Last updated on July 27th, 2018 at 05:27 pm
Can you get pregnant when you are not ovulating is a common question after intercourse or if ovulation fails to occurs due to hormonal or medical problem.
So, what is ovulation?
Ovulation is the release of 1 or more eggs from the ovary every menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle length is the number of days between 2 period and varies among women. Normal menstrual cycle length is 21 to 35 days.
Lets say your last period was on the 14th of January and your period started on the 13 of february, then you have a 30 days menstrual cycle.
what’s the normal menstrual cycle length?
Normal menstrual cycle in women is 28 ± 7 days. This means if you have your period every 21 to 35 days, it is normal.
when does ovulation occurs during your menstrual cycle?
Ovulation occurs in the middle of your menstrual cycle. If you have a regular 28 day menstrual cycle, its expected you will ovulate on day 14 to 16 before your next period.
What causes ovulation?
Ovulation occurs due to interplay of hormones from the hypothalamus, pituitary and the ovaries. Any disruption can affect ovulation.
During your menstrual cycle, GnRH (Gonadotropin releasing hormone) from the hypothalamus, stimulates the pituitary gland to increase secretions of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).
FSH released by the pituitary gland stimulates the ovaries to grow and increase in size. As these follicles grows, they increase production of estrogen which continues to rise till 36 hours before ovulation
Increased estrogen stimulates the pituitary gland to cause surge in luteinizing hormone (LH). LH surge starts 36 hours before ovulation and reaches its peak about 12 hours before ovulation occurs.
If you can detect LH surge, you can detect when your next ovulation will occur.
Fertility monitor and LH kits can detect or predict your next ovulation.
How can i detect ovulation
Detecting ovulation is easier if you understand
Ways you can detect ovulation are:
Your vaginal discharge
Vaginal discharge in women can vary from time to time during the menstrual cycle. After your period ends, vaginal discharge is thick white discharge.
As you get close to ovulation, your discharge becomes watery, slippery and stretchy. If you notice this type of discharge, then its likely you will ovulate in a few hours or days. During ovulation, your discharge is more watery and egg white.
If you dip a finger into your vagina and examine your mucus, it can stretch between 2 of your finger without breaking. This type of discharge confirms you’re in your ovulation period or fertile window.
After ovulation, your discharge becomes thick again and dry before your period. This occurs due to breakdown of corpus luteum with reduced progesterone hormone.
If you notice your discharge is excessive before your period, it’s likely you may be pregnant.
Your basal body temperature (BBT)
If you can measure your body temperature every day, you can detect when ovulation will take place.
BBT is early morning temperature after at least 6 hours of sleep. You should get a very sensitive thermometer and check your temperature while still on bed.
Just before ovulation will occurs, there is a slight dip in body temperature which increases after ovulation.
Ovulation cramps occurs about a week after period ends. Though not felt by all women, some women will feel mild cramps during ovulation.
Other signs to detect that you’re ovulating are
- Low cervix in your vagina just before ovulation
- Breast pain and swelling after ovulation
- Abdominal bloating
- Brown discharge 2 weeks before next period
- Increased sensitivity to smell and taste
Can You Get Pregnant When You Are Not Ovulating?
You cannot get pregnant if you are not ovulating. Ovulation, which is release of eggs from your ovaries, is important for fertilization and pregnancy to occur.
So, Why Are You Not Ovulating?
These are some reasons you may not be ovulating.
Safe period during your menstrual cycle.
Ovulation does not occur every time in your menstrual cycle. If you have a regular cycle, you are likely to ovulate 14 days before your next period. 5 days before you ovulate and a day after you’ve ovulated are not safe to have intercourse. If you have intercourse during this period you may get pregnant.
Days before your next period is the safest time during your menstrual cycle to have intercourse. However, some women may still get pregnant before period if ovulation is delayed due to stress, acute illness or anxiety.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovarian syndrome occurs in some women due to high body androgens. Women with PCOS do not ovulate regularly or have no ovulation for months
If you have PCOS, you may have any of these symptoms
- Irregular period
- Skipped periods
- Male pattern hair distribution
- Light or sometimes heavy period
- Obesity or increased weight gain
- Difficulty conceiving
What causes PCOS in women?
PCOS is found in at least 1 in 20 women of childbearing age. It occurs due to hormone imbalance, excessive androgens and high levels of insulin.
Though the exact cause is still unknown, if your sister or mother has PCOS, you may have the disease too.
Can PCOS be treated?
Drugs like clomiphene, metformin and combine pills have been used with varying success. Regular exercise and weight loss seems to be beneficial with improved fertility.
During menopause, women do not ovulate due to depletion of ovarian follicles or follicles that no longer respond to hormone triggers.
Menopause occurs at age 51 years with absence of period for 12 straight months. If you are more than 51 years and not ovulating, its due to menopause.
The hypothalamus secretes GnRH which controls ovulation in women. Any dysfunction of hypothalamic release of hormones can cause no ovulation for weeks or months. Conditions that can affect your hypothalamus function are
- Eating disorders
- Severe weight loss
- Sleepless nights
Premature ovarian failure (POF)
POF occurs due to premature depletion of ovarian follicles before menopause sets in.
Symptoms of premature menopause are
- Dry vagina
- Difficulty conceiving
- Mood changes
- Thinning of bones (Osteoporosis)
- Absent period in your 30’s
- Irregular period
Other reasons why you are not ovulating are
9 signs you’re not ovulating
- You have no period at all
- Irregular periods
- Abnormal male type hair pattern
- Your hair is thinning or falling out
- You are more than 51 years
- You are on contraceptives
- Recently inserted IUCD
- You have very heavy periods
- You are pregnant
Now its your turn. Worried you may get pregnant while not ovulating? Let us know your questions.