This page will give you an overview of your menstrual cycle, so that you will know when during the menstrual cycle you are ovulating and can become pregnant, as well as which variations that are normal.
What is the menstrual cycle?
A menstrual cycle is the process that goes on from the first day of your menstruation until the first day of your next menstruation. The menstrual cycle is on average about 28-29 days, and often between 24 and 32 days (normal menstrual cycle) however it can be shorter (short menstrual cycle) or longer (long menstrual cycle). 95% of all women have a menstrual cycle which is between 15 and 45 days. The length of your menstrual cycle is individual for you. When your menstruations are regular, the length of your menstrual cycle tends to be about the same every month.
Different phases during your menstrual cycle?
During a menstrual cycle, your body goes through a number of different phases, and during every menstrual cycle, the body undergoes this process. You can observe this in a calendar of the menstrual cycle.
The first thing that happens is the start of your period. The menstruation allows your body to expel your endometrium. The endometrium is prepared to receive a fertilised egg, and when no fertilised egg has attached to it, it is repelled by the body. It is then that your period starts, or menstruation, as it is also called, and menstrual blood is expelled from your vagina. The menstrual blood is a mixture of endometrium and leftover blood. The amount of menstrual blood varies from person to person; some have abundant bleeding, while others get less abundant. For many, there is more bleeding at the beginning of the period, which then lessens toward the end of it.
Your menstruation will last about three to five days, but it can be shorter or longer. Periods that last between 2 and 7 days are normal. The length of your menstruation is individual for you. When your menstruation is finished, a new endometrium will be rebuilt in the event that a fertilised egg will arrive after the next ovulation.
How your ovulation process functions?
When your period starts, a process also begins in your ovaries. Immature eggs are located in the ovaries. When the body discovers that no fertilised eggs have attached themselves to your uterus, the body calls for new eggs – eggs that can be fertilised. This starts a process where new eggs mature within your ovaries. This process takes a particular length of time, unique for you and each individual. A new egg is then fully developed and your ovary releases the new egg. This is known as ovulation.
The egg that is released from the ovary is taken into a fallopian tube, where it travels further down the tube. It is within the fallopian tube that the egg can be fertilised by sperms. The egg travels down within the fallopian tube and, during these 1-2 days, you can become pregnant. The sperm can survive within your body for as many as five days, so if you have had intercourse several days prior to the egg release, you can become pregnant.
Once the egg has traveled down the fallopian tube, the endometrium has been re-developed and is prepared to receive a fertilised egg. Should there be no fertilised egg that attaches to the endometrium within a few days, it is time again for the next menstruation.
Changed hormone levels during the menstrual cycle
The level of various hormones varies within your body during the menstrual cycle. It is the hormone levels that direct the various processes such as egg maturity, ovulation, growth of the endometrium, and expulsion of the endometrium. Should you become pregnant, the hormone levels are also altered as a result of a fertilised egg having become attached to the uterus.
Your body temperature also varies during the menstrual cycle. It is lowest at the start of your period, and highest during the ovulation. If you are very thorough, you could follow your menstrual cycle by keeping a diary of the variations of your body temperature.