Does the length of your cycle impact your fertility?
Your cycle is incredibly informative
Ideally, we want to see:
- A cycle length of between 26-32 days
- 3-7 days bleed
- Minimal pain
- Minimal PMS
When it comes to fertility - I like to go a step further during our assessment. We want to understand how long each PHASE of your menstrual cycle is.
- How long is your follicular phase?
- How long is your luteal phase?
To figure this out, we need to know when you’re ovulating.
Menstrual cycle terminology
Your "follicular phase" makes up the first half of your cycle: from the first day of menses until ovulation.
This is important for your egg development and for your lining to thicken.
Your "luteal phase" makes up the second half - from ovulation until the next menses.
This is important for embryo implantation.
You can determine how long or short your follicular vs luteal phase are, by identifying when you ovulate.
What could a short cycle mean?
A short cycle could mean a short follicular phase and a normal luteal phase. This may impact how well your egg matures. Some research suggests that this may result in poor pregnancy outcomes.
A short cycle could also mean a normal follicular phase but a short luteal phase. This may impact the ability of implantation to occur.
What could a long cycle mean?
A long cycle could mean a long follicular phase - is there something delaying ovulation?
It could also mean you’re not ovulating at all.
The key to understanding if and how your menstrual cycle is impact your fertility - is knowing when your ovulation is. This allows us to assess the length of your follicular vs. luteal phase.
How do I determine when I ovulate?
There are a few different ways we can identify when you’re ovulation:
- LH strips, also known as ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) - These are urine strips you start in the first half of your cycle (follicular phase). It measures your LH levels. Once LH peaks and you get a positive, it indicates that you MAY ovulate in the next 12-48 hours. It does not however confirm ovulation.
- Cervical mucus - this is a normal vaginal discharge that has the consistency of egg white and can indicate when you’re close to ovulating. Again, this does not confirm you’ve ovulated.
- Basal body temperature - this is the measurement of your temperature, in the morning, before you get out of bed. A consistent rise in your temperature in the second half of your cycle occurs due to the presence of progesterone. This confirms that you have already ovulated. (Note: this shouldn’t be used to time intercourse, because once your temperature rises, it’s too late!). To learn more about this - click here.
The best way to determine your ovulation is a combination of all three of these strategies. Over time, you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly when you’re ovulating, and if there are any irregularities to your cycle (i.e. too short/too long), we can determine where we need to focus.
If you’re struggling with your cycle, schedule a discovery call to learn more about how we can help!
Dr. Ashley Damm, ND