All about follicular study and pregnancy
Follicular study and monitoring are done to study ovarian follicles that are used to identify ovulation of egg. It is an important step in the process of planning a baby, as ovulation is the time which maximizes the chances of conception. Ovulation can best be understood through follicular monitoring. It is an ultrasound scan done inside the vagina to study the ovaries, uterus and uterus lining. It is conducted at regular intervals and documents the pathway to ovulation.
The scan determines the size of any active follicles in the ovaries with an egg.
It is the best way to predict the ovulation time, which can maximize the chances of egg meeting the sperm naturally. This scan also helps in determining the timing of egg extraction based on the number of follicles present.
This follicular study usually involves 1 – 3 scans and are recurrently carried out after various intervals of days, beginning around day 7 – 9 from your last menstrual cycle. If you are going through an IVF treatment, your doctor might recommend a suitable time to undergo the follicular study and sometimes recommend it along with hormone blood tests to check for levels of Progesterone, Oestradiol, Luteinising Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH).
The follicular scan is carried out on the 2nd day of menstruation. One should take a bath and wear comfortable clothes that support the execution of the scan. No diet restrictions are to be followed for the scan unless instructed by the doctor. Ensure to take any medicines before coming for the scan if instructed by the doctor. He will advise you to empty the bladder post which the scan will be initiated. The scan will be repeated after every another day until ovulation happens.
The scan will be carried out in a slightly dark examination room. It is a simple procedure in which you will be asked to lie down on your back with your knees bent on a special bed. You will be undressing down from your waist & covered by a sheet. A rod-shaped sterile, lubricated, an electronic device called the transducer is then gently inserted into your vagina to look at the uterus and ovaries. Depending on patients’ ease, the test might take 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:
- the lining of the womb/endometrium
- both ovaries
- pelvic area/adnexa
The follicle tracking ultrasound scan counts the number and measures the maximum diameter of each follicle in millimeters.
This scan is useful in measuring the size of the follicles which needs to reach between 18-24mm for an ovulation to occur. It also helps to assess the thickness of the endometrium (lining of the womb) which needs to be 7mm or above for a pregnancy to implant. The entire scan enables to monitor the growth of the follicles, approximate rupture period of follicles and hence can predict the ovulation period, which can help time the intercourse to maximize conception.