Know Your Cycle. Know Yourself 🧘‍♀️

Know Your Cycle. Know Yourself 🧘‍♀️

Tracking our cycles helps us decode our body’s (not-so-secret) messages. We can spot patterns - . “Why am I cramping today? Oh right! It’s been 16 days, so I’m ovulating!” “If I go on that beach vacation next weekend, I’ll have to pack my menstrual bikini bottoms.” Regardless of whether babies are in the plan or very specifically NOT in the plan, tracking keeps us informed.

Okay… I gotta be honest: I am still working on this one and I’ve been at it for more than two decades. If I knew it, I would tell you mine top to bottom, but I’ve been pretty lackadaisical about the whole thing for a long time. Forget it, let’s learn it together. Are you with me? Let’s go!

First things first: What is the menstrual cycle? It’s not just the two to eight days that you bleed. It’s a roughly 28 - 30 day cycle that looks a bit different for every woman, but can become fairly predictable on an individual level. Most every woman’s body goes through the same four phases over the course of their menstrual cycle: menstrual, follicular phase, ovulation, and luteal. Let’s dig into that:

Menstrual Phase

Timeframe: Days 1-5

Description:  It’s the “period,”- the most well known phase of our menstrual cycle. The Regina George of the Mean Girls. The Beyonce’ of the Destiny's Child. The Cary Bradshaw to Sex in the City. You get the picture. This is when we shed our uterine lining and blood followed by cramps, bloating, and mood swings. So, let’s get tracking! “Day 1” of our menstrual cycle is the first day we bleed. Every body is different, but try not to get it confused with “spotting.”

Follicular Phase

Timeframe: Days 1-13. You read that right, the follicular phase overlaps with the menstrual phase.

Description: As our period flushes out the old, the next egg starts lining up at our ovaries to get ready for round two… or 97 or 348, or, in my case, round 252. Our bodies release estrogen that starts to line the uterine walls so that an egg sticks. Our period is ending and our bodies become a blooming and beautified garden, so we are feeling good!

Ovulation Phase

Timeframe: Day 14.

Description: The egg, champion of this month, travels down the fallopian tube and makes its way into the uterus. Ovulation only lasts about 12 to 24 hours, but you’re likely to get pregnant if you have unprotected sex two or three days before and two or three days after. Sperm is hopeful. It will wait. You may feel some cramping (don’t worry, your period isn’t coming early).

Luteal Phase

Timefame: Days 15-28

Description: The egg gave it the good old college try, but no dice. That’s when the luteal phase kicks in. Progesterone takes the stage, thickening the uterine lining to get ready for another flush. You might crave chocolate…and all the foods… and your feelings might demand to be felt. Be nice to yourself.

So, ladies, let’s embrace our inner cycle detectives. Whether you’re plotting parenthood, avoiding it, or just curious, tracking your menstrual cycle is like reading tea leaves. It’s about understanding your body, celebrating its quirks, and maybe even predicting when you should hide the menus for the burger joint. The one with the fondue cheese and chocolate milkshakes. Yup. That one.

Remember, our uterus isn’t just a landlord for Aunt Flo; it’s a storyteller, a mood ring, and a monthly reminder that we are always in motion. So, grab your calendar or app, sip some herbal tea, and let the tracking begin. 

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When you know yourself, you are empowered. When you accept yourself, you are invincible - Tina Lifford, American actress and playwright



Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only. Consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

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