You probably already know that ovulation – when a mature egg is released from your ovaries – marks the best time to get pregnant. Did you know, however, that not all women have the same cycle, and that your individual cycle may be slightly different month-to-month?
The follicular phase begins on the first day of your period and continues up to the point of ovulation. The hormones FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and estrogen rise slowly causing the growth of several ovarian follicles. A surge in LH (luteinising hormone) causes the release of an egg from the dominant follicle. This is ovulation. Although the average length of the follicular phase is 14 days, it is common for this phase to last much longer and it can vary from cycle to cycle.
The luteal phase is the second half of the ovulation cycle, beginning immediately after ovulation and continuing through to the start of your next period or start of a pregnancy. This phase is characterized by increased production of the hormone progesterone, which causes a prolonged spike in your basal body temperature (BBT). Temperature stays high until a couple of days before the end of your cycle. While the average length of the luteal phase is approximately 14 days, the length and consistency can also vary between women.
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