In my previous post (click here), I spoke about ovulation and sperm health. Today, I will be speaking about menstruation, what is healthy and what’s not. I will also be covering how your digestion can hinder your chances of getting and staying pregnant. Let’s get right into it.
What is normal menstruation anyways?
Before I go into what is normal menstruation, you should understand that your menstruation cycle has 4 phases. The first day of your cycle is the first day of your period. Based on my research, I have found that a “normal” period cycle is between 2 to 7 days long. Following your period, you enter into follicular phase. In this phase, several (sometimes hundreds) of eggs start maturing. At the end of the follicular phase, ovulation takes place when the dominant egg breaks out of the ovaries and drops down to the fallopian tube. Once this happens, you enter the luteal phase. Another name for luteal is the “2 Week Wait (2WW)”.
One vital thing you need to keep in mind that luteal phase ALWAYS stays the same number of days. If you’ve been tracking your periods on an app, you will see that your luteal phase is always the same number of days. Mine are always 14 days. If you go less than 9 days, you absolutely need to seek a doctor’s help. The reason for this is because your uterus cannot maintain a pregnancy if you do get pregnant. Your body will keep continually shedding the baby with the new cycle. This is a huge indication of a hormonal imbalance.
What about your period? What does it look like? Is it very painful? Does it come with lots of clots? Pay attention to these things. The flow itself in whatever colour (from black to pink) are normal, but does it come with headaches, backaches, acne, etc? If yes, then you need to check in with your doctor and describe to him exactly what is happening. This could be another sign of hormonal imbalance that could hinder your chances of getting pregnant. Are you bleeding or spotting after your period is done? That is something that should be noted to your doctor as well.
The follicular phase varies, especially in my case. Which makes it hard to catch ovulation if you aren’t in tune with your body. In the one Facebook TTC group I am a member of, a woman noticed that her ovulation was the very next day after her period based on her cervical mucus. She got pregnant by paying attention to that. Another (actually several) woman mentioned that she had finished her period and felt off. She tested and it was positive. The follicular phase can be 1 day or 14 days like in these cases. You just need to be in tune with your body and keep record of what you feel in those fertility apps.
EDIT: One more important thing to not about your menstruation cycle – How long are your cycles? If it is less than 21 days, then it could mean that you have a low egg reserve or approaching menopause. If your cycle is longer than 35 days or irregular (you get one every 3 or so months), then it could mean that you have PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) or some other obstruction causing the uterine lining not to shed properly. These two scenarios does NOT mean you cannot get pregnant at all. It just means you need some help from doctors in order to get pregnant. It could be as simple as just adjusting your hormone levels to regulate your cycles. But it is very important to note all of these things and mention them to your doctor.
What does digestion have anything to do with getting pregnant?
Everything! If you have gas, constant bloating, irregular bowel movements, heart burn, etc., that is a big indication that your digestion is not working optimally. In Rebecca Fett’s “It starts with the Egg” she mentioned how she suffered from back ailments and she couldn’t carry children herself. She found the diet that works for her and she even wrote another book about that. She also mentioned how an allergy to gluten can cause infertility because your body is in a constant state of inflammation and isn’t absorbing the nutrients your eggs or sperm need.
Think about it. If your intestines are full of gas to the point that it is uncomfortable for you, how is it possible for an embryo to implant? It’s simple physics. If your uterus constantly moving (its right next to your intestines), the embryo has slim chances of implanting. Personally, I always suffered from digestion problems. So after finishing “It starts with the Egg”, I cut out all gluten and feel so much better. I notice the difference in my body when just a bit of gluten ends up in my body. I get irritable, gassy and bloated like a balloon.
You need to find what works for you. If you’re intolerant to something, it is recommended to cut it out, especially when you are TTC. Just like if you were allergic to peanuts, treat inflammatory foods as if you would die from them. You don’t need to quit cold turkey, try transitioning into it. If you don’t know what may cause your bloating or heart burn, ask your doctor for help. Remember, doctors work for you. Bother them! Or better yet, go straight to a nutritionist.