All About Follicular Study and Pregnancy
Follicular study and monitoring is done to study ovarian follicles that are used to identify ovulation of egg. It is also a vital component of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) assessment and timing. For couples planning for pregnancy, ovulation period is the important period to try on, for conception to happen. Out of many ways available, the most reliable way to understand the ovulation is follicular monitoring. It’s an endovaginal ultrasound scan carried to study the ovaries, uterus and uterus lining. It is conducted at regular intervals and documents the pathway to ovulation.
The scan measure the size of any active follicles in the ovaries that can contain an egg. The scan is useful to accurately predict when ovulation might be expected to maximize the chances of the egg being fertilized by natural means. In the case of fertility treatment the ultrasound scan will determine how many follicles are present and when egg extraction is best performed.
The follicle tracking ultrasound scans usually involve 1 – 3 scans and are typically carried out over a series of day intervals, commencing around day 7 – 9 from your last menstrual cycle. If having IVF fertility treatment your clinic will tell you when these scans need to be performed and are sometimes done in conjunction with hormone blood tests to check for levels of Progesterone, Oestradiol, Luteinising Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH).
- This scan is carried from the 2nd day of menstruation
- The individual is supposed to wear clothing that best supports the scan and for hygiene reasons, take a bath before coming for the scan
- No diet to be followed for the scan usually unless and until instructed by the doctor in advance
- Make sure to have any tablets before coming for the scan if incase prescribed by the doctor
- You will be asked to empty your bladder for the scan to be carried out
- Further visits will be advised by the doctor which typically will be every
other day until ovulation happens
- This scan is carried out in a slightly dark examination room
- You will have to undress down from your waist while you get covered by a sheet
- Now you will be asked to position yourself lying down on your back on a special bed with your knees bent
- Once you position yourself comfortably; the transducer, a sterile lubricated covered electronic device, is gently inserted into your vagina to look at the uterus and ovaries
- Depending on how relaxed the patient is, the test takes up to 15 minutes
The scan is performed transvaginally as it gives much clearer images; a full bladder is not required. The scan will evaluate the size, shape and condition of the:
- Uterus / womb
- lining of the womb / endometrium
- both ovaries
- pelvic area / adnexa
The follicle tracking ultrasound scan will count the number and measure the maximum diameter of each follicle in mm’s.
The purpose of this type of scan is to assess the thickness of the endometrium (lining of the womb), which needs to reach 7mm or above to be suitable for a pregnancy to implant and to assess follicular growth and ovulation. For ovulation to occur the follicle needs to reach between 18-24mm.
With follicular monitoring, you will get to know the growth of follicles, the approximate rupture period of follicles and hence can predict the ovulation period thereby have an intercourse happen at the right time for conception to take place. The womb if not yet ready for pregnancy can be treated by some supplements prescribed by the doctors.