There is so much to learn about the body’s changing phases during the menstrual cycle. In this series, 21Ninety is discovering the ins and outs of what each phase of the menstrual cycle really looks like. Here, the focus is on the ovulatory phase, the signs, symptoms and things to keep in mind.

The Basics

The ovulatory phase, when a mature egg is released from an ovary, typically occurs midway through the cycle, though this can change from cycle to cycle. During this time, the dominant follicle in the ovary produces more estrogen as it grows. A mature egg secretes enough estrogen to prompt the pituitary gland to release LH, which eventually releases the egg. The ovulatory phase is the most fertile of all the phases. It takes a released egg roughly 24 hours to travel through the fallopian tube to be fertilized and it will survive for roughly 24 hours.

An Expert’s Insight

To understand the ovulatory phase, 21Ninety spoke with Women’s Health Practitioner, Adele Wimsett. Wimsett supports and helps women from menarche to menopause. She also offers an online hormone clinic to support women in achieving healthy hormone health.

Wimsett says the ovulatory phase can be characterized by a number of things, namely a mood-boosting sense of confidence and significantly higher energy levels. The ovulatory phase is where those who wish to become pregnant may make the most of the hormonally-influenced changes in the body to learn their fertility chances. As far as bodily cues go, you can usually tell that you’re ovulating due to a higher sex drive than usual and increased body temperature.

Tips for the Ovulatory Phase

“It’s a time to harness the power of your creative energy,” says Wimsett. She explains that the high energy levels translate to a desire to launch creative projects, work for longer hours and even engaging in demanding physical activities. The ovulatory phase is a great time to hit the gym and challenge yourself.

Since the body is going through more strenuous physical activity, there are certain foods that will help support this effort. The ideal dietary choices during this phase will focus on hydrating, gut-aiding and fiber-rich foods. Some examples include non-starchy vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, and seeds. Getting some anti-oxidant rich foods into your day, such as berries, will also aid in hydration.

“Harness the power of the energy you have during this phase and meal prep soul nourishing food. This way you can plan for phases when you have less capacity to look after yourself,” advises Wimsett.

Wimsett also speaks on the importance of celebrating. Creating space to reward yourself while your mood and energy levels are in sync will maximize the burst of feel-good hormones.

An Emphasis on Quality Time

During the ovulatory phase, you’re most likely to be receptive to listening to feedback and managing disagreements. “We become less action orientated, less assertive, aware of other people’s needs and willing to connect and support. It’s a great time to have difficult conversations, perhaps addressing things that came up in other phases of the cycle,” explains Wimsett.

While you have the energy, planning for quality time with loved ones is essential. Love bomb your kids, date night with partners, incorporate fun time with friends – go all out. Wimsett also speaks on the importance of making the most of increased confidence: “Now is the time to communicate and to collaborate, making use of your confidence levels and high self-esteem,” says Wimsett.

Practicing gratitude is power in this phase. One recommendation that Wimsett suggests is starting a “Thanks Bank.” It designed to remind you of your favorite qualities when your inner critic gets loud during other menstrual phases.

The mid-way point of your cycle is full of highs and lots of energy, which prepares for the second half of the cycle’s effects.