the passage of sperm.

The Corpus Luteum

At the same time as the egg is released, the collapsed follicle magically restructures itself into the corpus luteum, a gland producing progesterone, which supports the development of an embryo, or fades away over the luteal phase until your next bleed.

Ovulation is the time in your cycle when you are most likely to become pregnant. And conversely, the time to avoid having sex or protect yourself from potential pregnancies if you are NOT actively trying to conceive. If you’re temperature charting you might notice a dip in temperature just BEFORE ovulation, followed by a rise of at least 0.3°C which should then stay higher for at least 3 readings.

Signs of ovulation

What else to look for if you want signs of ovulation:

  • Tender boobs
  • Increased libido
  • More energy
  • Ovulation pain
  • Egg white type cervical mucus

What issues might have an effect on ovulation?

  • Post-contraception anovulation – this can last for months after stopping use of the hormonal pill, coil or implant
  • PCOS – remember this is an inflammatory disease so management is key
  • Hormonal factors like high LH, high testosterone, low progesterone etc.
  • Stress – pandemic, anyone?
  • Being underweight – your body puts itself into ‘safety mode’ which stops ovulation
  • You’re peri-menopausal, where ovulation becomes erratic

Can you improve ovulation?

Can ovulation be improved? Yes. You can improve the hormonal balancing act that leads to ovulation, with a combination nutrition, lifestyle choices, supplements and reproductive reflexology.

If you have physical issues with your ovaries, e.g. you have had an ectopic pregnancy and only have 1 ovary left etc., then you may need assisted fertility treatment in a clinic BUT reflexology can still work to support you and your body alongside this. It takes 3 months for an egg to mature, and be ready for fertilisation.  What steps are you taking to prepare yours?

For more information on monthly cycles, preparation for conception, pregnancy and how holistic therapies can help, bookmark