Don’t get me wrong, periods are amazing. I’m a huge fan. But we get so caught up with our monthly bleed that we forget about the most important aspect of our cycle.
Ovulation usually happens mid-cycle, except for ladies on the birth control pill, as they do not ovulate nor have a period, instead they experience what is called a “withdrawal bleed.” Also, some women not on hormonal birth control will experience anovulatory cycles (a bleed that occurs without ovulation ) due to various hormone imbalances. If your cycle is longer than 36 days, you either experienced delayed ovulation, or you did not ovulate.
3 Reasons Ovulation is Critical:
You can’t get pregnant if you don’t ovulate, so if that is on your agenda, ovulation is necessary. But remember, the ability to conceive is a sign of good health, so even if you aren’t planning for a family now or ever, you still want to be fertile. I recommend the Fertility Awareness Method (no it’s not the Rhythm Method!) for those of you both planning pregnancy planning or avoidance.
2. Healthy Periods
Our bodies can’t produce the hormone progesterone without ovulating.
Each month when you ovulate, a corpus luteum is created that grows on the surface of your ovary, and this is where all of your progesterone is produced.
Progesterone is responsible for lightening your periods, as it counteracts the affects of estrogen. So if you are not ovulating you will most likely be in a state of estrogen dominance, and this is a big culprit for heavy and painful periods.
3. Healthy Body and Mind
Progesterone is the calming hormone that helps us stay resilient to stress and sleep well. This is why women who don’t ovulate (especially women with PCOS) can suffer from anxiety.
And that’s not all this super hormone can do. Progesterone nourishes our hair and nails by reducing male hormones, as well as boosts energy by stimulating the thyroid and the metabolism. And recent research has found that women who don’t ovulate experience bone loss at a faster rate than women who do ovulate, so it’s a crucial component to preventing osteoporosis.
Signs of a progesterone deficiency:
- Hair loss
- Premenstrual migraines
- Heavy periods
So do you now see why it’s SO crucial to ovulate?
4 Steps to Confirm Ovulation:
1. Check your cervical fluid. When you’re close to ovulation and ovulating, your cervical mucus will look like that off the clear part of an egg and stretch between your fingers.
2. Chart your temperature. There are many apps out there to help you do this. I personally use Kindara . Each morning when you first wake up, before doing anything or eating or drinking anything, take your temperature. After ovulation has occurred your temperature will spike 2/10ths of a degree and will remain elevated until menstruation.
3. Use LH strips.
LH (luteinizing hormone) spikes a few days before ovulation. LH signals a follicle to swell and burst releasing an egg into your fallopian tube. When an LH strip shows positive, you can expect to to ovulate few days later. If you don’t get an LH surge you will not ovulate that month. Note that women with PCOS might have several LH surges throughout the month, so this might not be an accurate way of determining upcoming ovulation.
4. Note any sensations. Some women feel a sharp twinge in their ovary when the egg releases.
I hope this article has inspired you to start charting, because awareness is the number key to taking charge of your reproductive health. If you are interested in more reading I recommend “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler.
Health Coach Jenna