Calculate Your Menstrual Cycle Length (Episode 3)

Dr. Tash, leading fertility expert explains how you can work out your menstrual cycle length to help you get pregnant. It is a fact that most women do not know how long their menstrual cycle lasts. It is important to keep track of your cycles.

In this episode you will learn the following:

Some women have a monthly cycle, whilst for other women their cycle spans over two of even more months. Learn how to calculate your average cycle length so that you can use it to estimate when your next period is due and when you are due to ovulate which can help you plan when to try and conceive. If you are trying to get pregnant, this episode of the "How To Get Pregnant" series will help you learn the following:
  • How to calculate your cycle lengths and work out your average cycle length.
  • The phases that the endometrium and ovary go through during each cycle.
  • The Luteal phase and why it's important.
  • Ovulation and when it occurs during your cycle.
  • How to keep a record of your cycles.
  • How measuring your basal body temperature (BBT) can help you learn when you ovulated.
  • How to maximize your chances of falling pregnant.

About this Series

Dr Tash, leading fertility & pregnancy expert explains how to get pregnant. 1 in 6 couples struggle with getting pregnant after 12 months, this series digs deep in to how you can get pregnant naturally. Sperm and egg must meet within a small 12-24 hour window within the menstrual cycle. You will learn how you can maximize your chances of conceiving and increase your chances of getting pregnant faster.

Ovulation Calculator has produced this video series with leading fertility expert, Dr Natasha Andreadis (Dr Tash).

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Video Transcript

I'm Dr. Tash. Today we're going to be talking about how you work out your menstrual cycle length. The reason you want to know your menstrual cycle length is so that you know when you're ovulating. If you know when you're ovulating, you know when to have sex, and that means you're going to maximize the chances of you falling pregnant.

The menstrual cycle is a series of phases that the endometrium and the ovary go through. Essentially the ovary releases an egg after having gone through those steps, and the endometrium, the lining of the uterus has prepared itself to receive a fertilized egg. Part of the menstrual cycle is the luteal phase. That's the third phase of the ovarian cycle. During this phase, you've got something called the corpus luteum which is in your ovary, and it's pumping out a really important hormone called progesterone. And what progesterone does is it nourishes the endometrium, the lining of the uterus, as well as nourishing the embryo. It's really important to have a good corpus luteum, because without a good corpus luteum you're not getting enough progesterone and without that pregnancy is unlikely to be successful.

If you're serious about getting pregnant, you will need to know when you're ovulating. Ovulation occurs a couple of days before the luteal phase. So that really means you should be having sex in the days leading up to ovulation and on the day of ovulation.

I recommend you keep a clear diary of your menstrual cycle length, and that way over a few months, say 6 to 12, you can work out your average cycle length. Every woman is different. Now that you know your cycle length, you'll be able to figure out your luteal phase. And the way you can do that is by measuring your basal body temperature.

Basal body temperature is your body's lowest core temperature usually recorded in the morning after you've been asleep. Once you've measured your basal body temperature, over time you'll be able to see a pattern. And what happens is your temperature should rise after you've ovulated. And that temperature rise occurs in the luteal phase. That phase starts about two days after you've ovulated. It helps to know your basal body temperature, because it'll tell you when you're going to ovulate. It'll help you plan when to have sex, and to maximize your chances of falling pregnant.

Got a question or a comment?

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  1. Lola Jul 28, 2016
    This month I experienced a menstrual cycle of 40 days, could that be a miscarriage or what could be the cause of it?
    1. Sarah (OC Team): Hi Lola, the cycle length can change from cycle to cycle, it's normally the follicular phase (the phase before ovulation) which varies. Please read this: - (Jul 28, 2016)
  2. Anna Aug 04, 2016
    Hi, On 7/3 I saw a little blood, and then it was the same on the 4-5th. The fifth was the last day of this. My period is supposed to have come on 7/17-7/22. My breasts have been hurting. I've been sleeping and a little sick. So yesterday I was waiting for my period to come. It seems to have come on on the 3rd of last month, but nothing so far. I took a test and it was negative. What should I do next?
    1. Christina (OC Team): This quiz can help you see if your symptoms match with implantation bleeding. If you don't get a normal period within the next two days or so, I'd suggest testing again. - (Aug 04, 2016)
  3. Favour Aug 15, 2016
    My monthly flow varies in length, and I am sometimes confused about how to calculate my ovulation. My cycle varies from 23-27 days. How do I become pregnant?
    1. Christina (OC Team): Try tracking your basal body temperature each month and logging the results in your OC account. This will give you an accurate view of your cycle and can tell you when you ovulated each month (to help you predict future cycles). You can also use an OPK to tell you when you are about to ovulate each month. Here is an article that explains everything you need to know about charting BBT: Good luck! - (Aug 15, 2016)
  4. Linda Aug 17, 2016
    My monthly flow varies in length, and I am sometimes confused about how to calculate my ovulation. My cycle varies from 23-28 days. The dates of my period since May 2016 were 01/5/16, 28/5/16, 23/6/16, 22/7/16, 13/8/16.

    How do I become pregnant?
    1. Christina (OC Team): Have a look at this article for some tips: And try charting your BBT to track ovulation: Good luck! - (Aug 18, 2016)
  5. Christina Sep 12, 2016
    Hi, I want to know can you get pregnant if you still had your period for 4months. My period was normal until August. I was on for 2 or 3 days, then off 9 days. I know it should be over a 20-day cycle, but I had it again on the 1st of September until the 8th of September. It was a little bit on the pad and sometime on the tissue, then I found out that my blood is low and they gave me folic acid for 4 months. I sometimes get pain my left side when I walk or go to bed. Can anyone help me?
    1. Christina (OC Team): Hi, I'm not sure I understand the question. But if you think you may be pregnant, try taking a test. Also, if you're worried about the pain, talk to your doctor. Good luck! - (Sep 12, 2016)
    2. Christina: I did the pregnancy test and it came back not pregnant. I want some advice and the pain keeps moving around the belly. - (Sep 13, 2016)
    3. Christina (OC Team): Talk to your doctor about the pain. He or she can also perform a more sensitive test. Good luck! - (Sep 13, 2016)
    4. Christina: OK, I'll try to go to the doctor. And the doctor put me on folic acid tablets for 4months. What does that mean? - (Sep 14, 2016)
    5. Christina (OC Team): Folic acid is important when you are trying to conceive and in early pregnancy. Have a look at this article to learn more - (Sep 14, 2016)
    6. Christina: But I had sex with my partner over 4months ago, and now I might be in early pregnancy. And if you love chocolate, can you go off it? - (Sep 14, 2016)
    7. Christina (OC Team): If you haven't had sex for 4 months, have been to the doctor and have not had a positive pregnancy test, it is highly unlikely that you are pregnant. - (Sep 14, 2016)
  6. Christina Sep 14, 2016
    The test has not come back yet, but I think I'll call tomorrow about the test and the pain.
  7. Rachel Oct 04, 2016
    My period length is 23 days. Which day is likely to be fertile?
    1. Christina (OC Team): Log your cycle dates into your account here and you'll get a prediction. Good luck! - (Oct 04, 2016)
  8. Barbara Oct 06, 2016
    1. Christina (OC Team): Ignore the reminder until your period comes. Then log the correct dates. - (Oct 06, 2016)
  9. Barbara Oct 07, 2016
  10. Natasha Oct 19, 2016
    Question. I had sex on the first day of my period and again one day after my period was finished. About two days after, I saw light pink in my urine. Then either the 3rd or 4th day, I had a heavy flow that lasted a few hours. Finally, three days after, I got a very faint pink. Now I am back to normal. Am I pregnant or is it to early to test?
    1. Christina (OC Team): You can test at 14dpo or the day after your missed period. Good luck! - (Oct 19, 2016)
  11. Bel Oct 21, 2016
    I had my period last on the 25th of August and I haven't seen it after that. Just yesterday, I noticed I was spotting in my urine. I usually have a funny cycle, though, and now I did a PT with the strip and it came out negative. What do you think is wrong?
    1. Christina (OC Team): It sounds like you're experiencing irregular cycles. I'd suggest talking to your doctor. - (Oct 22, 2016)
  12. Pearl Oct 29, 2016
    Do you calculate the first brownish color you see before the blood starts itself as day 1 of your menses? And also the last tiny brownish color after your blood as the last day of your menses? Or you wait to start counting when you first see blood and when the blood last stops?
    1. Christina (OC Team): Log the first day of full blood and the last day of any blood. - (Oct 29, 2016)
  13. Bel Nov 10, 2016
    Good day, I am currently using a gyno in vitro drug to clear moderate candida and it's the second day when I discovered i am bleeding. Should I discontinue the use of the drug?
    1. Christina (OC Team): This is a good question for your doctor. - (Nov 10, 2016)
  14. Lilly Nov 14, 2016
    My cycle varies from 25 to 28 days. Is it something to worry about because someone said I should see a doc. I want to get pregnant as soon as possible. How do i know when I ovulate? is there any drug I can use to get pregnant faster? Can I use clomid?
    1. Christina (OC Team): These sound like good questions for your doctor. Good luck! - (Nov 14, 2016)
  15. Tiffany Nov 26, 2016
    Hello, I came across this site and was searching through everything about my menstrual cycle. I'm a little concerned. I tried setting an appointment with my doctor but she's out of town for 2 weeks. My question was: "I had my lmp 10/27-11/2. I had unprotected sex on Nov 9th and Mid-morning on the 10th. I was due for my menstrual cycle on the 24th, but I noticed brown discharge the day before my actual menstrual period. It's been 3 days that I noticed light brown discharge, but I don't have anything on my panty liners. I took a hpt 3 days before and it was negative. I'm getting abdominal cramping, but I'm not sure what's going on with my cycle. Could this be implantation? I am trying to conceive.
  16. Kendra Dec 18, 2016
    Hi, my period usually comes between the 23rd and 24th of each month, but this month, it's five days early. What's going on?
  17. Toya Jan 17, 2017
    Need help. I started bleeding lightly on the 14th with cramps. My period is not due til the 18th. I took a test on the 17th and it came back negative. The bleeding stopped on the 16th. IDK what's going on, but I need help. I want a third child but never went through this.

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