4 Big Reasons Why Understanding Your Menstrual Cycle Is Important

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If someone told me 4 years ago I’d be singing the praises of my hormones and menstrual cycle, I would have told them, “You’re crazy!”  For my whole cycling life, I hated the fact that I had to bleed and tried to forget about my cycle as much as possible.  It was annoying, and although I understood it was part of the baby-making process, I didn’t understand why it mattered during the times when I wasn’t having kids.  I wanted to just turn it off until I was ready.

Luckily, I was also instinctively wary of hormonal birth control (which certainly would have “turned things off”) and started looking for natural birth control options.  This lead me to the Fertility Awareness Method, a natural birth control option that required me to begin the process of understanding my body and my cycle more intimately than I ever had before.  My whole outlook on life shifted (and I’m not being hyperbolic) when I started understanding my cycle.  I could not believe no one had explained to me how amazing my body is and how important my cycle is to my overall health and wellbeing.  This is only scratching the surface, but these are 4 of the biggest reasons why your cycle is actually really important and beneficial to you as a momma and a woman!

1. If you’re trying to get pregnant, there’s a fertility window every month.

Many women don’t know this, but there is actually a very specific time during each cycle when pregnancy can actually occur.  That’s because sperm can only survive in the female body when cervical fluid is present (more on this in the future… you’ll love it).  Once ovulation occurs, the egg can only live for about 12-24 hours.  If it isn’t fertilized within that window, then pregnancy won’t occur that cycle.  Timing intercourse to achieve pregnancy can be a million times easier if you know when your fertility window opens and when it closes.

(An interesting side note: men are fertile ALL THE TIME from puberty until death, with some declining fertility in the later years.  Our bodies, however, operate on cyclical patterns with times of fertility and times of rest, just like the natural seasons, that all depend on our hormones).

2. Knowing your menstrual cycle can be used as a natural birth control or child spacing option.

Because we only have one fertile window per cycle, the rest of the cycle is safe for unprotected intercourse if you’re trying to prevent pregnancy.  The best way to use natural birth control is by using the Fertility Awareness Method, which uses cervical fluid and body temperature patterns to determine when fertility begins and ends.  This piece of the puzzle is my specialty, so you’ll definitely be hearing more about this in the future!

3. You can better understand and prepare yourself for emotional ups and downs (aka: HORMONES).

Menstrual Cycle Hormones (glad rags version)

The drastic hormonal changes we go through each cycle not only affect our fertility, but our emotions as well.  Many women feel the rush and excitement of higher estrogens levels towards the beginning and middle of the cycle (the blue line above), and act more extroverted, verbal, confident, flirtatious, and energetic.  Towards the end of the cycle, when progesterone levels are dropping (the red line above), many women feel the need to retreat, reflect, and be still.  If you understand why you are feeling a certain way, it validates the feeling and allows you to give yourself what you need.

4. You can empower yourself by understanding your body and the way it works.

Have you ever felt disconnected from you body?  Frustrated about being a woman?  Confused about your cycle?  Wanting more information than your doctor provides?  Then understanding your menstrual cycle can help with all these issues and more!  By checking in with your cycle each day, you can develop an amazing relationship with your body, sexuality, and reproductive system.

Ready to dive in?  In my next post, I’ll explain the different phases of the menstrual cycle using the image below, the hormones involved, and how it affects our bodies physically.  If you’re ready to read more right away, check out the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler.

The Menstrual Cycle

 

 

Ashley Annis

Ashley Annis

Fertility Awareness Educator at Lovely Fertility
Ashley Annis is a certified Fertility Awareness & Reproductive Health Educator. She teaches natural birth control and conscious conception classes, and hand-makes cloth menstrual pads and vulva craft kits. She lives happily ever after in Madison, WI with her favorite (and only) husband, and hopes to be a calm & content person when she grows up. She normally doesn't dress so fancy, but this is the best picture of her.
Ashley Annis

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