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The menstrual cycle can be divided into the following phases:
1. Menses (Period, Aunt Flow, AF)
- Every month the uterus prepares for pregnancy and when pregnancy doesn't occur the lining of the uterus sheds.
- The first day of red flow is CD1 (Cycle Day 1)
2. The Follicular Phase (before ovulation)
- The follicular phase length may vary from cycle to cycle and from woman to woman. It is the follicular phase length that determines the cycle length and cycle length variations.
- The follicular phase extends from the beginning of the cycle until ovulation. During this phase the ovarian follicles develop and mature and your body prepares for ovulation. One follicle becomes dominant as the phase progresses. The length of this phase can vary from woman to woman and from cycle to cycle. You are most fertile at the end of this phase during the days just before and including ovulation. The hormone estrogen dominates this phase.
3. Ovulation (When the egg is released)
- Ovulation is the event that divides the follicular and luteal phases.
- The best time to conceive is just before and during ovulation.
- Triggered by a surge of luteinizing hormone (LH), the ovarian follicle ruptures and releases the ovum which can then be fertilized.
- The first day after ovulation is call 1DPO (1 Day Past Ovulation)
CLICK HERE to see Human Ovulation Clearly Photographed for First Time in History.
4. The Luteal Phase (after ovulation, the "Two Week Wait").
- The luteal phase length is constant, rarely changing by more than a day or two from cycle to cycle for the same woman.
- The luteal phase usually lasts from 12-14 days, but may last from 10-16 days.
- This is the time from ovulation until the end of the cycle. If you conceive, the fertilized egg will implant in your uterine lining roughly 7-10 days into this phase. If there is no conception, the uterine lining will shed (this is your period) and your body will begin to prepare for a new cycle.
- Progesterone is the hormone that dominates this phase.
I strongly recommend reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. The website that goes along with the book is www.Ovusoft.com. I also recommend taking this FREE online course at www.FertilityFriend.com
Cycle/Ovulation Variation Chart