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Women's Health Infographic: Ovulation (Text Alternative)

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This is an infographic describing ovulation and pregnancy.

The heading reads, “6 Things to Know About Ovulation.”

The next two lines read:

90% of women don’t know that 2 days before through the day of ovulation is the best time to try to get pregnant.

25% of women don’t know a normal menstrual cycle can vary between 21 and 35 days; 28 days is the average.

To the right is a graphic designed to look like a circular birth control pill dispenser. The graphic displays a 28-day cycle with highlights for day 1 (first day of menstrual period), ovulation (about day 14 of an average 28-day cycle), and day 28 (average cycle).

Below this is a subhead that reads, “The Science Behind Your Monthly Cycle.” The text following this subhead reads:

Ovulation—the process of an egg leaving the ovary and traveling into the fallopian tube—occurs at about day 14 of an average 28-day cycle. Here’s how it works:

  1. When the body’s level of estrogen (a hormone) drops, the hypothalamus in the brain alerts its neighbor, the pituitary gland.
  2. The pituitary gland sends out follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which helps follicles in the ovary to mature. Each ovarian follicle contains an egg. Mature follicles and eggs make estrogen.
  3. When the body’s estrogen level is restored, the pituitary gland sends out luteinizing hormone (LH) to open the mature follicle.
  4. The follicle then releases its egg into the fallopian tube.
  5. The empty follicle makes the hormone progesterone. Progesterone helps the uterus prepare for pregnancy by thickening its lining.
  6. If no pregnancy occurs, the follicle stops make progesterone. The thickened lining and other tissues pass out of the uterus as a menstrual period.

A graphic to the right of the text shows a side profile of a brain. The hypothalamus appears in the lower center of the brain and is labeled “low estrogen.” An arrow points down to the pituitary gland, which is just under the hypothalamus.

From the pituitary gland is a dotted line that travels down to an illustration of a woman’s pelvis. The dotted line ends with an arrow pointing to an ovary within the pelvis. Along the dotted line is a label for “FSH,” the hormone produced by the pituitary gland.

Inside the ovary there is an illustration of an egg inside of a follicle. This drawing is labeled “estrogen.” The illustration shows the progression of the egg in the follicle to the egg being released from the follicle. This part of the drawing is labeled “LH” for luteinizing hormone (LH), which is also from the pituitary gland.

An arrow points from the follicle releasing the egg to a drawing of an egg traveling into the fallopian tube. Below the lone egg is an empty follicle. An arrow, labeled “progesterone,” points from the empty follicle to the uterus. A thick line on the edge of the uterus represents the thickening of the uterine lining. An arrow from the thick line points down to drops of liquid passing out of the body through the vagina.

Below the graphic is the following text:

Like blood pressure and heart rate, a woman’s menstrual cycle is a sign of her overall health. Menstrual irregularities — such as missing a period or having a heavier-than-usual period — could signal a health problem. To learn more, visit

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Last Reviewed: 05/16/2014
Vision National Institutes of Health Home BOND National Institues of Health Home Home Storz Lab: Section on Environmental Gene Regulation Home Machner Lab: Unit on Microbial Pathogenesis Home Division of Intramural Population Health Research Home Bonifacino Lab: Section on Intracellular Protein Trafficking Home Lilly Lab: Section on Gamete Development Home Lippincott-Schwartz Lab: Section on Organelle Biology