So you are having trouble getting pregnant, and you've looked on Google for signs of infertility.
Here's the thing. Before you go too far down that rabbit hole, it's worth your time to learn more about your menstrual cycle, and how it is "supposed" to work.
I put the quotes because really every woman is different. Still, there is a generally accepted average experience, and you should know a LOT about that before sinking into Infertility Depression, or looking for treatment options.
To that end, we have started this blog series to review the menstrual cycle in depth. Be sure to check out our first post on this topic, "Infertility and Depression: The Toxic Twins."
- It usually starts in females by the time that they reach puberty, around the ages of 12-13, although it can be earlier or later.
- The end of the reproductive phase of life is called menopause. This commonly happens somewhere between the ages of 45 and 55.
- The reproductive system consists of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and the ovaries.
- Each month, an egg travels down from the ovaries, through the fallopian tubes, and into the uterus.
- This is called ovulation, and this is the only time of the cycle during which you can get pregnant!
- If the egg doesn't become fertilized (meaning, doesn't have sperm attach to it) then the uterus will shed itself, causing a woman to have their menses. That's the blood you see coming out during your period.
Sometimes you will see clots or chunks of tissue (ew gross, I know - but this is important!). Those clots are usually pieces of the uterus, and nothing to be worried about. If the clots are brown or dark purple, and/or your period hurts, then you may want to seek treatment. At the very least use a heating pad on your lower abdomen as often as possible - it will quicken the blood flow, relax the muscles and help ease that pain.
Back to the facts:
- Ovulation usually lasts about 4 days. Sperm can live about 5 days, so if you do the math there is a 9 day window at most during which you can conceive.
- In the textbook menstrual cycle, ovulation starts on day 14 and lasts until about day 18.
- Day 1 is always measured as the first day of bleeding. If you spot before your period this is not considered day 1 yet, you have to be fully bleeding.
- Since the sperm can live for 5 days, if tyour cycle is anything close to the textbook you should start "trying" on day 9. That maximizes your chances.
- Sorry fellas: if you are seriously TTC you should probably stop having sex by day 20 to give yourselves a rest and not make it seem like such a JOB.
I hope this helps! Use the link above to ask any questions!!