Before I explain the menstrual cycle and how fertility awareness works in a little more detail, there are a couple of facts you need to know:
- A normal cycle is anywhere between 24 – 60 days long. There are parameters within a cycle that make up a healthy cycle and the number of days is not one of them.
- We are either fertile or infertile – that’s it! When you are fertile you have 75% chance of falling pregnant. When you are infertile there is 0% chance of falling pregnant.
- Menstruation is not the key – it’s the end product and actually the least of my concerns as a Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner.
- The only way unplanned pregnancies will be reduced is if women and couples understand that ovulation is the key to the menstrual cycle and this is the most important aspect of your cycle.
- Sperm can live in a woman’s body for up to five days. So if you are fertile you could have sex on Monday but only fall pregnant on Saturday.
- A woman’s body wants to fall pregnant and will do everything in its power to fall pregnant every single cycle. You just need to know the signs of these fertility makers and you will know when to avoid having sex or when to have sex depending on your goals and intentions.
The Menstrual Cycle in its Phases
Day one of your cycle is the first day you need to use a tampon or pad. Remember that the sanitary products we buy from big chain stores are loaded with chemicals and they cause so many menstrual problems for women.
Menstruation is the end result of your cycle because your egg that was released was not fertilised by sperm.
Dry Phase (Pre-ovulatory Phase)
To explain the dry phase women need to understand mucus. When you go to the toilet, wipe your vulva after urinating and look at the tissue. Do this for a whole cycle and you will notice that there are times when there’s mucus (a whitish, gel-like substance that can change into a clear egg-white consistency) and other times when there’s not.
Understanding this mucus helps you understand when you can fall pregnant; it is the basis to understanding the Justisse Method of Fertility Awareness. When there is no mucus you cannot fall pregnant as sperm has no transport medium to get to the egg. It is this phase that generally differs from woman to woman and can even change from cycle to cycle as severe stress can prevent mucus production and thus ovulation.
Mucus Phase (Ovulatory Phase)
This phase is where your body is producing estrogen and getting ready for ovulation. Ovulation is the process where the mature egg that has grown in your ovary is released into the fallopian tube and waits for a sperm to meet it. When this egg is maturing and you are producing mucus, you are fertile. If you decide to have sex without a condom you have 75% chance of falling pregnant!
Once the egg is released it will stay alive for up to 24 hours in your fallopian tubes. After the egg has been released, if no sperm meets it within 24 hours it simply disintegrates. After that, you cannot ovulate again during that cycle. Your body has gone through the fertile phase.
Luteal Phase (Post-ovulatory Phase)
In this phase, a woman does not produce mucus again. I always say to women that they can have sex without a condom 200 times in this phase if they really wanted to and they CANNOT fall pregnant. This phase is characterised by progesterone. This phase will also be the same length from cycle to cycle so you will have an idea when your next period will come. It generally varies from nine to 16 days.
So that’s the menstrual cycle in a nutshell and once you understand this and how your body works, you will understand that you are given signs every single day which tell you where you are in your cycle. Learning to chart your menstrual phase is more than a birth control method, or a method to help you fall pregnant – it filters into every aspect of your life as you understand what your body is telling you.