One of the most maddening things to a lot of women, especially those who have irregular cycles, is knowing when they are going to get their period.
Maybe you want to know when it’s coming so that you are reassured that you aren’t pregnant. Maybe you just want to know so you can be prepared. Maybe you like to schedule your life a little differently when you are on your period.
Whatever it is: it’s just good knowledge to have.
But did you know that you CAN figure out when your period is going to come, even if it’s irregular?
How to figure out when your period is coming
The secret is this: our cycles come in two “basic” phases. Before ovulation it’s called the follicular phase and that is that part of your cycle that is variable in length. After ovulation it’s called the luteal phase and that is a fixed length.
So all you need to do is figure out when you ovulate and then you know when your period will come.
Can you figure out when you ovulate?
I know what you are thinking now: “Right, Hannah, how am I going to figure out when I am ovulating, though? That would be even harder than figuring out when my period is coming. At least then I have my terrible mood to go off of.”
But you actually can. And it’s pretty easy! Our hormones that happen around ovulation actually produce signs in our body that we can observe.
Here is the basis for how that happens:
Let me explain what you are seeing up there. Each little box is one of your cycle days. The first day, on the right, would be the first day of your period. The last day, on the left, would be the day before your next period. Ovulation is in between. For a lot of women it’s near the middle.
On top of the diagram there is the jagged line, that represents your morning temperature. As you can see it does go up and down, but right around ovulation it spikes. Generally for figuring out when your period is going to come the best way is counting the number of high temperatures you have had.
Inside of the boxes you can see some stars. That is actually representing your other fertility sign: Cervical fluid! You have cervical fluid leading up to ovulation and it will either dry up or drop off sharply after ovulation.
What this all means
So if you have irregular cycles, your follicular phase could be differing by a big number each cycle, but your luteal phase will be about the same (it may vary by plus or minus 1 day). Once you figure out when you ovulate, you can figure out when your period is due.
The only thing that will make your luteal phase vary is big lifestyle changes. Like trying to eat better, stress less, sleep more, etc. The follicular phase will most likely vary for you on a regular basis.
Now of course, you aren’t going to figure out when you ovulate by this information only, but you can check out my natural birth control class in which you learn not only to tell how you ovulate but also how to use that information as a natural method of birth control (it’s effective, too!).
If you are on hormonal birth control, this does not work! Hormonal birth control shuts down your normal cycles and takes over with it’s own artificial hormones, so your body can’t execute what it would if you were cycling normally.