If any female reproductive health subject can be as complicated and confusing as ovulation, it would be menstruation. Menstruation is that famous time of the month that is otherwise known as a “period” – this is the point at which a woman’s uterine lining, or endometrium, is shed if an ovulated egg was not fertilized.

Menstruation and ovulation are both part of a woman’s menstrual cycle, which makes the situation more complex since these two complicated parts are intertwined. Thus, we receive a great deal of inquiries regarding periods and their influence on a woman’s fertility. Many of these questions are coming from women who are experiencing difficulty conceiving. So to address the perplexity behind periods and ovulation, our group has answered five questions that come up regularly about this topic:

Question 1: Is it possible for women to ovulate during a period?

No – the very definitions of ovulation and the menstruation are two distinct parts of a woman’s menstrual cycle. In fact, a woman’s period is the aftermath of ovulation, as it’s intended to occur if a woman’s ovulated egg is not fertilized.

In some cases, it is possible for women to bleed around the time of ovulation, however, this is only spotting, or light ovulatory bleeding which is not to be confused with menstruation since spotting doesn’t involve shedding any of the endometrium. Unfortunately, if a woman encounters light or sporadic periods, it would be easy to mistake her period for ovulatory bleeding. This very possible situation is one of the many reasons why ovulation tracking can be so helpful for women who are trying since ovulation tracking tools would allow a woman to determine if she’s bleeding due to spotting or menstruation.

Question 2: Is it possible for women to ovulate directly after a period?

This answer for this one isn’t so simple and here’s the reason why: the length of your overall menstrual cycle is what determines your ovulation date. Baby Centre states that if your cycle is shorter than the average 28 days, for example, a 21 day cycle, and your menstrual flow lasts 7 days, you could ovulate directly after your period. The reason being that for most, ovulation occurs between 12-14 days before your next period starts, which means that your ovulation date should be between days 6 through 8. So, depending upon the length of your cycle, the response to this inquiry could be yes, or it could be no.

It’s important that a “short” menstrual cycle – where a woman starts her period every 21 to 28 days – is largely thought to be fairly normal. While stress and a few lifestyle habits can factor into why a woman may experience a shorter cycle, it’s frequently only a natural hormonal cycle that some women’s bodies create. However, you may want to get in touch with your healthcare provider if you experience bleeding more often than 21 days to make sure there aren’t any other underlying health or fertility issues at hand.

Question 3: Is it possible for women to conceive during a period?

This is another one of those questions where the answer is yes as well as no. Even though the conception process can’t occur whilst having a real period, it is possible for a woman to conceive after having intercourse during her period. This is possible because sperm have the ability to survive up to 7 days in woman’s body after sex, according to the UK’s National Health Service, then if a woman ovulates soon after her period ends and the timing works out in the sperms’ favor, it’s completely feasible for a woman to conceive in this situation. Much like question #2, everything boils down to what the length of a woman’s menstrual cycle is.

Question 4: Is ovulation possible without having a period?

There is a short answer and a longer more detailed answer to this one. The short answer is simply yes. Truth be told, this is a possible situation for women who experience sporadic periods. Unless they’re utilizing ovulation tools that track physical symptoms of ovulation, a woman in this situation may get no sign of when she ovulates by any means. On the off chance that you are experiencing difficulty getting pregnant, and you don’t encounter customary periods, we strongly suggest charting your basal temperature and cervical mucus fluctuations, to ensure that you have some idea of when you may ovulate – this, and working with your specialist, will help optimise your chances of conceiving as well as give some assistance with tracking your ovulation date, despite an absence of a period. 

Question 5: Is it possible to have a period and then not ovulate?

Tragically, yes (“Tragically” because most women use their period dates as a way to help track when they ovulate.) While ovulation and menstruation mostly go together, if something is off in a woman’s reproductive system one month, it’s quite possible for her body to not ovulate for that menstrual cycle. Remember that during a cycle, specific hormone levels determine when a woman ovulates and menstruates. An increase in specific hormone triggers ovulation, while a drop in these hormones triggers menstruation. However, in the event that adequate higher levels of follicle-stimulating hormone and estrogen are not present, ovulation will not occur. Not to mention the other multiple factors that can affect hormone production like stress, lifestyle changes, or illnesses. So it’s completely possible for a woman to have her period and yet not ovulate. Due to this being true, it’s important to not only rely on your period dates as a way to keep track of ovulation when trying to conceive.

These inquiries with respect to ovulation and menstruation are only a couple examples of the sorts of questions we often receive from hopeful couples who are experiencing issues becoming pregnant. In case you didn’t see your question come up in this entry in this blog entry, don’t worry! We may have addressed it in our last post – or we may answer it in the coming weeks as we continue to answer ovulation questions in our upcoming blogs. Stay tuned!