During her lifetime, a woman’s body goes through a lot of changes. When a girl gets her first period, her body transitions for the first time. In the years to come, there will be innumerable changes that occur internally as well. After a woman gives birth till the time she hits menopause, her reproductive organs go through many transformations. It is the proper function of the reproductive cycle and organs in a woman’s body that can keep her healthy.
The menstrual cycle is a very important part of a woman’s life. An ideal menstrual cycle is approximately 25 to 30 days long. Although we may have heard the term “reproductive cycle” several times, do we know what exactly it is?? Here is a guide to our reproductive cycles.
What is a reproductive cycle or a menstrual cycle?
It is a term given to the monthly process of a female reproductive system. The entire reproductive cycle covers ovulation, fertility, and menstruation. The length of a healthy cycle is covered from the first day of the period until the day before the next period cycle. Periods start when a girl reaches puberty, usually at the age of 12. The ovaries start producing female hormones which trigger menstruation.
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#1. Day 1
This is the first day of your menstrual cycle. You will get your periods on this day unless you are pregnant. On this day, you experience a ‘bleed’. This happens when there is a drop in the progesterone hormones in the body. This is the day the body realizes that the fertilization of the egg has not happened. Thus, the lining of the uterus which the body was internally developing for it to become ready for pregnancy is now shed. This lining is known as the endometrium thickness. It must now be renewed in order to prepare for a new egg.
#2. Day 2
This is when your period continues and this is the one day that your bleeding might be a little heavy. While your premenstrual syndromes like bloating, fatigue and mood swings may lessen, you may have still experience excessively painful cramps.
#3. Day 3 to Day 5
Your period will start to lighten up. Day 3 is the final day of the bleeding for most women. You will continue to see red blood on day 3 as well but the bleeding will be a little less. Day 4 and day 5, your period will lighten up and change colour from red to brown. Usually, a woman has a 5 day period cycle- it may be less or more depending upon your health situation.
Also read: 7 Home Remedies To Treat Irregular Periods
#4. Day 6 to 8
For many women, Day 6 will be the first day of being free after your period. You will feel fresh and energetic. Your period should be completely gone by now. Your body will now start preparing itself for the next month. If you are planning a pregnancy, you should start keeping a track of the days. On these days small follicles are starting to grow near the ovaries. Testosterone levels are very low, estrogen levels start to grow while progesterone will be completely absent.
#5. Day 9 and 10
One follicle will start to develop and reach towards maturity. Estrogen levels will start to rise and build the lining of the uterus, preparing it to make a home for a baby. By day 10 estrogen production should stop and the uterus lining will be thick enough to host a baby.
#6. Day 11
If you are planning to conceive now is the time to start trying. This is the time when you are getting very close to ovulation. Most women also start ovulating on day 11.
#7. Day 12 and 13
Since the estrogen levels are at an all-time high, the fertility rate goes up even if you have not started ovulating. The main follicle should be fully ready to release an egg anytime. It is good to start preparing for conception because sperm can last for up to 72 hours.
#8. Day 14
You are most probably ovulating today. The egg is released from the follicle. The egg is out of the ovary and is ready to commence its journey. You might have a little stomach ache or spotting, which is completely normal. This is the day when you have full chances of making a baby.
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#9. Day 15 and 16
The egg is hanging at the tube and is ready to be fertilized. If it is not ready, the egg remains there. The estrogen and testosterone levels are starting to drop and progesterone levels are rising rapidly.
#10. Day 17 and 18
The lining of the uterus is getting thick. If the egg has been successfully fertilized it will make its home there and turn itself into a baby. If that is not the case, the egg will die and the estrogen levels will come down while the progesterone levels keep rising.
#11. Day 19 to 21
If you are trying to get pregnant, now is a good chance that you already are pregnant. But it is still early to get a pregnancy check-up done. By day 20 your cycle is nearing and your PMS symptoms will start to show again. You may also feel slightly bloated and moody.
#12. Day 21 to 27
Your PMS symptoms are at their peak. After a week of ovulation, your progesterone levels are at a high and the estrogen levels will decrease. You may experience major bloating symptoms, irritation, and anger at the slightest issue and even mood swings can happen. By Day 27, PMS symptoms will start to fade out because your periods are back.
Also read: Does Gaining Weight Cause Irregular Periods?
#13. Day 28
This is the time that your one reproductive cycle comes to an end and the other will start. This is the day that you should get your periods. The uterine lining will start to shed again. If in the next couple of days, you do not get your periods, you can take a pregnancy test if you have been trying to conceive. It might still be early and you might want to repeat the test in a week’s time again.. If the result is negative even after a week, then you should consult a gynecologist for the same.
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