How Your Menstrual Cycle Affects Your Chance of Pregnancy
Updated Sep 16, 2022 | By: Premom Team
Did you know your uterine lining is important to your fertility?
The lining of the uterus thickens and then thins over a menstrual cycle. In a typical menstrual cycle, estrogen made by the maturing ovarian follicle causes the uterine lining to thicken by about 5mm, leading up to the first day of menstruation.
During menstruation, hormone changes cause the uterine lining to shed from the wall of uterus and cause menstrual bleeding. The thickness of the uterine lining will decrease due to the shedding, and the menstrual bleeding will continue until clotting factors and hormone changes stop the bleeding and restart building up the uterine lining again. Your menstrual cycle is this growing and shedding of the uterus lining.
Thus, the length and heaviness of your period are correlated with the thickness of uterine lining formed in the early phase of your menstrual cycle. The thicker your uterine lining is, the more uterine lining shedding that occurs during your period, and the heavier and longer your menstrual bleeding will be.
What does this mean for you and your pregnancy?
The thickness of uterine lining is important to a woman’s fertility. To use the common metaphor of growing a garden; the soil must be sufficiently nourished for the seed to have success once it is planted. If you have a fairly light period that only lasts 3-4 days, it could be a sign that your uterine lining is not thick enough, which may limit the chances of getting pregnant. This is why during an IVF or IUI, a woman will be given different medications that will either directly or indirectly increase the thickness of uterine lining.
The optimal thickness of the uterine lining is between 10 and 15 mm with it reaching its maximum thickness at the time of implantation at around day 21 of a woman’s menstrual cycle. The growth of the uterine lining is dependent upon the quality of blood flow to the uterus as well as the effect of estrogen in improving uterine lining thickness.
How can you increase your chances of getting pregnant?
The treatment for women with a thin uterine lining is to increase blood flow to female reproductive organs, increase receptivity of the uterus to estrogen and to balance hormones. There are a variety of ways to help this.
1. Get enough rest
You need a minimum of 7 hours of restful, uninterrupted sleep to recharge your body and allow for optimal repair and growth to take place. Try to get to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Your sleep and wake hormones influence your reproductive hormones so keep them balanced and your uterus will get the right message.
2. Exercise to increase blood flow.
Strive for 30 minutes per day of exercise that incorporates movement of the legs and hips such as yoga, walking, running, cycling, swimming, elliptical, or aerobics. If you are not used to doing exercise, then take it slow. Build up to a comfortable routine that elicits a light sweat to improve blood circulation to your hands and feet.
3. Massage the femoral artery.
This is done daily in the first half of a woman’s menstrual cycle to increase the blood flow to the uterus and female reproductive organs.
4. Reduce stress
It is recommended that women take time each day to relax, breathe and calm their mind. This can be done with yin style yoga, meditation, guided relaxation and prayer.
5. Improve your diet.
It is recommended to focus on a primarily whole food, high fiber diet and low glycemic foods. Eat at regular intervals throughout the day and stick to a routine. This helps to balance your insulin and cortisol hormones which have an indirect effect to balance reproductive hormones. Include more broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, rapeseed, and root vegetables, such as turnips and rutabagas. These foods help the liver detoxify and restore hormonal balance.
Eliminate high fructose corn syrup, which can negatively affect the communication of reproductive hormones. Reduce or eliminate coffee and other forms of stimulants. Avoid animal meats, cheeses, milks. Choose organic, free range, grass fed animals whenever possible.
6. Take Co-enzyme Q10.
This is commonly recommended for women and men while they are trying to conceive and to improve the micro-circulation of the heart. CoQ10 assists in reducing oxidative stress to tissues. Since the uterus is reliant on the nourishment of blood flow and undergoes growth and shedding at regular intervals, the use of CoQ10 can benefit the integrity of the tissue and improve blood circulation.