How To Know If You Are Ovulating Late? A Simple Guide For Women

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Experts on women’s health say that the average length of a woman’s cycle is 28 days. 

Despite this fact, some women have cycles that last between 21-40 days. If we take a look at the figures, it will mean that most women ovulate 12-14 days before their menstrual period. 

Anything later than this, where you ovulate 5-7 days before your next period, is called late ovulation. People with irregular cycles ovulate later than usual or not at all.  

In this article, we will take a dive into the causes of late ovulation and how this affects your chances of pregnancy.

Menstrual cycle

What does late ovulation mean?

Late ovulation is when your ovulation starts after the 21st day of your menstrual cycle. Just looking at the name can tell you it happens late!

Women with regular cycles welcome their period between day 21 and day 35. Your ovulation happens 14 days before your next period, which is on day 14 of your 28-day cycle. If you have a 32-day cycle, then you will ovulate on day 18 of your cycle.

If your cycle is more than 35 days, you may ovulate late. 

Unfortunately, most women who have long cycles also have irregular cycles, which means you may ovulate late or miss your ovulation.

Even though it is not common, women with regular cycles ovulate on later days—say days 16, 17, 18. It simply means they have a short luteal phase—the period between your last ovulation day and next period.

There’s no known way to tell the exact date you ovulate but tracking it with fertility monitors helps. 

Don’t forget that the day you ovulate is not static and can change, which is entirely normal. 

What could cause late ovulation?

Late ovulation has multiple causes, For example, if all women are different. Several reasons can explain why you may experience late ovulation. Let us dive deeper into each of them!

  • Stress:
    Stress affects every phase of reproductive health. It can delay ovulation, cause you to skip a period, and even lead to poor pregnancy outcomes.
    There are various types of stress such as:
  • Any major illness or surgery
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Increased physical activity
  • A natural calamity or attack

    Try to avoid stress factors when you’re trying to get pregnant, so you help your body relax. For example, meditating, working out, or doing what you love can help you ease out the stress.

  • PCOS:
    Over the years, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) has gained the name of the most common endocrine disorder in expecting moms. And ovulation irregularity is the striking symptom of PCOS. Over 90% of women who failed to ovulate and struggled with infertility have PCOS.
    Read More: Get Pregnant with PCOS: Your Complete Guide

    As a result of these findings, many women with PCOS believe that they can never get pregnant.
    But that is not true! Although anovulation may happen, pregnancy can still be possible with the proper management plans.  
    Read More :Anovulation: Everything you need to know about the #1 cause of infertility

  • Thyroid disorders:
    Your thyroid hormone is responsible for tons of reactions in your body, making it delicate. If there are any disorders, your reproductive system is primarily affected.

    Infertility may arise, such as missed or irregular menstruation, no ovulation, and infertility. Talk to a healthcare professional for sound medical advice if you notice these symptoms.

  • Lactation:
    Commonly referred to as breastfeeding, lactation directly affects the timeline of your ovulation. You may menstruate while breastfeeding your child, but that is not a guarantee that you ovulated.
    If you experience delayed ovulation while breastfeeding, you need to study your situation and know whether to keep on breastfeeding or look for another alternative.

  • Medications:
    Certain kinds of drugs can cause your ovulation to be absent in your cycle or just appear later than usual.
    Examples of these medications include:
  • Steroids
  • Antidepressants
  • Skincare products
  • Antipsychotics and antiepileptic drugs
  • Antihypertensive drugs
  • Thyroid medicines
  • Chemotherapy

If you notice this happens after taking a specific medication, speak to your doctor immediately. 

Signs of late ovulation

Like we have said before, ovulation becomes late when it happens after day 21. Many symptoms show you are ovulating:

  • Mild spotting: If you notice brown discharge during your cycle then you may probably be ovulating. This light bleeding happens when the follicle surrounding the mature egg bursts to release the egg.
  • Higher body temperature: When you begin ovulating, your body temperature at rest begins to increase.
  • Changes in cervical discharge: As you approach your ovulation day, your cervix becomes clear and stretchy, this also helps the sperm to reach the egg for fertilization. 
  • Mild abdominal pain: Some women feel mild pinches in their lower abdomen as they ovulate. This usually lasts for a few minutes. 

    If you don’t witness any of these symptoms or your period, then your ovulation is late or didn’t happen at all. You can use the Inito fertility monitor to track your fertile window and confirm your ovulation.

Side effects of late ovulation

Late ovulation is directly connected to a big fat negative, which means no pregnancy. So when your ovulation arrives late, the chances of getting pregnant are drastically reduced. 

Also, not knowing when you’ll mean that you will miss when you are fertile. This can also cause stress which affects your overall wellness. Late ovulation can go as well as distort your normal day-to-day activities.

Learn More : Getting pregnant: When are you most fertile?

When to see a doctor

If you notice you’re consistently ovulating after day 21 or the normal range, then you should reach a medical doctor. Also, if you have any fertility health problems or are taking drugs that can affect ovulation, schedule a meeting with your doctor to know the best ways to solve this problem. 

Chances of pregnancy after a late ovulation


Even though we said late ovulation could delay pregnancy, it doesn’t mean that you won’t get pregnant. There is still a chance that you can conceive after you ovulate, but knowing exactly when you are fertile is the key to that. 

Look out for ovulatory symptoms like those above to know when you have successfully ovulated. Also, pay attention to your vaginal discharge. It will be light, clear, and sticky, while your cervix will be soft.

Once the egg is released, you have a maximum of 24 hours to get pregnant. So take a swing at this opportunity and increase your chances of a big fat positive!


  • Late ovulation does not mean that you would have no ovulation. It is usual for slight changes in your cycle, which may cause your ovulation to come a day or two later. 
  • But if you always have long cycles, late ovulation may be responsible.
  • These issues become your utmost concern when you are planning a pregnancy.
  • You need to understand which days of your cycle you are most fertile. 
  • If you usually ovulate after day 21, the common belief of having intercourse between days 10 and 16 to maximize conception will not apply to you. 
  • Understanding your own body and cycles makes the process of conceiving easy.
  • Also, fertility monitors like Inito help track when you have ovulated and when to try to conceive.
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  2. Holesh JE, Bass AN, Lord M. Physiology, ovulation. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2021.
  3. Huhmann K. Menses requires energy: a review of how disordered eating, excessive exercise, and high stress lead to menstrual irregularities. Clin Ther. 2020;42(3):401-407.
  4. Azziz R. Polycystic ovary syndrome. Obstet Gynecol. 2018;132(2):321-336.
  5. Dennett CC, Simon J. The role of polycystic ovary syndrome in reproductive and metabolic health: overview and approaches for treatment. Diabetes Spectr. 2015;28(2):116-120.

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