Preparing for Pregnancy
There are many ways to prepare for a pregnancy, but I believe once you begin tracking your cycle everything else falls into place. Tracking your cycle helps you to become attuned to the ebb and flow of your body, hormones, moods, and abilities. A woman's menstrual cycle has four main phases: Menstruation (reflective), Follicular (dynamic), Ovulation (expressive), and Luteal (creative). Knowing how these different cycles come forth in your daily life can provide a great deal of insight when planning for a pregnancy.
The menstrual phase is your period- it’s the shedding of your uterine lining. The day you begin bleeding is your cycle's ‘Day 1’. Your estrogen and progesterone levels are low, making it a great time to reflect on yourself and your desires! You are naturally more accepting of meditative states and self-love during this phase. The menstrual phase is usually days 1-7.
The follicular phase starts on the first day of menstruation and ends with ovulation. The growth of the follicles (tiny nodules) stimulates the lining of the uterus to thicken in preparation for a possible pregnancy. This makes it a great time for you to begin actualizing the idea of becoming pregnant! Start taking vitamins, make sure your water intake is up to par, and if you don't already, now is the time to start a gentle workout/exercise routine to help prepare your body for carrying a pregnancy.
The follicular phase is typically days 7-14.
The ovulation phase is the release of a mature egg from the surface of the ovary. This is the time you and your partner should be getting intimate in hopes of conceiving! During this phase in your cycle, you may be feeling the desire to have a spontaneous date night with your partner and may even feel sexually expressive. This is nature's way of telling our bodies that they are ready to get pregnant and reproduce. This is the most essential phase in natural family planning and usually goes from days 14-21.
The luteal phase is the last in the cycle. During the luteal phase, estrogen and progesterone increase and work together to create changes in the lining of the uterus that prepare it to accept an embryo, should conception occur. If you are pregnant your human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) levels will begin to rise and that is what shows up on an at-home pregnancy test. If you are not pregnant your uterus will begin to shed again and that will restart your cycle. The luteal phase is days 21-28.
It’s important to note that not everyone follows a 28-day menstrual cycle, but this is a common baseline that you can use to observe your own cycle. I hope this helps you to understand better the energy of your cycle and how to prepare your body for pregnancy. As always, remember that nothing outside of you has power over you.