Knowing Your Cycle. Period.

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On Monday I wrote a post on ways to preserve your fertility for the time you decide to become pregnant. One of the things I mentioned was knowing your cycle, so I figured it would be a good thing to elaborate on the topic a bit more.

The first thing you need to know is that your cycle is not only relevant when your periods are around but is something that you should be aware of for the whole month. This is simply because a woman’s hormone levels vary at different times during a month and sometimes during a week. So here is a quick breakdown of your monthly cycle and what happens at each stage.

Follicular Phase:

This phase starts after you’ve finished your period. During this time the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) rises which stimulates the ovaries to develop a number of follicles each with an egg inside. Estrogen will also rise so that the lining of uterus swells to prepare for a fertilized egg.

Ovulatory Phase:

In this phase FSH will continue to rise as well as Luteinizing Hormone (LH) to enable one follicle to further swell so that an egg bursts and travels down the fallopian tubes and then into the uterus. Estrogen will continue to rise so that the lining of your uterus continues to thicken to support the fertilized egg. During this phase you are most likely to fall pregnant because your internal environment is most prepared to host the fertilized egg.

Luteal Phase:

At this stage the follicle from which the egg bursts turns into what is called the corpus luteum which secrets progesterone to further thicken the uterine lining and help keep it in place to host an embryo. If the egg is fertilized than progesterone will continue to rise to help support the embryo. If the egg is not fertilized then estrogen and progesterone levels will drop causing the uterine lining to disintegrate and thus causing your period.

Menstrual Phase:

As the name indicates this is the time of the month when your menstruating. After the drop in progesterone triggers the shedding of your uterine lining (i.e. your period) estrogen peaks and then drops to stimulate a new cycle of ovulation.

So that’s what’s happening inside of your body every month! Do you have any questions or concerns? Post in the comments below!

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