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A phase-by-phase guide to your menstrual cycle, because just knowing your date isn’t enough

Updated on:1 June 2020, 16:46pm IST
Mapping your menstrual cycle has major reproductive health benefits, according to this fertility expert. And here’s how you can go about it.
Nikita Bhardwaj
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Learn to track your menstruation from an expert. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Let us ask you a simple question. How long is your menstrual cycle? 

Is it four, seven, 15, or 28 days? Most of you must have chosen either option one or two—i.e. four or seven days. And we are not so happy, because you are absolutely wrong. For most women, their menstrual cycle lasts for about 28 days. 

Sadly, most of us have a real hard time calculating our menstrual cycles and wrapping our heads around the math of it all. And just marking the date of your next period on the calendar isn’t enough. 

Do you know, if you map your menstrual cycle then you prevent a lot of reproductive disorders? Well, we aren’t saying it—Dr Karishma Dafle, a fertility specialist from Nova IVF, Pune is. 

And therefore she is laying down a fool-proof guide that will help you map your menstrual cycle to the T.

These are the phases of your menstrual cycle
“First and foremost you need to understand the days. Our menstrual cycle is around 21 to 35 days long. So basically, five to seven days of periods, 14th day before the next period is ovulation, and 28th day is the luteal phase”, explains Dr Dafle.  

But let’s break it down for you. 

Phase 1: Periods
Well, this one is we all know. Occasionally painful but it’s also a nature’s call, because this is the time when you bleed

menstrual hygeine day
Bleeding marks phase one of the cycle. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“To map your cycle you can mark the calendar on the first day of your period. But to ensure the dates, mark the calendar for at least two to three months”, suggests Dr Dafle.

Phase 2: Ovulation
After your periods are over, you enter the pre-ovulation phase after which ovulation kicks in. In the pre-ovulation phase the endometrial lining starts building up whereas in the ovulation period it is maintained, awaiting fertilisation.  

Do you know that during this stage we have better spatial skills and imagination? After your uterus lining is made ready by the body, you tend to feel sexual arousal.  

Phase two is the best time to concieve. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“The egg is ready in this phase to mate and reproduce and if that doesn’t happen then we move to the next phase. If you are planning to conceive then the ovulation period is the right time”, she says.

Phase 3: Luteal Phase
“In case there is no mating then you come to the luteal phase where the uterus lining is shed. This happens on the 28th or 29th day of your cycle. And now there is no scope for pregnancy or may be very less”, explains Dr Dafle.  

So, this is how you know what stage of your cycle you are in. When can you get pregnant and when can you escape it.

There are many more reasons why you should map our cycle, according to Dr Dafle

1. To identify any abnormality
According to Dr Dafle, if you are tracking your periods and you see any discrepancy or changes then you should report it to your gynaecologist. For instance, if you miss your date then there is a high chance that you might be pregnant or you may have abnormal periods.

2. To identify the scope of premature menopause
“If your mother has gone into premature menopause i.e. at the age of 40, then there is a high chance that you might have short period cycles and if you map your cycle then you can identify this as well”, explains Dr Dafle.

3. To identify endometriosis and fibroids
“If you are experiencing severe pain in almost all your periods then there are chances that you might have endometriosis. Also, if there is heavy bleeding, like changing your napkin every hour due to the release of blood clots in every period, then you could have fibroids. So, being aware about every cycle of yours is very important so that you can meet your doctor before it is too late,” explains Dr Dafle.

endometriosis
Don’t take the symptoms of endometriosis lightly. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The takeaway?
“Although, we hardly pay any heed to this entire process until and unless there is something wrong, I will always advise you to map your cycle thoroughly. It has also become simpler now as you have apps on your mobile to help you out. So, do download the one you like and map your cycle to the T,” concludes Dr Dafle.

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Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.