Menstruation in a Nutshell..
The menstrual cycle is a monthly process in which the uterus lining gets thicker to prepare for a fertilized egg, if you don’t get pregnant your body sheds the lining of the uterus with blood through the vagina. That’s basically your body saying “We’re not pregnant, we’re going to try again.” And a new cycle begins.
What happens during the Menstrual Cycle?
- Day 1 of the menstrual cycle is the first day of your period or bleeding which lasts an average of 3 to 5 days, but anywhere from 2 to 7 days is normal. Periods can be light, moderate, or heavy in terms of blood flow. This is called menstrual flow.
- The average menstrual cycle is usually 28 days long, but can range from 21 to 35 days.
- Between Day 7 and 14, hormones in the brain trigger the rise of estrogen and progesterone; estrogen stimulates the maturity of an egg or ovum in one of the ovaries and builds up the lining of the uterus, rich in blood and nutrients, to prepare for a fertilized egg. While progesterone stabilizes the uterine lining so it won’t shed before it should. As your body prepares for ovulation you’ll also start to see more cervical mucus in your vaginal discharge. This mucus looks like egg whites, and its role is to make it easier for sperm to reach the egg.
- Around Day 14 of an average 28-day cycle, Ovulation occurs which is the release of a mature egg from the ovary to be fertilized by a sperm.
- Over the next few days, the egg travels towards the uterus, if it is not fertilized, your levels of estrogen and progesterone will drop, since they don’t need to remain elevated to support pregnancy. this can lead to mood issues like premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and signals the next menstrual cycle to begin. The unfertilized egg will break apart and be shed with the next period . The journey then begins all over again.
Tracking your Ovulation
Since ovulation is the determining factor in getting pregnant or preventing pregnancy, it is one of the most important things a woman should understand about her body.
- Calculate the length of your average menstrual cycle,which is from the first day of the menstrual period to the day before the next period begins.
- Calculate your Ovulation day by subtracting 12-16 days from the next expected period.
Some women may experience ovulation-related spotting, that’s why understanding your cycle is important because this mid-cycle spotting could be mistaken for a period leading you to think you are less likely to get pregnant when it’s actually prime time for conception.
Your Fertility Window..
Is the 5 days before ovulation, ovulation day and a day after, because the lifespan of a sperm is 5 days and the ovum lives for 12-24 hours.
You are Most Fertile..
During the 3 days before and on the day of ovulation, so if you are looking for pregnancy these are the optimum days for intercourse.
You are Least Fertile..
Outside the days of your fertility window.The further you move away from ovulation, the less likely your chance will be for conceiving.
Key Facts to Know
- Pregnancy occurs when one sperm fertilizes a living mature egg.
- Each woman is born with millions of immature eggs, waiting for ovulation to begin.
- During ovulation only one mature egg is released.
- An egg lives for 12-24 hours after leaving the ovary.
- Sperm lives up to 5 days inside the woman’s body.
- Stress or illness can affect ovulation.
- Some women may experience some light blood or spotting during ovulation.
- Some women may feel pain or aching near the ovaries during ovulation.
- Implantation of a fertilized egg normally takes place 6-12 days after ovulation.
- Even if ovulation has not occurred a menstrual period can occur and vice versa.
Consult your doctor if..
- You have not started menstruating by the age of 15.
- You have not started menstruating within 3 years after breast growth began, or if there is no breast development by age 13.
- Your period becomes very irregular after having had regular cycles or your period suddenly stops for more than 90 days unless you are breastfeeding.
- Your period occurs more often than every 21 days or less often than every 35 days.
- Your period lasts for more than 7 days.
- You start bleeding more heavily than usual or using more than 1 pad or tampon every 1 – 2 hours.
- You bleed between periods.
- You have severe pain during your period.
- You suddenly get a fever and feel sick after using tampons.