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Late Ovulation and Conception or Pregnancy

Late ovulation is a term used to generally refer to ovulating later than the expected date. It negatively affects conception and pregnancy in a negative way due to various aspects. If you experienced late ovulation, here are the details.

What is considered late ovulation?

late period

Late ovulation is when you ovulate later than the 18th day in a 28-day menstrual cycle.

Each menstrual cycle involves the release of a mature egg from the ovaries to be fertilized by a sperm if the latter is available.

The release of this egg should be in the middle of the menstrual cycle which is the 14th day or a 28-day cycle. However, an allowance of two days is made on either end. This places ovulation between the 12th and 16th day of the cycle.

If you ovulate before the 12th day, it will be too early as the egg would not have matured enough for fertilization.

On the other hand, ovulating after this period is late ovulation. However, given that the egg survives in the body up to 24 hours after its release from the ovary, it is only after the 18th day that you would have had late ovulation.

After 24 hours from the release of the egg, it will disintegrate and be absorbed by the uterine wall.

Can you ovulate late in the cycle? Is it possible?

Late ovulation is possible but quite rare when compared to early ovulation. It is very much possible to have ovulation and its signs later than the date you usually have them.

If it is a one-off event then it should not concern you as such. However, if you have it repeatedly, you need to have it checked as it greatly reduces your chances of conceiving and having a baby.

To establish whether you have late ovulation, you need to track your menstrual cycle for at least three cycles. If in all the cycles you experienced ovulation from the 18th day onwards, let your doctor know about this since there could be some underlying issues that need medical attention.

How late can you ovulate?

The 28-day menstrual cycle is used as the standard although you can have shorter or longer cycles and still function normally.

To find out the range within which you should ovulate (if you have regular periods), you ought to start counting from the first day or your last period to the day before your next period.

Once established, you should then find the midway of the cycle as it would be the ovulation date. From whatever date you have established, count two days before and two more afterward. That is your ovulation range.

On the last day of the range you found, add another day (24 hours). The day you find will be the first day of your late ovulation.

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For a menstrual cycle with 28 days, late ovulation will occur on the 18th day.

The latest you may ovulate for a cycle with 28 days is the 19th day. If you ovulate quite late from these dates, you will likely have a long period afterward.

What causes late ovulation?

what causes late period

Late ovulation can be caused by many different things depending on your current condition. They include:

1. Stress

The effects of stress on the body can never be taken for granted. Having constant stress can adversely affect your menstrual cycle especially by lengthening it. At times, you will completely miss ovulation and menstruation due to excessive stress.

2. Infections

When the female reproductive system is infected, there are various side effects that can occur as symptoms of the diseases. Some of these diseases can be lethal enough to cause your body to skip periods.

With the lack of periods comes the lack of ovulation at times for several months in a row.

Even after treating the diseases, you may still go without the ovulation for a few months.

3. Termination of pregnancy

After the termination of a pregnancy such as through a miscarriage or an abortion, it will take a while before you can have ovulation again.

The time may range from a month to three depending on how long you were pregnant before the termination.

4. Clomid

Clomid is a common medicine used to treat infertility and induce multiple births in those who desire them.

Clomid works by blocking the estrogen receptors thus leading the body to believe that there isn’t enough of this hormone. The body will then release more of the follicle stimulating hormone and the luteinizing hormone leading to ovulation.

Due to this mode of work, Clomid may often have the side effect of delaying your ovulation. The blockage of the estrogen receptors may at times lead the body to delay the menstrual cycle as a whole.

5. Birth

After giving birth, do not expect to immediately resume your menstrual cycle right away. It will take up to a month to have your cycles back.

At times, it may take up to six weeks for the menstrual cycle to return to the way it was before the pregnancy.

In such a case, you will have delayed ovulation for a while. Unless you go for more than six weeks without a period, you need not worry.

At times, after a birth, you may have irregular periods which means that your ovulation may at times delay.

6. Hormonal imbalances

An imbalance in the hormones of the body will often lead to undesirable effects.

If the hypothalamus and the thyroid gland produce too little it too much of the hormones that control the menstrual cycle, you will experience anomalies with the same cycle.

Too much of the follicle stimulating hormone will cause early ovulation while too little of it will cause late ovulation.

7. BFP

Having a BFP (big fat positive) pregnancy test means that you are indeed pregnant. It is possible to have a positive pregnancy test with late ovulation.

What happens in such a case is that the egg might have taken longer than normal to be released by the ovary such that your normal ovulation window passes without having the signs of ovulation.

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Some of the causes of this situation include:

  • Failure of the fallopian tube muscles to move the egg towards the ovary.
  • Late release of the egg by the ovary

The reason you will still be able to get a big fat positive pregnancy test result is because, even with the delay, your egg can still be fertilized if it has not yet been broken down and absorbed by the wall of the uterus.

Any of these causes need to be managed correctly for you to restore your menstrual cycle to its original state.

Signs and symptoms

If you are past your usual days of ovulating and yet you see no signs of it, you may need your doctor to carry out a few tests to ascertain this. Among the tests carried out include:

  • Ovulation tests
  • Analysis of the levels of the follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone
  • Ultrasound tests

Even without these tests, you can observe the signs of a late ovulation as the following:

1. Headaches and nausea

Having slight headaches and nausea can be a sign of ovulation especially when you have the other signs of the same.

2. Bloating

When you are ovulating, you could notice that your clothes feel a bit tighter than usual. This could be due to bloating which is caused by the increased retention of water.

You will retain more water due to the presence of the estrogen hormone. In pregnancy, you will also feel bloated and weigh more due to the same.

3. Increased vaginal discharge

You will generally feel wetter during this period than other times due to the increase in the amount of cervical mucus.

4. Spotting

You may notice a little blood in your vaginal discharge during the ovulation process. This spotting is caused by:

  • The bursting of the follicle to release the egg will lead to slight bleeding.
  • The slight reduction in the estrogen levels will lead to a small reduction in the endometrium which will be observed as spotting.

5. Change in the position of the cervix

You should practice knowing the position and nature of your cervix as it will be telling you something each time it changes.

For example, when you are ovulating, the cervix will change to what is known as a SHOW position. SHOW, in this case, stands for soft, high, open, wet.

You can know this by inserting your middle finger into the vagina.

6. Mittelschmerz or ovulation pain

The ovulation process is often accompanied by some pain referred to as ovulation cramps. These cramps are less intense when compared to what you would feel in period and are caused by:

  • The increase in size of the growing egg exerts pressure on the walls of the follicles causing some discomfort.
  • The bursting of the follicle to release the egg will also lead to some pain.
  • The blood and fluid released from the ovulation process can irritate the internal organs causing some discomfort.

7. Breast tenderness

An increase in the levels of the progesterone hormone around the time you will be ovulating leads to breast tenderness.

This is one of the most common signs of ovulation as it occurs in a majority of women.

8. Heightened Senses

In some women, ovulation causes a noticeable increase in the senses. You could have sharper senses of vision, smell, and taste. You will also feel particularly sensitive to male pheromones such as androstenone.

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9. Increase in sexual desire

Although it can be caused by a long list of aspects, having an increase in your sexual urge coupled with the other signs of ovulation is a major sign that indeed you are ovulating.

10. Increase in the Basal Body Temperature (BBT)

If you track your body temperature on a daily basis, you will notice that it goes up a day or two after ovulation. It then stays high until the end of the cycle.

You will notice the same changes when you have a late ovulation with the only difference being that you will notice the change later than usual.

11. Changes in the cervical fluid

The color and consistency of your cervical fluid is always a sign of an underlying process. As you come closer to ovulation or start ovulating, you will notice an egg white kind of cervical mucus.

It will be stretchy and clear in color just like the egg white of a raw egg.

This type of mucus is the best for fertilization given that it provides good conditions for the sperms to stay alive and swim until one of them meets the egg.

Late ovulation and conception, pregnancy

You may be wondering what are the chances of pregnancy if you have late ovulation. The first thing you need to know is that they are not as high as during normal times.

The reasons for this include:

  • The egg would have overgrown hence not of a good quality.
  • The egg could have already disintegrated and absorbed by the body.
  • The uterus wall could be too old to allow for successful implantation.
  • If you had sex in anticipation of ovulation, the sperms may have died already.

Even with this, you have a 16 percent chance of conceiving when you have late ovulation. This is a reasonably high figure given that, even with perfect conditions, you will never have a 100 percent chance of conceiving.

Ovulating late with late period as well

If you ovulate late, your cycle will also be delayed.

While there could be a cause for the late ovulation, the effect will be felt all through the cycle. You will thus have a longer cycle if you have late ovulation.

The longer the ovulation delays, the later you will have your period.

Can it cause a miscarriage?

Due to the lower quality of the egg resulting from a late ovulation, the chances of having a miscarriage are greatly increased.

Besides the quality of the egg, the lining of the uterus would also not be in the best condition to allow for the attachment of the fertilized egg. It may thus lead to a chemical pregnancy or a miscarriage later on in the pregnancy.

It is thus advisable that you do not aim for conception if you have a late ovulation.

Treatment

Having late ovulation once is not an issue since your menstrual cycle will normalize once more. If it occurs severally in a row, you may face some difficulties getting pregnant.

The most common treatment method for late ovulation is the use of ovulatory stimulants such as Clomid. Clomid is used to treat infertility which may be caused by ovulatory problems.

References:

Understanding Ovulation – American Pregnancy

11 Signs and Symptoms of Ovulation – Parenting Healthy Babies

Clomid (Clomiphene) Side Effects and Risks – Very Well

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