How Long Does Ovulation Last?

How Long Does Ovulation Last?

How long do you ovulate for? It’s a fair question.

From the moment your ovary releases an egg, there’s a fertility window of 12 to 24 hours when it can be fertilized by a sperm cell.

Really doesn’t seem that long, does it?!

But don’t worry: when you’re trying to conceive (TTC), you don’t have to focus all your baby-making efforts on that short space of time.

You’ve actually got a few days when sex or insemination could lead to pregnancy.

We’ve got all the deets you need to know about your ovulation time frame, including the ovulation signs you can look out for to tell you it’s happening.

No time like the present!

In this article: 📝

  • How long does ovulation last?
  • How long is ovulation window?
  • What are the signs of ovulation?
  • How do you know when ovulation is over?
  • Can you get pregnant 2 days after ovulation?

How long does ovulation last?

First, let’s have a quick recap on the ovulation timeline.

Day 1 of your cycle is the first day of your period.

On about day 14, after getting a surge of luteinizing hormone (LH) from your brain, one of your ovaries releases a mature egg.

This egg bursts through the wall of the ovary and is picked up by the fimbriae (fingerlike branches) at the end of the nearest fallopian tube.

Once inside the tube, the egg will stay alive for 12 to 24 hours.

So for conception to take place, a sperm cell needs to meet up with the egg and fertilize it during that time.

If the egg reaches the end of its life without being fertilized, it will be reabsorbed into your body or flow out with your next period.

How long is ovulation window?

So, do you need to have sex during ovulation to get pregnant?

Technically, no.

Sperm can actually survive in your body for up to five days.

That gives you a window of about six days when sex or insemination could lead to pregnancy: the five days leading up to ovulation and the day of ovulation itself.

But timing sex to be as close as possible to ovulation will give you the best chance of conceiving.

You can do that by:

What are the signs of ovulation?

For many people, the most obvious sign that ovulation is approaching is a change in their vaginal discharge.

A few days before ovulation, it becomes very wet, slippery, and stretchy—something like raw egg whites.

So if you see any discharge like this, it’s a good indication that you’ll ovulate soon.

(Fun fact? This sticky substance is also a great medium for sperm to swim around inside your body while they wait for the egg to appear.)

You could also try tracking your basal body temperature (BBT)—you can use a basal thermometer for the most accurate results.

If you see that your temperature has risen—typically, it goes up to 97°–99°F—that can be a sign that ovulation has happened.

Temperature risesdue to an increase in progesterone which is the hormone responsible for the preparation of your uterus for a possible pregnancy.

Other less common signs you’re hitting your ovulation timeline include:

  • Pain or achiness near your ovaries (aka mittelschmerz)
  • Bloating
  • Tender breasts
  • Nausea
  • Light bleeding or spotting around the middle of your cycle

How do you know when ovulation is over?

Just as ovulation symptoms can give you clues that you’re approaching your fertility window, they can let you know when it’s closed.

Some symptoms of ovulation will only last for as long as ovulation itself is happening.

Let’s look at some examples:

How long does ovulation pain last?

Ovulation pain (or mittelschmerz) can last for as little as a few minutes or up to 48 hours.

You often feel it on just one side of your body.

When ovulation is over, this pain tends to abate until those trusty period cramps come back around again.

Or perhaps, all going well, implantation cramping kick in…

How long does ovulation bleeding last?

It’s a rare one, but for some women, ovulation bleeding can last for a day or two.

It’s usually just very light spotting that could result in pink vaginal discharge.

However, keep in mind that spotting between periods can happen before and after ovulation too.

And then there’s always implantation bleeding.

Best to treat this symptom with caution than a sure sign.

How long does ovulation bloating last?

This one can linger!

You might experience bloating from around three days before ovulation and for up to seven days afterward.

It’s all because of the ebb and flow of the different fertility hormones around this time.

Again, not the most solid indication of how long your ovulation window is.

How many days does ovulation discharge last

Checking your vaginal discharge is probably one of your most reliable signs that ovulation is over.

In a typical 28-day cycle, you can expect your cervical mucus to look more like thin, stretchy egg whites between days 13 and 15 before becoming thicker from day 16.

Has the wet, egg-white-type discharge disappeared, leaving you feeling dry or just a little sticky?

That’s a pretty reliable sign that ovulation is done and dusted for this cycle.

Can you get pregnant 2 days after ovulation?

It’s unlikely, but it could happen. Usually, your ovaries only release one egg per cycle, and then you have 12 to 24 hours when that egg can be fertilized.

But it is possible for your ovaries to release two eggs in a cycle, both in a 24-hour window.

So, say your ovaries release one egg and then another egg 24 hours later, you could potentially have 48 hours when there’s a possibility of conception.

Still, if you get familiar with your other typical signs of ovulation, observing when they stop could also give you a clue that ovulation is over.

Then it’s time for the two-week wait (TWW)! 🤞

Getting pregnant is all about timing, and it’s easy to get swept up in the technicalities of it all.

Sometimes to the point of turning sex into a chore.

But you don’t need to put pressure on yourselves to have sex constantly.

Having sex up to five days before ovulation or one day after can still get you pregnant.

Plus, there’s space for it to be fun and enjoyable, too.

Really. ❤️


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