Menstruation is much more than just a cyclic event that occurs approximately every 28 days; and every woman should be aware of what happens in her body during each phase of her menstrual cycle. Knowing about and understanding the cycle that you follow is advantageous in more ways than one.
Periods And Fertility In the Menstrual Cycle
Planning And Understanding
Planning a pregnancy is much easier when you are aware of how the menstrual cycle works and which part of your menstrual cycle you are in at a given point in time. Conversely, avoiding an unwanted pregnancy is also possible. If you are prone to PMS (premenstrual syndrome), you will know what to attribute your bouts of depression when you are aware of your cycle.
The Menstrual Cycle
The menstrual cycle is a cyclic event that occurs, on an average, every 28 days. It is brought about and influenced by a woman’s hormones that are produced in the pituitary gland, which is situated in the brain.
To get a deeper understanding of periods and fertility in the menstrual cycle, let us take a look at what happens in a woman’s body during the cycle.
The first day of the menstrual cycle is the day a woman starts bleeding. There is blood and broken down lining of the womb/uterus. The bleeding lasts from day 1 to day 5, but can even last as short as three days or as long as seven days. During this phase, a woman loses approximately a quarter cupful or 7 tablespoons of blood.
During a heavy period, a woman can lose much more than this amount. This is the period when the hormones are at their lowest. Since the egg as well as the lining of the womb are broken down and dissolved, it is impossible to get pregnant at this time; for this reason, couples who want to avoid an unplanned pregnancy enjoy sexual intercourse during this period.
Between Bleeding And Fertility
Once the bleeding or the period ends, the lining of the uterus begins to thicken once again. The eggs that are produced in the ovaries begin to mature.
This is considered to be a safe period and women are incapable of conceiving during this stage. This period lasts from day 7 to day 10 of the menstrual cycle, counting the first day of the periods as the first day of the menstrual cycle.
The Fertile Period
Fertility may occur anywhere between day 11 and day 21. During this stage, the hormones work on an egg to make it ripe and ready for fertilization. The egg is released by one of the two ovaries and travels down the corresponding fallopian tube. The walls of the womb thicken in anticipation of welcoming and attaching the egg to it, in the event it gets fertilized.
The fertilization period is short lived and lasts for approximately 5 days. In a 28-day cycle, this period falls between day 12 and day 16. However, if fertilization fails to occur, the hormone levels drop and the egg disintegrates along with the lining of the uterus, and the entire cycle is repeated.