Researchers discovered that most women have two waves of follicle development, but what does that mean for ovulation?
By OBGYN and fertility expert Dr. Kenosha Gleaton
Stepping back, what is ovulation?
Ovulation is the period of your menstrual cycle when an egg is released from an ovary. This usually occurs around two weeks before your period, and it’s a common belief that your ovaries alternate releasing an egg. Each ovary contains 1–2 million primordial follicles, each of which contains an egg. Once a follicle matures and is released, the egg waits to be fertilized (or if it doesn’t, menstruation occurs). If you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s important that you have sex when you’re ovulating to increase the chances of conception.
It’s been taught for years that ovulation only occurs once a month, but is this true? Some research has stated otherwise.
Why research made some people question everything
In one study using daily ultrasounds, researchers discovered that 68 percent of women exhibited two waves of follicle development, even though they reported having regular menstrual cycles. This means that the follicles that contain unreleased eggs mature and develop in some women twice in one month.
These results may look promising for anyone struggling to get pregnant, but the truth is they are misleading. Follicular development may have happened twice, but as one of the authors pointed out, ovulation doesn’t occur until the final wave of follicular development- a process that only occurs once a month.