Do You Ovulate Every Month?



We’ve talked before on the Baby Hopes blog about reasons why you might not ovulate. There are a number of things that can make it so your body doesn’t release an egg that can be fertilized. For some of you, however, it may not be a regular problem, but rather something that just happens from time to time. An occasional cycle where you don’t ovulate is called an “anovulatory cycle” and is a relatively regular occurrence. When you’re trying to get pregnant, however, an anovulatory cycle can be a real pain.

So, what can cause an anovulatory cycle? There are several things that come to mind:

  • Birth control pills. That’s the whole point of the pill, right? The pill keeps you from ovulating. That’s why it’s so darned effective at preventing pregnancy: you have to ovulate to get pregnant.
  • Breastfeeding. If you’re breastfeeding, you might not ovulate. Now, for you new moms out there, don’t get too excited. You can’t rely on breastfeeding to keep you from ovulating completely. Some women will and do ovulate when they’re breastfeeding. It’s not a particularly effective method of birth control.
  • Quick weight gain or loss. If you’ve dropped twenty pounds in a month, your body is going to do some strange things to try to adjust. It’s entirely possible that this kind of rapid body weight change can interfere with ovulation.
  • Strenuous exercise. Now, we’re not talking about a single workout. It usually takes several weeks or even months of working out in a high-intensity way to interfere with your cycle.
  • Glandular issues. Problems with the thyroid as well as the pituitary gland can interfere with ovulation, too. In some cases, they can keep you from ovulating altogether. In other cases, they just interfere.

Regardless of the cause, if you experience more than one or two anovulatory cycles in a row, you should talk to your doctor. Your doctor will try to help figure out the cause and may be able to prescribe a course of treatment or medications to help your cycle get back on track.


Last modified: May 4, 2010