Because more facts occurred to me after I said 10 last time…
- Fact: Your period app can’t tell you exactly when you’re fertile. It can only guesstimate. If you’re NOT tracking your cervix, fluids, and basal body temp then it’s just an educated guess based on your personal average cycle length and the assumption that we ovulate about 14 days before we bleed. So be careful. Unless you WANT a baby. In that case, have at it.
- Fact: The bleeding days of your cycle are part of your pre-ovulatory phase. I know we all talk about our period as the END of that months cycle, but really it’s more the beginning – it’s a cycle which means circle so it’s all connected really. Which is why when the doctor asks you how many days in your cycle, they’re counting from the first day of your last period to the first day of your next period. Until I read about the phases of the cycle I thought this was the dumbest thing ever. Because in my mind the bleeding days are “blank” days. I can’t get pregnant on those days! They’re safe, so they don’t count. Sigh, right, BUT there are way more days in our cycles that we CANNOT get pregnant than days that we CAN, and it was this adjustment in thinking that helped me re-arrange my understanding.
- Fact: Your cervical fluid is trying to tell you something. Let’s assume we’re all familiar with that lovely substance, semen. (If you’re not you’re either young or we need to talk.) It’s the ideal form of transportation for sperm. They leave the base in it, they enter you in it, and then it all goes to hell. For the majority of your cycle your vagina is a death zone for this dudes. The acidity and fluids are ALL OFF and they perish. They are made to be expendable crew members so it’s ok. As we well know, there’s more where that came from. SO the fluids in and around your cervix are there to either help of hinder his men. Key point to remember: the more similar your fluids are to HIS fluids the more likely HIS fluids are to get to the prize: your baby egg. Why? Because your body WANTS to get pregnant. So when your egg is getting ready to pop over into your tube and be open for business your systems say “GO!”. Your fluids get slippery and slidy and your cervix (the opening to your baby chamber) gets nice and soft and open. You know, to welcome his troops. Now you’re knocked up.
- Fact: your cervical fluid and your vaginal fluids are NOT the same thing. Ok, so your vagina gets hot and ready when you’re leading up to the deed, right? Well, those fluids are all nice and squishy for many reasons. 1. Personal Lube. 2. Moving sperm into the uterus. YES! At every turn our body is TRYING to get us pregnant. I know.So how do you know the difference? Well, for one thing, you can’t check your fluids when you’re turned on or have just had sex. So if you’re in bed all frisky and then suddenly think, “WAIT, AM I FERTILE?!” and try to check your fluids you’re going to ALWAYS think you’re fertile.A good way to keep in touch (pun intended) with your cervical fluids is to notice what it’s like in your undies and when you wipe. If you’ve not been particulary turn on and you still have creamy stuff in your undies then you’re on your way to a fertile phase. If you wipe and notice that the TP just SLIDES and you’ve got some kinda mucus-y, stretchy fluid then congratulations! You are experiencing “egg-whites” cervical fluids and you are EXTREMELY fertile today! Go team you. Also, HOLY TUNA SALAD, BE CAREFUL! I also encourage your be brave and get your fingers in there to feel your fluids. The more you know!Interesting side note: Can I just say that when I was in my teens and 20s my vagina was in CONSTANT go mode? Like, I could have been having a LOT of very lubricated sex at any moment. Because my body was like, “LET’S HAVE A BABY WHILE YOU’RE YOUNG AND ENERGETIC!” But I was like, “No thank you, I’m going to wait until I’m old but wise.”
- Fact: Your cervix is just the part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Why is this important to remember with fertility? Because it can tell you A LOT about where you are in proximity to ovulation/making a baby. If uterus is a balloon, then your cervix is where you blow it up. The little air intake is connected to your vagina at some point. When you have a baby baking in there and it’s time for the baby to come OUT the contractions are the uterus pulling the cervix open. Think of the balloon again. The uterus is contracting (it’s a giant muscle!) and stretching open and upwards to let the baby out. Kind of like how I imagine alien space ship doors opening. (I wish I was kidding.) When you’re NOT pregnant, your cervix serves as the second test that his dudes must pass to get to the baby egg. If the cervix is hard and closed then they’re not getting in very easily. If it’s soft and open they are free to pass. (Remember, when it’s soft and open your fluids are also slippery and welcoming. BE WARNED!)Here’s the trickiest part about this when you’re tracking your cervix. The books and articles talk about the cervix being “low” or “high”.My friend hears Marcel the Shell with Shoes on saying, “Compared to WHAT?!” in her head when asking herself that question, and I quite agree with both her and Marcel. Lower or higher than what?!?! Well, than it was the day before, but literally, higher up inside you away from the opening of your vag, or lower and close to your vag door. Which is why this takes a little getting used to.The higher, or farther away from your vag entrance, the cervix is the MORE fertile you are. This made no sense to me until I thought about the uterus as a balloon. When the cervix pulls open it also pulls UP because it’s connected to the rest of the “balloon”. Does that help at all?
- Fact: You’re probably hornier when you’re fertile. So rude. This is because in the phase leading up to your ovulation the estrogen increases, and estrogen makes you feel AMAZING. “I feel so svelte and sexy; I should slip into something much less comfortable and a little more revealing. *wink wink*” BAM! YOU’RE PARENTS FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIVES. I like to track my randy times, too, because they also let me know that my body is ready to make a human.
- Fact: It’s important to treat your vagina and cervix like the opposite of a museum; TOUCH EVERYTHING. There’s NOTHING gross about this. The more familiar you are with your own stuff the more you are in charge of your reproductive system. Other people, doctors, and the government are NOT in control of your reproduction. YOU ARE. It’s also really important to know what’s normal so that if there’s ever something NOT RIGHT you’ll know exactly what you’re talking about in order to get the attention/solutions you need. Knowledge is power. This is true empowerment to KNOW your body and LEVERAGE that knowledge for good!
- Fact: Your period isn’t blood. Ok, I lied, it’s partly blood, but it’s mostly proteins and stuff to feed your baby if you were to get knocked up. Which is just one more reason to NOT be afraid of or grossed out by your own body fluids! They were just IN you, why are you afraid of them. You made that shit. You get to be the boss of it!
- Fact: Your period blood tells you the story of what happened in your uterus for the last month. The lighter/brighter in color, the newer the blood. The darker/muddier it is, the older the blood. Why should we care? Because if you are ever faced with answer uncomfortable questions about what could be going wrong in your lady plumbing then you can reference your period blood.
Typically your period starts out with the freshest layer of business. That stuff is the closest to the exit because it’s the newest. Each day that goes by the older the endometrium that’s vacating your uterus. Also, the texture! The newer stuff is thinner and less clotty. The older stuff is opposite: heavy, thick, and clotted. So if you have super dark, clotted blood right away you may have your first clue about a hormonal imbalance.
- Fact: One weird thing doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. You have to take ALL the symptoms and put them together before you freak out, ok? You’re late? It’s ok. Your first day of bleeding is super dark? You’re probably fine. You had one or two months of monster period with awful EVERYTHING? No, you probably don’t have endometriosis.BUT. Have you had 6 months of dark blood, terrible cramping, and more than 8 days long? You might want to talk to a doctor (preferably a naturopath) about getting your hormones in balance.
Side note: We live in a really estrogen dominant environment. Too much estrogen creates all kinds of funky period symptoms as well as making our bodies a greenhouse for cancer cells. It’s in our food, water, milk, and even our beauty products. All this estrogen can lead to a lot of problems for all us ladies. Especially because those hormones are many times synthetic and truly confuse our bodies. Before you freak out and end up on the pill try going to a doctor who approaches the body holistically and will address your hormonal imbalance with easy and practical methods to create balance without exacerbating the problem long term.