Nichole is frustrated that she is still not pregnant. She has diligently learned to follow all of her signs of ovulation and knows when she is ovulating. She and Eric always enjoy making love on her most fertile days, and they know his sperm are good. So what’s going on?! After doing some more research, she has begun to understand that her menstrual cycle is not completely normal. Her luteal phase, the second half of the cycle, is shorter than it should be. Now what?
First, some basic information about your menstrual cycle. It is divided into 3 phases:
- Follicular Phase
- Luteal Phase
The follicular phase starts with day 1 of your menstrual cycle, which is the day you begin bleeding. It lasts for 12-21 days, which is normal.
Ovulation is when the egg is released from the follicle in your ovary. This occurs 12-16 days before your next menstrual period. Simple tools you can use to recognize ovulation are fertile cervical mucus, the position of your cervix, and seeing a ferning pattern in your dried saliva.
The luteal phase begins after ovulation and lasts 12-16 days, usually 14 days. If the egg is fertilized, the embryo travels down the fallopian tube and implants into the uterus. You must produce adequate amounts of progesterone and estrogen for this to happen. If you do not, the embryo may not implant, or you may have a miscarriage in the first 10 weeks.
If your luteal phase is shorter than 12 days, then you are considered to have a luteal phase defect, or short luteal phase. Hormone imbalances can be one of the causes of a luteal phase defect.
So, What Is a Luteal Phase Calculator and Why Is It Important?
Actually, you are the luteal phase calculator. Only you can determine the length of your luteal phase, no formula or online calculator will do it accurately for you. Again, it is the length of time after you ovulate until you start your next menstrual period. Some online ovulation calculators will ask for the length of your luteal phase to help you estimate when you are likely to ovulate.
You must know how to recognize when you ovulate to be able to accurately determine your luteal phase. If you do not have obvious and healthy signs of ovulation, you may need to back up and focus on your overall health to help your body become more normal. The health of your menstrual cycles, compared to “normal”, is a key indicator of your fertility. This includes easy to recognize signs of ovulation and a normal length luteal phase.
It is important to know if your luteal phase is 12-16 days, because if it is not, this is an indication that your fertility may be compromised.
2 additional articles about this subject that you may find helpful:
- More information about how to determine the length of your luteal phase
- Information about what can cause a luteal phase defect
To Your Vibrant Health!
Veronica Tilden, DO