You might be trying to conceive, but late ovulation is becoming a cause of concern for you. You need to understand late ovulation in detail so that you would know what’s causing the delay in your case.
Understanding when you ovulate is important; it can help you understand the right time to conceive.
What Is Late Ovulation?
To understand late ovulation, you have to understand your menstrual cycle. There are three phases in your menstrual cycle. The first one is the follicular phase. It starts on the first day of the period and lasts until you ovulate. The length of this phase varies for every woman.
During the follicular phase, there are follicles in the ovary that hold eggs, and only one egg matures and becomes dominant. The next phase is ovulation, which lasts 12-14 hours. A small window opens, and you are the most fertile and have the highest chance of getting pregnant.
During ovulation, the dominant follicle breaks and releases an egg that travels to the uterus through the fallopian tube. So the egg has finally exited from the ovary.
The empty follicle turns into corpus lutetium in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Progesterone hormone is produced that prepares the uterus for pregnancy. When the egg meets the sperm, it leads to fertilisation, but if implantation doesn’t happen, you get the period as the uterine line starts to shed. So the luteal phase lasts between the ovulation and until you get the next period.
Ask your other female friends, mother, sisters, and cousins. You would be amazed to know that each woman’s cycle lengths differ. Thus, the menstrual cycle differs for every woman out there. Let’s say your menstrual cycle is 28 days; then, you would ovulate on or around the 14th day of your cycle.
Mostly, it’s okay for ovulation to happen after 14 days, but you would call it late ovulation when it occurs after 21 days.
What causes late ovulation?
There are many causes of late ovulation. It can be because of hormonal imbalances.
At this point, you might wonder what contributes to hormonal imbalances. Let’s discuss some of the reasons:
You might have heard from others that it’s not good to take so much stress as it can affect your health. Stress can be a contributing factor when it comes to your menstrual cycle and late ovulation. Stress can affect hormone levels, which in turn affects your menstrual cycle. If you are trying to conceive, relax, as stress can affect your ovulation.
When breastfeeding, your period might be irregular or light, or you might not menstruate. Prolactin is a hormone that plays a part in producing milk for your baby, and it also stops menstruation. It can delay ovulation too. If you are not getting a period while nursing your child, it doesn’t mean you are not ovulating. You can still get pregnant while breastfeeding, but the chances would be low.
When using oral contraceptives, ovulation would take up to 3 months to return to normal. Certain medications can be a contributing factor to late ovulation. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can affect ovulation. You must inform your doctor about your current medications when trying to conceive. Adopt a healthy lifestyle when you are trying to conceive.
4. Thyroid Disorders
The thyroid, a gland, is located at the front of your neck and regulates hormones that are responsible for metabolism. The pituitary gland produces luteinising hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone, both fertility hormones.
If there is a thyroid disorder, let’s say you have an underactive thyroid, it will cause hypothyroidism. If you have an overactive thyroid, it will cause hyperthyroidism. In any case, it can impact the release of an egg. You can expect possible late ovulation.
5. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
If there is an imbalance in the production of the body’s reproductive hormones, it would lead to polycystic ovarian syndrome. Testosterone production is high during PCOS. Thus, there would be a delay in the ovulation.
The egg would not develop the way it should. PCOS is common among women, and it’s important to discuss the symptoms of PCOS with your doctor. A woman who has PCOS would also experience irregular periods. PCOS can also cause infertility, but it’s treatable.
6. Luteal Phase Defect (LPD)
In a study by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the length of the luteal phase for most women is 12 to 14 days. So if the length of the luteal phase is less than ten days, it’s short!
Late ovulation is also possible because of a short luteal phase. Find out the days from the start of ovulation to the day you get your period: the luteal phase length.
Luteal phase defect is treatable as it can cause difficulty in conceiving. Your doctor can guide you better if there is delayed ovulation due to this reason. You can note the length of the luteal phase. Understanding the length of your luteal phase can give you an idea if there is an issue.
Can you ovulate late and still get pregnant?
If you have irregular and late ovulation, it doesn’t mean you won’t get pregnant. When you ovulate, the fertility window is open for a short period. So if you are unsure when you would be most fertile, and it’s hard to predict, the chances of getting pregnant will slim.
Late ovulation & predicting ovulation
There are many ways to predict if you are ovulating. One of the easiest ways is to use an ovulation predictor kit. Which are specifically designed to help detect ovulation.
Here are some of the other ways to determine if you are ovulating or not:
Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs)
These handy tools are designed to detect the LH surge that precedes ovulation. Easy to use, they can be a reliable way to know when you’re about to ovulate. Just follow the instructions, and you’ll be on your way to understanding your cycle better.
Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
A basal body thermometer can tell you if you have ovulated with the spike in your temperature. It’s a method that requires consistency but can provide valuable insights into your ovulation patterns.
Cervical Mucus (CM)
Your CM can help tell if you are about to ovulate. You should get egg white cervical mucus (EWCM) between two and five days before ovulation. Having EWCM doesn’t always mean that you will ovulate, but it can indicate you have sufficient oestrogen levels during your cycle. It’s a natural way to tune into your body’s signals.
Combining Methods for Accuracy
Some women find success by combining these methods. Using OPKs alongside monitoring BBT and CM can provide a more comprehensive picture of when ovulation is likely to occur. It’s about finding what works best for you and your body.
Consulting a Healthcare Provider
If you’ve just started trying to conceive (TTC) or have concerns about late ovulation, consulting a doctor is always the best source of information. They can offer personalised advice, conduct tests if needed, and provide support tailored to your unique situation.
What does late ovulation mean for your period?
You would find it tough to predict your menstrual cycle and not know when your period would arrive. It can be tough, especially when you are trying to conceive. It’s possible that your period would be a surprise when you least expect it, especially when your menstrual cycle is irregular and you don’t know when you will ovulate. When your menstrual cycle is standard 28 days, you know that you would ovulate somewhere between your cycles. It gets tough to manage when you are unsure when you would expect your period.
If you try to conceive, late ovulation can impact this plus, indicating hormonal imbalance, so you must monitor your health. Your doctor can evaluate and assess. Let your doctor know about your situation.
What does it mean for miscarriages?
No evidence shows late ovulation causes miscarriage, but late implantation (more than 8 to 10 days after ovulation) can cause concern. Sperm and egg unite, leading to fertilisation. The fertilised egg would try to attach itself to the uterus wall. This entire process can take 48 hours to 10 days. Chances of miscarriage can get higher if implantation is late.
Late ovulation: When should you see a doctor?
You might be excited to get pregnant. You are trying your best, but it could be hard for you to wait. When trying to get pregnant, try for a year when there are no underlying health concerns before seeking help; if you are 35 years or older, try for six months.
If you experience unbearable pain during the period, it’s best to discuss it with your doctor and rule out the possibility of an underlying concern. When you feel ovulation pain late in your cycle and are concerned, speak to your doctor. Experiencing abnormal bleeding for several hours differs from your period; seeing your doctor is best. If your menstrual cycle length is more than 35 days or shorter than 21 days, or if you are not getting your period and it’s been three months, you should see your doctor.
Empowering you with knowledge
Understanding late ovulation and its effects on pregnancy can be complex, but you don’t have to navigate it alone. Fertility2Family is here to guide you through every step of your fertility journey. Our comprehensive fertility-related blog gives you insights into late ovulation, menstrual cycles, and more. Our ovulation and pregnancy tests are designed to support you in tracking and understanding your unique cycle. We believe in empowering you with knowledge and tools that are empathetic, informative, and encouraging, helping you make informed decisions on your path to conception.
Evan is the founder of Fertility2Family and is passionate about fertility education & providing affordable products to help people in their fertility journey. Evan is a qualified enrolled nurse and has expertise in guiding & managing patients through their fertility journeys.