Have you ever wondered how your period works? Why does it
come every month? What does it have to do with getting pregnant? Today we’re
discussing a few common questions regarding your menstrual cycle.
What is a period?
Your period (also known as menstruation) is a woman’s
monthly bleeding. When you menstruate, your body sheds the the lining of your
During your monthly menstrual cycle, the uterus lining builds up to prepare for pregnancy. If you do not get pregnant, specific hormones in your body will begin to fall, telling your body to start your period and get rid of the extra lining of your uterus.
What is the menstrual cycle?
The menstrual cycle is the monthly hormonal cycle a female
goes through to prepare for pregnancy. It includes ovulation and menstruation.
How long is the
Your menstrual cycle is counted from the first day of your
period up to the first day of your next period. The typical menstrual cycle
lasts about 28 days, but every woman is different. Your cycle can also vary
month to month – your periods are still considered “regular” even if the length
of your cycle varies from 24 to 38 days.
What is ovulation?
Ovulation is when your ovary releases an egg so it can be
fertilized by sperm in order to create a baby. A woman has the highest chance of
getting pregnant if she has sex within three days before ovulation. Sperm can
live for three to five days in a woman’s reproductive organs, so if you have
unprotected sex within three days of ovulation, the sperm will be ready and in
place to fertilize the egg when you ovulate.
When will I ovulate?
On average, a woman ovulates 2 weeks following the first day
of her period. However, each woman’s cycle length is different and the time
between a woman’s period and ovulation can vary from two to three weeks.
How do I know if I’m
A few days before you ovulate, you may experience an
increase and change in your vaginal discharge. You may also check for an
increase in your basal body temperature (your temperature after sleeping before
you get out of bed). Some women also may test for luteinizing hormone (LH). LH
is a hormone that tells the ovary to release an egg (ovulation). LH levels
increase approximately 36 hours before ovulation.
Why should I keep
track of my menstrual cycle?
If your periods are regular, tracking them will help you know
when you will be most likely to get pregnant and when to expect your period. If
your periods are not regular (you are missing periods or are having
pain/bleeding that causes you to miss school or work), tracking your period and
any symptoms you may have can help your healthcare provider find a treatment
How can I keep track
of my menstrual cycle?
You can keep track of your menstrual cycle by marking the
days you start and end your period.
After a few months you will be able to determine if your periods are
regular or not. If you start tracking your period, you may also want to note:
symptoms – Did you have cramping? Moodiness? Bloating? Breast tenderness?
- How heavy
the bleeding was – Was it heavier or lighter than usual?
- How many
days your period lasted – Was it longer or shorter than normal?
There are also apps available for your phone that allow you
to track your periods and some include other features to track symptoms, energy
levels and more.
While we can do our best to track our menstrual cycles and ovulations
to prevent pregnancy, we can often miscalculate or forget to track days, and
pregnancy may occur.
If you believe you may be pregnant, call Your Options Medical for your free pregnancy test today.