Many women don’t understand how their body works and how to maximize fertility naturally
Whether she celebrated it or tried to ignore it, a woman’s first menstrual period signaled a transition from girl to woman. While most women understand the basics of how the menstrual cycle works, many don’t realize how important knowing those basics are for fertility and a healthy lifestyle overall.
In a study published in the Journal for Nurse Practitioners, Mary Lee Barron discusses why education is so crucial and why a woman should know how her body works. “Fertility literacy, as a part of health literacy, is important for improving reproductive health, pregnancy outcomes, and chronic disease prevention,” Barron states.
A woman can start her education by talking with her general practitioner, who can give her the basics of how the reproductive system operates. Because nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended, it’s important for women to get this information before they even think of wanting to start a family.
By educating themselves, women can start to make lifestyle choices that will not only help them get pregnant, but also help them live a healthy lifestyle overall and avoid chronic diseases in the future. A good starting point is the menstrual cycle. As Barron points out, a woman’s menstrual cycle is a noninvasive marker of reproductive and overall health.
Women should know that a menstrual cycle starts on the first day of bleeding and ends on the first day she starts bleeding again. A normal cycle ranges from 21 to 35 days with seven or fewer days of bleeding. Many lifestyle factors can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle including nutrition, stress, body mass index, exercise, smoking, caffeine and alcohol consumption and age.
Barron also suggests that along with knowing what’s normal on average, a woman should have a reliable way of tracking her periods to determine a baseline of what’s normal for her. If a cycle is abnormal for longer than three months, she should take a look at some of the lifestyle factors that can change a cycle and make changes such as quitting smoking or losing weight. If those changes don’t regulate her menstrual cycle, she should see her doctor to rule out any fertility issues.
Women used to have to rely on a good, old-fashioned calendar to track her periods. Thanks to modern technology, woman have access to online period trackers, as well as a number of cell phone apps like Kindara. Kindara aims to give users “the knowledge, support, and proper tools to understand your fertility and be in the driver’s seat of your own body.” Kindara allows users to track periods, basal body temperatures, sexual activity and cervical mucus and helps them use that data to determine their most fertile times.
Ignorance may be bliss in some instances, but when it comes to understanding how a woman’s body works, education is power. By knowing her body, a woman can help improve her chances of conception and possibly prevent future health issues.