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Does ovulation only happen on Day 14?

Dianna Graveman | 6, January 2012


Ovulation happens for most women about two weeks before their monthly period, but that doesn't mean it will happen exactly on Day 14. Typically, a woman will ovulate anywhere between 10 and 16 days before her next period. If your cycle lasts the average 28 days, you will most likely ovulate somewhere between Day 13 and 15--thus, the theory that Day 14 is the day.

However, as everyone knows, women's menstrual cycles differ. They may not last 28 days, they may shorten or lengthen with age, and they may vary based on stress, health factors, physical activity, or environmental influences. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, typically a healthy woman's menstrual cycle lasts somewhere between 21 and 35 days. It's possible for some women to have even longer and occasionally, shorter cycles than this.

You will begin to be fertile about four or five days before you ovulate, and remain so for one or two days. Fertility is highest day before you ovulate and the day after.

Obviously, even if you are generally very regular with a 28-day cycle, counting on a specific day of the month to become pregnant or avoid pregnancy is a bad idea. If you are trying to become pregnant or if you are using non-artificial means of birth control to keep from becoming pregnant, you will want to be aware of signals your body sends you each month to alert you to the fact that you are likely to be fertile.

A woman's cervical mucus will become clear and more elastic just before ovulation. When the ovary releases the egg, some women have slight abdominal cramps, typically called mittelschmerz, or "middle pain." It can last as little as a few minutes or as long as three or four hours. Many women also have an increase in body temperature right after ovulation, as much as one degree Fahrenheit. Paying attention to these signs around the middle of your cycle will help you predict when you are most fertile and likely to become pregnant.

Fertilization, if it occurs, will happen within 24 to 48 hours after ovulation. If fertilization does not occur, the egg will dissolve and be expelled about 12 to 16 days later, when you have your next monthly period.

An ovulation calendar or fertility chart can help you more carefully pinpoint your most fertile days. To use one, you will need to know the typical length of your menstrual cycle and the length of your luteal phase, the time between ovulation and the day of your next period. The luteal phase (Latin for "yellow body") is named for a small growth on the ovary's surface that occurs when an egg is released. It usually lasts about 14 days and does not vary much from woman to woman.

Even though stress, illness, and physical activity can cause changes in the length of a woman's cycle or delay ovulation, the luteal phase generally remains about the same from month to month. So you can calculate the approximate day you will ovulate by subtracting the number of days in your luteal phase from the length of your typical cycle, for example, 28 days minus 14. While you can request blood tests to determine exactly the length of your luteal phase, for most women, it is 14 days. It must be at least 10 in order for you to become pregnant, according to experts.

Of course, even with the use of a fertility chart and knowledge of your cycle's length and luteal phase, extreme caution should always be taken when attempting to avoid pregnancy without the use of artificial contraceptives. Pay attention to your body's signals, but always consult with your physician or fertility expert when considering pregnancy or when it is necessary for you to avoid it.

Related Articles

What is Ovulation Spotting?

Implantation of a Fertilized Egg


Showing 1 - 10 out of 11 Comments
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Sheenu Aug 27, 2018 08:24:15 PM ET

My period was on the 1st of Aug. I experienced white stretchy and sticky mucus in heavy Quantity, on the 11th of Aug. I have regular period cycle. Does that mean I am ovulating at that time?

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chinny Nov 26, 2017 05:31:18 PM ET

I saw my period on 12 of November, when will I ovulate?

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Guest Oct 15, 2017 05:09:08 PM ET

I had my period on 2 Oct and on 11 I had blood spotting up to today, with mild cramps. What does this mean?

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Ijeoma Oct 11, 2017 04:34:09 AM ET

I had my period on 23 Aug and 27 Sept 2017. When am I likely to ovulate?

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Puneet kaur Oct 1, 2017 05:04:18 PM ET

My last period was 17 Sep 2017, previous 22 Aug 2017, 25 July 2017. I want to know about my ovulation days.

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Guest Apr 22, 2017 08:35:48 AM ET

I had my period 13 April 2017. When is my ovulation day, and my fertile period because I need conceive.

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Guest Mar 29, 2017 02:07:32 AM ET

I had my period on 18th of March 2017. And I seem to have ovulated on 28th March. I have a 27 days cycle, is this normal?

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Mgh Feb 9, 2017 07:46:52 AM ET

Hi I'm 27 years old. My last period was 25 jan 2017 Previous 23 dec 2016 21 nov 2016 19 oct 2016 I want to know about my ovulation days and most fertility days

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Ann Oct 27, 2014 06:35:55 PM ET

I had my last period on 10/1/14, and I'm expecting to see it again on the 28th. I have seen my period on the 27th. Please, when is my fertile and ovulation period?

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Annu Sep 10, 2014 12:40:40 PM ET

I got my period on the 12th the August. I took a Gestofit pill for 10 days during my ovulation period, and then had sex. But, yesterday evening I started bleeding. I have been vomiting and feel nauseated. Is it possible that I'm pregnant?

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