5 fertility facts you didn’t learn in health class
For many women trying to conceive, there’s a pretty steep learning curve when it comes to your hormones and fertility.
It’s no secret that most of our sex-ed curricula was woefully incomplete and lacking in useful information.
If your sex ed class was anything like mine, you probably learned:
- Women get periods.
- Sex makes babies.
- If you have unprotected sex, you WILL get pregnant.
Sound about right?
The truth is, our reproductive systems are far more complex (and amazing!) than we’ve been taught. And ladies–in my view–the more we know about our bodies, the more we respect them. Because they do some pretty awesome things, and understanding those processes can give us a newfound sense of empowerment around our own health.
So here are some things you likely didn’t learn in 8th grade health class (but probably should have!)
1. You will feel different throughout the month.
Your hormones move through a beautifully synchronized dance each month, with estrogen rising in the first half of your cycle, and then progesterone taking over in the second half.
This means that yes, you FEEL DIFFERENT at different times during the month. And this isn’t a bad thing.
What makes it a bad thing is not understanding this hormonal dance and trying to force yourself to feel the same each and every day. Embracing this dynamic monthly pattern can be so freeing!
2. You can only get pregnant a couple days a month.
Contrary to the “sex=babies” equation you were probably taught, you’re not able to conceive every day of the month. And for some women this comes as a surprise when they first start trying to get pregnant!
When you ovulate toward the middle of your cycle by releasing an egg, this egg has about a 24-48 hour window to get fertilized. This is the only time during the month you can get pregnant. Yep, it’s not every day.
The caveat is that sperm CAN live in your body up to 5 days, so having sex a few days before ovulation can result in pregnancy (depending on sperm health and cervical fluid–see #3). Still it’s a pretty small window,
3. The stuff in your undies has a purpose.
Let’s talk about how that sperm stays alive in your body: cervical fluid. Yes, ladies, that stuff in your undies actually serves a purpose.
Besides serving as a lubricant to make sex more enjoyable, it also helps carry the sperm up to the egg and keep it alive. That’s why you might notice extra cervical fluid around ovulation during the middle of your cycle. It’s good stuff, and you need it to help the sperm meet the egg.
4. You don’t have to suffer during your period.
I know so many women (myself included) who have had painful cramps, PMS, irritability, heavy periods, irregular periods, headaches and other symptoms related to their periods. A lot of times we chalk it up to “being a girl.”
But here’s the thing: these symptoms are usually a result of hormone imbalances–and they are fixable. You don’t have to suffer.
This is definitely not something I was ever taught and I spent a solid decade of my life dealing with painful cramps every month, so it’s my mission to tell you–YOU DON’T HAVE TO! (Need help figuring out what’s going on? Book a session with me and we’ll sort it out.)
5. Birth control doesn’t “regulate” your cycle.
I know–this is a common myth. But birth control actually shuts down your cycle. The bleed you have on birth control is a breakthrough bleed, not a period.
Hormonal birth control overrides your body’s hormonal dance, and shuts the whole system down.
That’s why taking birth control to “regulate your cycle” is kind of BS. You’re not regulating anything, you’re turning it off. That might offer relief from undesirable symptoms, but guess what? If there was an imbalance before, it didn’t just go away because you shut things down for years (or decades!). That imbalance is probably still there.
And this is why so many of my clients go off birth control and have many of the same problems they did as teens–but worse! If your cycle is in need of “regulating” it means there’s an imbalance somewhere, and getting to the root cause is the only thing that’s going to solve the problem. Birth control is like a band-aid, but it’s not going to fix things. And we definitely want to sort those imbalances out so you can conceive with more ease.
Which of those things didn’t you learn in 8th grade health class? I certainly didn’t know any of these things, and I’m honestly kind of mad about it.
I could have saved years of discomfort and developed a respect for my body that I think most teenage girls could benefit from.
After all, it’s empowering to know that our female bodies can do amazing things! That’s not a message we receive a lot as girls or women, and I think we could all have a little more respect and love for our bodies.
Do your hormones need support? Let’s talk through what’s going on and I’ll offer you actual steps and advice to shift any imbalances you’ve been dealing with. Book here.
Here’s to healthy, balanced hormones!
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Hi! I'm Kate.
Fertility coach, period pro, hormone healer, soul sister. Helping you transform your mind + body. Read my story here
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