The Ovulatory Phase of Your Menstrual Cycle
The Ovulatory phase occurs in the middle of your cycle, at around day 14. For couples interested in conceiving, intercourse should ideally occur two to three times per week soon after the cycle begins to ensure that intercourse falls within the fertile window, which is approximately one to two days prior to ovulation. In a 28-day cycle, this is day 11 or 12 of the menstrual cycle.
Prior to ovulation, estrogen levels continue to rise as the dominant follicle matures. But then, on the day prior to ovulation, a “switch” occurs in which estrogen, which previously provided negative feedback to the pituitary gland, now causes a surge in luteinizing hormone (LH). The LH surge causes release of the egg from the follicle approximately 36 hours later. Granulosa cells surrounding the egg begin to produce progesterone, which stabilizes the endometrial lining in preparation for potential fertilization and implantation.
Dr. Jenna Friedenthal is a Fellow in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York. Dr. Friedenthal completed her undergraduate education at Yale University. She went on to complete her medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine with Distinction in Research. While in medical school, she received the Senior Research Fellowship award for her research accomplishments in reproductive endocrinology and immunology. Dr. Friedenthal then completed her residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at New York University. During her residency training, Dr. Friedenthal received the Mortimer Levitz Best Basic Science Award for her research on pre-implantation genetic testing.