If you've ever compared notes with a girlfriend, you've likely found that your periods are as different as your wardrobes. Clotting, cramping, heavy bleeding, light bleeding…women’s menstrual cycles run the gamut of experience.
All those differences are no big deal and are completely normal, right? Wrong. Paying attention to what happens during that time of the month can actually tell you a lot about the quality of the uterine lining itself and therefore, your fertility. Let’s take a look:
Is your period on the lighter side of things? Perhaps others have called you “lucky,” but scanty bleeding tells us that the uterine lining isn't as thick or lush as we need it to be in order to get pregnant.
Implantation, at its essence, is the embryo’s way of establishing a blood supply in the uterus so that it can be nourished and grow. In order to do this, a thick, well-vascularized uterine lining is needed. When the lining is too thin or there’s just not enough blood, the resources your embryo needs to implant and flourish are missing.
If you only bleed for a day or two, or your bleeding is very light, that is a good indication that the uterine lining is insufficient.
You've probably been told at some point that clotting is totally normal, but that’s just not the case. The problem with clotting is that it doesn't just show up when bleeding starts.
The clots you see in your menstrual blood have actually been forming in your uterine lining well ahead of the start of your period. That’s why they can seem dark from time to time, too.
So what’s the problem? Implantation depends on establishing a healthy, thriving blood supply. But the whole job of a clot is to stop the flow of blood! A clotted uterine lining is one that is stale and stagnant. It doesn't have the fresh surface it needs to allow implantation to succeed at a high rate.
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As you may know, that painful cramping you feel around the time of your period is actually your uterine wall in spasm. Stale, stagnant blood doesn't want to move and that’s why the muscle in the uterine wall creates those dreaded cramps—to shake the blood loose.
Again, we need a healthy, fresh lining each cycle to promote implantation. If you experience lots of cramping (or clotting), it’s a sign that this isn't happening. Severe cramping—also called dysmenorrhea—isn't just a drag, its counter-productive for conception.
Now that you know you need a good supply of fresh blood to promote implantation, you’re probably wondering what’s so bad about heavy periods. The more blood, the better, right? But heavy bleeding can indicate a totally different problem.
Ever feel totally fatigued and just worn out by the time your period is over? When you lose a lot of blood during your period, you lose the resources that your body has worked so hard to build over time. Excessive bleeding every month can really deplete the body gradually, zapping the resources it needs to do its other jobs—muscle repair, brain function, dealing with daily environmental stressors, and other major things like making a brand new person!
What you can do
During your next period, stop and consider what your body might be telling you about your uterine lining. As you can see, what’s going on with your period is important for your fertility—not just something gross to flush and forget.
It is possible to change the quality and quantity of your uterine lining. Decreasing inflammation in the body can help with clotting and cramping, while increasing the amount of nourishing foods you consume will help ensure that your body has the resources it needs to produce a healthy lining.
To learn more about how your cycle can affect your chances of conceiving, and to learn how our program can help you realize your best chance of getting pregnant, find out more about the Conceivable Program.