The American Pregnancy Association defined ovulation as occurring when a mature egg is released from the ovary, pushed down the fallopian tube, and is available for fertilization. The uterine lining has thickened in preparation for a fertilized egg.
Ovulation is controlled by part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which sends signals instructing the anterior lobe and pituitary gland to secrete luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone reported Medical News Today.
Ovulation often happens around day 14 of the menstrual cycle, according to the Mayo Clinic. Keep in mind, though, that ovulation’s exact timing may vary among women or even for the same woman from month to month.
There are three phases of ovulation, wrote Medical News Today. First, the periovulatory or follicular phase, when a layer of cells around the ovum become more mucus-like and expand, and the uterine lining begins to thicken.
Then the ovulatory or ovulation phase occures, when enzymes are secreted and form a hole that the ovum and its network of cells use to exit the follicle and eventually enter the fallopian tube. This is the period of fertility and usually lasts from 24 to 48 hours.
Finally the postovulatory or luteal phase occurs when luteinizing hormone is secreted. A fertilized egg is implanted into the womb, while an unfertilized egg slowly stops producing hormones.
Signs and symptoms of ovulation may include breast tenderness for some women. About.com said that during ovulation, the body increases its levels of cervical fluid.
Many women notice towards the middle of their cycle, they are slightly moister. Some also report feeling more sexually attractive and attracted to their mate.
Soon after the menstrual cycle, women may also notice a sticky or "tacky" vaginal secretion or cervical mucus. Mayo Clinic described these secretions as typically resembling raw egg whites.
Discovery Health wrote that the female body produces the greatest amount of this type of vaginal secretion on the day of ovulation. Immediately following the day of ovulation, the vaginal secretion gradually becomes thicker in consistency and less is secreted.