When you’re trying to conceive (TTC), you might well be all over your days and dates.
Your last period, when the next one is due, and when you might have ovulated.
And sometimes (or often), your ovulation will be late.
So, what is late ovulation, and what might you need to know?
In this article 📝
- Can you ovulate late in your cycle?
- What are the signs of late ovulation?
- What causes late ovulation?
- Can you ovulate late and be pregnant?
- Does late ovulation affect egg quality?
- Can late ovulation be treated?
Can you ovulate late in your cycle?
Yes, you can ovulate late.
Most women actually ovulate between day 11 and day 21 of their cycle — usually about 14 days before their next period starts.
Doctors say that ovulation after day 21 of your menstrual cycle can be considered officially “late.”
And doctors actually call irregular ovulation “oligo-ovulation”.
This might sound a bit worrying, and that’s totally understandable.
But it’s actually really common.
It’s worth bearing in mind your personal cycle length.
For some of us, ovulation always occurs on the late side if we have longer cycles.
And for some women, ovulation can happen earlier if you happen to have a shorter cycle.
What are the signs of late ovulation?
If you’re missing these signs, there’s a chance that your ovulation is late – but not everyone experiences them in the same way, so it’s difficult to know for sure.
If you want to know whether you’re ovulating late, you can do an ovulation test kit that measures hormones in your urine to check if you have ovulated or predict when you will.
What causes late ovulation?
Your menstrual cycle is unique to you, so why ovulation might be later can be different for each person.
But these are common reasons for later ovulation:
Medications: There are medications that can cause late ovulation – so it’s best to chat through any medications you take with your doctor if you are TTC.
Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding temporarily prevents ovulation, but it’s not totally guaranteed as a method of birth control. Speak to your healthcare provider if you have any questions about this.
PCOS: Polycystic ovary syndrome can affect ovulation and cause irregular periods.
Thyroid: If your thyroid isn’t regulating certain processes in your body, then one of the possible complications includes irregular menstruation.
Stress: Being under stress can influence your menstrual cycle.
Age and weight: As you get older you have fewer eggs, and you may ovulate less frequently. And your weight can affect your hormone levels, which affects ovulation.
Can you ovulate late and be pregnant?
Pregnancy can be delayed by late ovulation, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
If you have a longer cycle, then you have a later ovulation date, and you can still conceive.
Until you ovulate, estrogen is released, which keeps the lining of your womb growing, and then ovulation triggers the release of progesterone, which helps the lining support a fertilized egg.
So even if you ovulate late, you still have a chance of “catching” your fertilized egg in your uterine lining.
The challenge with late ovulation is knowing when your fertile window is, and therefore knowing when it’s best to get down to action.
Does late ovulation affect egg quality?
For 25-30% of people trying to conceive, ovulation issues can be part of their struggles.
Egg quality is decided months before it’s released during ovulation, so late ovulation technically doesn’t affect egg quality and isn’t seen as an overt indication of egg quality.
That’s something only a doctor can test for.
Ovulating later doesn’t mean that you won’t ovulate at all that month, but consistently ovulating irregularly might be an indicator of other hormonal issues, including perimenopause.
Reaching that stage in life can have an impact on the quality of your eggs.
Unfortunately, ovulating later can mean that you have a shorter luteal phase.
This can impact your chances of conceiving because a fertilized egg will have more difficulty embedding in your uterine lining.
Can late ovulation be treated?
Yes, late ovulation can be treated.
If you notice you’re regularly ovulating late, you can arrange an appointment with your doctor to discuss what might be going on.
And what treatment they recommend will depend on the cause of the late ovulation.
You might be prescribed medicine to encourage the body to release the eggs, such as Clomid or Letrozole.
Or you might be recommended to make some lifestyle changes that may help.
If you want to connect with other women who share your experiences, join Peanut.
You might also be interested in:
Ovulation Pain: Everything You Need to Know
What Does Ovulation Feel Like?
What Can You Do About Ovulation Cramps?
Ovulation Tests: How They Work & When to Use Them
7 Possible Ovulation Symptoms
Bloating During Ovulation: What it is and how to help
How to Get Pregnant: Expert Advice From Fertility Specialists