Our fertility, both now and in the future, is actually at its prime when we truly know it inside out.
But nowadays, it seems like everywhere we turn, we’re told we don’t need to bother understanding our own fertility. We’re told we can rely on contraception or resort to invasive methods if we want to conceive.
Our fertility is more than just a “baby-making” question. It’s a complex web of factors influenced by sleep, stress, exercise, birth control, and so much more.
As young women, we deserve to be well-informed about our reproductive systems. Yet, society sometimes discourages us from fully exploring and understanding our body, be it through medical biases, pharmaceutical influences, or our own doubts. But here’s the truth: no one else can navigate this terrain for us. The responsibility lies within us to decipher the messages our bodies reveal and make informed choices.
It’s about developing body literacy, a lifelong journey of self-discovery that commences by acquainting ourselves with our fertility—yes, even introducing ourselves if necessary. And what better way to kickstart this adventure than by delving into the 10 essential things every woman should know about her fertility?
Birth Control’s Side Effects
When it comes to birth control, we might feel we know all the facts. And although it’s been sold to us as the holy grail to solving our lady problems promising lighter periods, preventing pregnancy, no cramps, and even help fighting acne.
They seem to forget to mention the not-so-fun stuff that comes along with it. Yes, there are side effects and risks you should know about.
When you take hormonal birth control, whether it’s the pill, patch, implant, or IUD, there are potential side effects. These can include things like an increased risk of stroke, migraines, a higher chance of developing depression, weight gain or weight fluctuations, acne, mood swings, and even have trouble sleeping.
Wow, that’s a lot to think about.
Sure, your birth control might seem like it’s helping you more than hurting you, but sometimes it can be more trouble than it’s worth. Instead of jumping right into birth control, it’s worth exploring other options. You can try to find the root cause of your issues, like a hormonal imbalance or endometriosis, and look for a hormone-free solution.
How Oral Hygiene Affects Fertility
We all know taking care of our teeth and gums is important. But what we might know is by simply brushing our teeth regularly, we can actually boost our fertility.
Even if we’re not thinking about having babies just yet. But did you know that having a good dental routine can actually play a big role in our fertility? It’s true.
When we don’t take care of our mouths, things like plaque build up and bad bacteria can cause problems. These problems can lead to things like gingivitis (inflamed gums), gum disease, and periodontitis (which affects the tissues supporting our teeth). When we have inflammation in our mouths, it can spread to other parts of our body too.
Inflammation is a natural response to the presence of bacteria, but it can cause trouble in our reproductive systems and other delicate parts of our body.
So, a good oral hygiene routine isn’t just about having a pretty smile, but also about helping our bodies function at their best, including when it’s time to create new life.
Egg Fertility Health
When it comes to our reproductive journey, the quality of our eggs holds great significance, extending beyond the desire to conceive.
Yet, it’s all too easy to overlook the importance of our egg health until the moment arrives when starting a family becomes a priority. And by proactively investing in our egg health, we can positively impact our reproductive system even before conception enters our thoughts. Embracing measures to enhance fertility and slow down the aging process of our eggs becomes essential.
To support your egg health, you can explore fertility anti-aging supplements, such as vitamins C and E, along with quercetin. These vitamins can aid in protecting your eggs from oxidative stress and promote their overall well-being. Additionally, managing and reducing stress levels in your life can work wonders for your reproductive system, creating a more nurturing environment for your eggs to thrive.
Feel free to take a holistic approach, you can also make mindful choices in your lifestyle. Regular exercise promotes healthy circulation, which can contribute to the vitality of your eggs.
Consciously limiting potentially detrimental lifestyle factors, such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption, can safeguard the delicate balance within our reproductive system, further supporting the health of our precious eggs.
Age and Fertility
As women, we are blessed with a unique gift right from the moment we are born. We enter this world with a finite number of eggs, approximately 1 million in total. As we journey through life, our egg reserve gradually diminishes. We discover that the pool of viable eggs, those capable of fertilization by sperm and development into embryos, declines with each passing year. Research shows that by the age of 37, the average number of eggs remaining dwindles to approximately 25,000.
But don’t let these numbers discourage you. They do not signify the end of your chances towards motherhood. Statistically speaking, our 20s present an optimal window when your chances of conceiving and nurturing a healthy pregnancy are at their peak—during your twenties, when our reservoir of eggs is most abundant.
Countless women have joyfully embraced motherhood during these later stages of life. Every woman is unique, and our bodies have an incredible ability to surprise us.
Your body goes through different phases during your menstrual cycle, which is a natural process that happens every month. There are four main phases, and each one plays a role in your body’s reproductive health.
Phase 1: Menstrual Phase
This phase starts when you get your period. It’s when your body sheds the lining of your uterus (the place where a baby can grow). It usually lasts for a few days to a week. You might feel some discomfort or cramps during this time.
Phase 2: Follicular Phase
After your period ends, your body starts preparing for ovulation (which means releasing an egg). This phase is called the follicular phase. Your body produces hormones like estrogen and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) that help your egg develop. It usually happens in the middle of your cycle.
Phase 3: Ovulation
This is the exciting phase because it’s when your body releases an egg from your ovary. It usually happens around the middle of your cycle. Your body also makes your uterus lining thicker, and your cervix (the opening to your uterus) makes a slippery fluid that helps sperm reach the egg. This is the time when you can get pregnant if a sperm meets the egg.
Phase 4: Luteal Phase
If the egg is not fertilized (which means it doesn’t meet a sperm), your body gets ready for the next cycle. This phase is called the luteal phase. Your uterus lining stays thick in case a pregnancy happens, but if the egg isn’t fertilized, your body starts the menstrual phase again.
So, your menstrual cycle is like a repeating process with these four phases: menstrual, follicular, ovulation, and luteal. It’s a natural and important part of being a girl or a woman.
Knowing What Your Circle Is Like
Think of your body as a secret code that only you can understand! Your cycle is your body’s way of communicating to you, and it’s important to understand what it’s trying to tell you. We are often told that a cycle lasts for 28 days, but the truth is that everyone’s cycle can be different. Some may have longer cycles, some may have shorter cycles, and sometimes even your own cycle can change from month to month.
Your cycle is not just about your period. It’s a series of changes that happen inside your body, and it’s your body’s way of talking to you.
Sometimes your period may last for four days, and other times it may be a whole week. It can start off heavy and then become lighter, or it can start light and become heavier. All of these variations are normal.
Although your cycle is unique to you. It may not always be the same length or have the same flow, but that’s okay. By understanding your cycle, you can take better care of yourself and know how your body is directly communicating with you for your own benefit.
What a Normal Period Looks Like
We all know having a period is a normal part of being a girl or a woman, but that doesn’t mean it has to be super painful or uncomfortable. Your mom or friends might have told you that periods can sometimes be painful and uncomfortable, but it’s important to know what a normal period looks like.
If your period puts you on bedrest for a few days or causes very painful cramps and heavy clotting, that’s not be considered normal. It could be a sign that something else is going on.
One possible reason for painful cramps and heavy clotting is a nutrient deficiency. That means your body might be missing out on important vitamins and minerals that it needs. But don’t worry! Many women have found that taking natural supplements like magnesium, chamomile, and evening primrose can help ease period pains and make them more manageable.
Another thing to consider is hormonal disorders. These are conditions that affect the balance of hormones in your body. Some examples are polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, and fibroids. These conditions can cause irregular periods, intense pain, and other symptoms. If you’re experiencing really difficult periods, it might be a good idea to talk to a doctor who can help figure out if there’s a hormonal disorder involved.
Never underestimate the Impact Vitamins and Nutrients Have on Your Circle
You know that what you eat can affect how you feel, right? Well, it can also have an impact on your cycle. If you eat a lot of fast food, processed foods, and sugary treats, and don’t have a balanced diet, you might not feel your best. And guess what? Your cycles can be affected too.
That’s why it’s super important to eat foods that give you the vitamins and nutrients your body needs. These special substances support your cycle and make it work better. They help keep you healthy and can even lessen those bothersome symptoms before and during your period.
What kind of foods should you eat?
You can start by eating protein-rich foods like lean meats, eggs, and beans. They help your body grow and stay strong. You should also try to limit foods with lots of carbs, like sugary snacks and drinks, because they can make you feel tired and sluggish.
Healthy fats are important too. You can find them in foods like avocados, nuts, and olive oil. They help keep your body happy. And remember, it’s a good idea to limit alcohol and salty foods because they can make you feel bloated and uncomfortable.
Some super nutrients like Omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, iron, and calcium are all important for your body. You can find omega-3 fatty acids in fish like salmon, and they help with brain power and mood. Magnesium is found in foods like spinach and bananas, and it can help relax your muscles. Iron is in foods like spinach and lean meats, and it gives you energy. Calcium is in dairy products like milk and yogurt, and it makes your bones strong.
By eating a well-balanced diet, you give your body a boost. It helps your cycle stay balanced and can reduce those annoying symptoms.
Learn How to Make Your Cervical Discharge Work For You
Our cervical mucus might seem a little bothersome sometimes, but it’s actually really helpful, it’s how we know for sure our reproductive system is in good shape, and help us know when it’s the right time for important decisions.
After our period, there’s a time when we don’t have much cervical mucus. It can be a bit dry. And then, the mucus starts to change. It becomes white and creamy, kind of like lotion. This tells us that we are getting closer to ovulation, which is when an egg is released.
When it’s time for ovulation, the cervical mucus becomes thin, stretchy, and clear, almost like egg whites. This is a clear sign that it’s the best time to try to make a baby if you want to have one. Isn’t that fascinating?
You can even keep track of your cervical mucus in a diary or on a calendar. By doing this, you’ll know exactly where you are in your cycle. If you want to have a baby, you’ll know the perfect time to have unprotected sex. But if you want to avoid getting pregnant, you’ll know when to be extra careful and use protection.
What Causes Premenstrual Syndrome and What it Means
Have you ever wondered why you sometimes feel cramps, headaches, mood swings, and bloating before your period? Well, it’s not just something every woman has to go through, it’s a tell tale sign that something could be wrong. It’s called premenstrual syndrome, (or PMS for short).
PMS happens because of some important things going on in your bodies. One reason is hormonal imbalance.
But it’s not just our hormones that’s capable of all the trouble. Other things like stress, not eating healthy foods with lots of nutrients, and some lifestyle factors can also make PMS worse.
The good news is that you can do things to help lessen these symptoms. You can track your diet and see if there are any changes you can make to eat healthier. It’s also a good idea to exercise in a way that matches your cycle. That means choosing activities that work well with how your body is feeling at different times of the month.
If PMS symptoms get worse, it might be time to talk to a doctor.