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Late Ovulation And Pregnancy

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For many, getting pregnant is all about timing everything just right — and this usually means tracking your menstrual cycle and determining when ovulation occurs. However, everyone’s menstrual phases aren’t always cut and dry.

While a healthy menstrual cycle can range from 23 to 35 days, late ovulation is when ovulation takes place later on in this monthly rhythm. So, can you still get pregnant? What should you know about late ovulation and pregnancy? Let’s start with a brief overview of the monthly cycle.

Timeline Of Menstrual Cycle

The menstrual cycle starts anew on the first day of your period. This marks day one. The average menstrual cycle lasts 23 to 35 days, with the average period lasting between two to seven days. So, let’s look at the menstrual cycle phases.

Menstrual Phase

The menstrual phase is the first stage, and this is where menstruation takes place. Because pregnancy has not occurred, the body’s estrogen and progesterone levels drop, leading to your monthly bleeding. This phase ranges from two to seven days.

Follicular Phase

The follicular phase lasts 14 to 21 days. During this stage, the pituitary gland releases Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), a hormone that encourages the maturation of the follicles in your ovary. Yet only one follicle eventually matures, which leads us into the ovulatory phase.


This is your most fertile time of the month, meaning you have the highest chance of getting pregnant.

During ovulation, the ovary releases an egg. This egg begins the journey along the fallopian tubes toward the uterus. This typically happens around day 14 in a 28-day cycle. However, depending on your specific cycle timeline, it can take place anywhere between day 11 and day 21.

Luteal Phase

After ovulation, the body enters the luteal phase, which typically lasts about 14 days and starts around day 14 of a 28-day cycle. The follicle that released the egg goes on to become the corpus luteum. This structure releases progesterone, which thickens the uterine lining and prepares the body for pregnancy.

When pregnancy doesn’t occur, you start a new menstrual cycle — signified by the first day of your period.

What Is Considered Late Ovulation?

Late ovulation is ovulation that takes place after day 21 in your cycle. This is preceded by a longer-than-average follicular phase. And this doesn’t mean pregnancy is impossible. Instead, it often means a slight change in your baby-making plans.

What Causes Late Ovulation?

Every person is different. This means various factors can contribute to late ovulation. These include:

Stress: When the body is under stress, baby-making is the last thing on its mind. Stress leads to imbalances in various hormones, hindering efforts to get pregnant.

Thyroid issues: The thyroid gland regulates metabolic functions but also works closely with the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland releases the luteinizing hormone (LH) and the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). If the thyroid isn’t functioning well, it may negatively impact the pituitary gland, leading to delayed ovulation.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): PCOS affects one out of every 10 assigned females at birth of childbearing age. It impacts a person’s ovaries and can cause hormonal imbalances and irregular periods, among other symptoms. This can prevent or delay ovulation.

Breastfeeding: The hormone prolactin involved in breastfeeding suppresses the menstrual cycle and, thus, ovulation. However, this doesn’t mean ovulation can’t occur during this time, but it is less likely to happen.

Certain medications: Drugs that may suppress or delay ovulation include non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), hormones, antidepressants, other antipsychotic medications, marijuana, and illegal drugs, like cocaine. If you’re taking any medication regularly, discussing their impacts on your fertility and menstrual cycle may help you gain clarity and determine a path forward.

Other factors that may impact ovulation and lead to delay include diabetes, obesity, recent weight loss, and excessive exercise. It may also arise because of issues with other glands in the body, which ultimately impact the reproductive hormones.

Late Ovulation Symptoms

So, how do you know if you’re experiencing late ovulation? Using ovulation predictor kits can help you track when ovulation occurs. Typically, ovulation happens around day 14, but this can vary.

Some other signs of ovulation include:

Change in cervical mucus: During ovulation, cervical mucus increases. The discharge is usually clear and stretchy and mimics egg whites. The purpose of this mucus is to aid the sperm in reaching the released egg.

Increased basal body temperature: This is the temperature of your body when at rest, and it usually increases slightly at ovulation. It’s best to measure this first thing every morning to note any changes.

Lower/side abdominal pain: Some people report slight pain at the time of ovulation. Because only one ovary releases an egg, this is sometimes felt on one side or in the lower abdominal region.

If you’re concerned about when you ovulate, you may consider tracking your cycle. Using apps like Natural Cycles can help you gain insights. Can You

Can You Ovulate Late And Still Get Pregnant?

Getting pregnant with late ovulation is entirely possible. While it may be more difficult to predict ovulation, tracking can help. However, irregular cycles may further hinder this. So, what about late ovulation pregnancy success? Does it impact your chances?

Late Ovulation and Pregnancy Success

While it’s not impossible to get pregnant with late ovulation, it’s worth noting that egg quality may be lower in these cases. This may interfere with the implantation process. It may also create stress around tracking and planning, which may cause other issues getting pregnant. But there is hope by speaking to a fertility specialist sooner rather than later!

Treatment For Late Ovulation

Treatment depends on the cause of late ovulation. Your medical team may prescribe certain medications to support follicular growth, such as clomiphene, letrozole, or help with ovulation such as human chorionic gonadotropins.

They may also recommend:

Finding healthy ways to reduce stress in your life.
Avoiding over-exercising.
Avoiding or quitting smoking.
Losing weight if you’re overweight or obese.

Your doctor or fertility team will guide you on the right approach for you and your life. It’s entirely possible to get pregnant despite late ovulation!


If you ovulate late, will your period be late?

Late ovulation may result in a delayed period because of a longer follicular phase. In some cases, it may also cause a heavier period.

Can stress delay ovulation?

Yes, stress can delay ovulation. Ovulation relies on releasing Luteinizing Hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland. However, stress can block or dampen the release of this necessary hormone.

How can I track ovulation?

Over-the-counter ovulation predictor kits can help you better understand when ovulation occurs. For those with regular cycles, tracking your cycle via a phone app or body temperature recordings can help you predict when you ovulate. If you have irregular cycles, avoid relying on a phone app alone to track ovulation as it generally uses your past cycle patterns to predict when you might ovulate in the future which may not be so reliable.

Now that you are briefed how the timing of ovulation may vary between days 11 and 21 of a menstrual cycle: instead of trying to track ovulation, which can be quite stressful, one approach is to ‘cast the net wider’ by allowing the sperm and egg to meet over several days between days 11 and 21 of your menstrual cycle.