Knowing how to calculate your menstrual cycle is easier than it sounds and more important than you think. Awareness of the signs of your body’s hormonal changes and a calendar are the two tools you need to take charge of your health and your future.
Ovulation Is the Key
Your menstrual cycle revolves around the process of ovulation. Hormones trigger the thickening of the uterine wall and the maturation of eggs in the ovary. Once ovulation occurs, the body begins caring for a fertilized egg or ends the process by sloughing off the uterine lining, which is the beginning of your period and the official start of your cycle. Being able to pinpoint ovulation is crucial to calculating your menstrual cycle.
Signs of Ovulation are Simple
Your body will give you signs that it is in the ovulation phase of your cycle. Your waking body temperature rises slightly during this time. Also, your cervical fluid changes. This is an obvious sign of how your body is preparing to ovulate. Before this phase your cervix and vaginal walls are dry. As your body moves into ovulation the cervical fluid becomes opaque and sticky. At the peak of ovulation the fluid becomes clear and stretchy like an egg white. This fluid change allows for a better environment for the sperm to travel to the egg. You are most likely to become pregnant anywhere from three days before ovulation through the day you ovulate.
Your Period – The Next Step
Knowing when you are ovulating is the best way to determine when your period will start. Although cycle lengths are as different as women are, the majority of periods begin twelve to fourteen days after ovulation. Variations in cycle lengths are caused by factors affecting ovulation.
Begin by marking the first day of your period on the calendar. Add notes each day of any noticeable changes, particularly those that indicate ovulation. Once you know the day of ovulation, you should be able to correctly anticipate the beginning of your next period. Charting this information is very important. It will allow you to plan a pregnancy or to avoid it. It will also allow you to plan your life around the symptoms of your period. Most importantly, it gives you information you may need to share with your doctor.
“Menstruation and the Menstrual Cycle << Frequently Asked Questions << womenshealth.gov.” womenshealth.gov | 800-994-9662. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Aug. 2010. http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/menstruation.cfm.
“The Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation.” NetWellness Homepage. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Aug. 2010. http://www.netwellness.org/healthtopics/pregnancy/pregmenstrualcycle.cfm.