Since our cycle is always changing, it can be hard to figure out what phase you are in unless you have your cycle tracking app in front of your face. And let’s be real, when you’re in the moment you don’t necessarily want to hop up and grab your chart, am I right? But there are simple ways to figure out where you’re at in your cycle, without needing to check your chart. Read on to learn 5 questions you can ask yourself to figure out what phase of your cycle you are in!
What are the phases of our cycle?
Real quick, let’s review the phases of our menstrual cycle and the order that they occur in, starting with day 1.
- Menstrual phase – starts on day 1 of your period and ends when bleeding stops. You are technically not fertile during the days of your period, although you should look out for cervical mucus (CM) on your light days if you’re an early ovulator.
- Follicular phase – begins after your period and goes up until ovulation. This is when your egg is maturing and getting ready for ovulation. CM will be present the days before ovulation occur, usually the 3-5 days at the end of the follicular phase.
- Ovulatory phase – marks the second half of your cycle and involves the 12-24 hour journey of an egg from the ovary towards the uterus via the fallopian tubes. Peak CM (eggwhite, watery, slippery, stretchy) will be noticeable during ovulation.
- Luteal phase – the days after ovulation before your period. Generally characterized by dry days (no CM) and lasts 10-16 days.
Remember that every one’s cycle is different, and the length of every phase can vary between cycles. If you aren’t sure about the days of your cycle and want to learn how to chart, keep your eyes peeled for my new Chart Syncing Workshop coming soon!
5 Questions to ask yourself to figure out what phase of your cycle you're in :
What was my basal body temperature (BBT) this morning?
Your basal body temperature (BBT) will change throughout your cycle. Temperatures in the follicular phase usually range from 96.8-97.4F. You may see a drop in temperature on the day of ovulation, usually around 96.8-97.0F. Following ovulation, your temperature will begin to rise and remain elevated throughout the luteal phase, usually around 97.6-98.2F.
Menstrual + Follicular = 96.8-97.4F
Ovulation = 96.8-97.2F
Luteal = 97.6-98.2F
2. Have I seen any CM recently?
Rule of thumb : if you see CM, consider yourself fertile. Sperm can remain alive and healthy in CM for up to 3 days, so if you see cervical mucus and are avoiding pregnancy, consider using a barrier or other method if you plan to be having sex around then. If you are trying to get pregnant? Hop on it, woman!
In a healthy menstrual cycle your cervical discharge may look as follows :
Early follicular – thick, opaque, white, lotion like
Late follicular – thin, sticky, fibrous, slick
Ovulatory – slippery, egg white, wet, stretchy
Luteal – dry or lotion like
3. What’s my sex drive like?
That’s right, check yourself. With the increase in estrogen and testosterone towards the end of the follicular phase, you may be more in the mood than usual.
Your body is designed to procreate, so it’s going to do whatever it can to make it happen, like making you more inclined to get it on.
If this is the case, you may be towards the end of your follicular phase or in the heat of ovulation.
Follicular + Ovulation = increased libido
4. Where is my cervix positioned?
Finding your cervix is definitely helpful in figuring out where you are in your cycle. It changes based on hormone levels. Easy way to check is when you’re in the shower when your hands are obviously clean.
We’re looking for the height, firmness, and openness. Use the knuckle test for height – does it take 1, 2, or 3 knuckles to reach your cervix? When it comes to firmness we are looking for soft, where it feels like your lips, or firm/had like the tip of your nose. Openness is in regards to the cervix itself, can you find the open entrance, or can you not.
Combining the three can help you determine your phase and fertility.
Here is the key:
Low, firm, and closed = early follicular and luteal (aka non-fertile)
High, soft, and open = late follicular and ovulatory (aka fertile)
5. When was the first day of my last period?
Although the days of our menstrual cycle can change month to month, if you have a healthy, regular menstrual cycle, you may be able to count your way around. By guesstimating the first day of your last period, you may be able to count the days to determine what phase you are in.
I do not recommend using this to determine if you are fertile or not, but this can help you determine what phase of your cycle you are in.
For example, in a 30 day cycle, day 7 may indicate the follicular phase, day 16 may indicate ovulation, and day 24 would indicate luteal phase.
Here is a list of the approximate days of each cycle:
Menstrual (day 1) – approx 3-7 day
Follicular – approx 7-10 days
Ovulatory – approx 1 day
Luteal – approx 10-16 days
Are you having a hard time figuring out what phase you are in because your cycle isn’t always the same? Or maybe you have CM all the time and you can’t figure out if you’re ovulating?
Head over to my Work With Me page to schedule a free discovery call to see how we can get things under control!