Do you truly know your menstrual cycle?
Many women struggle to articulate their fertility vision, feeling overwhelmed by the options and unsure of where to begin. In this episode, Carolina alongside Amy Murray — a Fertility Coach and educator, Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner, and mother of two, will help us relearn the basics of cycle, ovulation, and charting our menstrual cycle, empowering us to make informed decisions about their reproductive health.
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Podcast Episode Transcript
Hi everyone. Welcome back to the Make A Baby Podcast. I’m Carolina. So it’s why you’re your podcast host. And before we dive in today, I want to say that the topic we’re going to talk about is something every woman, or any person that is menstruating or has a cycle needs to hear. This is a topic that we can never have enough education on. And the person we’re speaking to is Amy Murray. And I am so excited for you to connect with her because she is a fellow Midwestern, and we just love her here. So what we’re talking about is how does your menstrual cycle work in let me tell you, it’s not just when you believe because at one point in time, it wasn’t that long ago, probably a year ago. I thought it was. So it was sadly mistaken. As I started this podcast, I discovered how little I knew. And how little did those around me know how our hormones and our cycles worked in our body. So in this day, and age is so important for you to know more about your body and how it works. So you can make more informed decisions. So today, we are talking about how does the menstrual cycle work with Amy Murray. Amy, thank you so much for being here. Before we get started, I love this fitness. My favorite question I asked every guest, where are you in the world?
First of all, thank you for such a lovely intro. And that is like I couldn’t agree more with everything that you have said I am in Missouri in a small town in the middle of nowhere. So scooters,
scooters. So for anyone who is like, what is scooters, this cup that I’m holding is there’s a small regional chain called scooters, coffee. And it has a cult-like following. I’m in Nebraska. So Amy and I are giggling because our seats touch each other. And I have to drive through Missouri to get anywhere south. And I you know, if you got scooters, you’re going to have a good day and I drink scooters every day. A shameless plug. They don’t pay me, but they should. It is one of the finer things in my life. So I’m super excited. Okay, I am caffeinated and I need to know you’re gonna spill the tea. How does menstrual cycles work?
I love that and like you. So let’s just start with what you said earlier that it’s so common. I hear this all the time. If I asked about like, you know, how long is your cycle? Like if somebody comes to me like with a problem? Well, how long is your cycle? And they say five days? I’m like no, like, like, the whole thing? Well, like five days, like I believe five days? Yeah. So when, like in like the culture we use menstrual cycle interchangeably with like your menstruation, like your phase of like bleeding. And so public service announcement, your menstrual cycle, like your overall cycle is from the first day of your period to the day before your next period. So in a healthy menstrual cycle, maybe we should take a minute to talk about like what does a healthy menstrual cycle look like in those two. So a healthy menstrual cycle in overall length is between about 26 to 35 days are like 24 to 35 days. And that is important because I talk to women all the time who are like my cycles are so regular. Sometimes they’re 28 days, and sometimes they’re 29 days, and then they’re 27 days, and they’re never 28 days, they’re never regular. So this is your peace of mind your cycles. You are not a robot just because a man and a white coat decided that a menstrual cycle should be 28 days, doesn’t mean you’re a robot and doesn’t mean your cycle needs to be 28 days. So anywhere between 24 and 35 days is considered normal and overall length. But then through the work I do I teach women to chart their menstrual cycles, like in a very detailed way. So we look at more parameters than just your days of bleeding. You’re like what is your period look like color, whatever. Not just what does your overall length look like but also your menstrual cycle is divided, which is the segue into the meat and potatoes of our episode is divided into a pre-ambulatory and a post-ovulatory phase. So ovulation is like the main event in your cycle, even though it’s like menstruation is like more noticeable more like visible like that’s it’s just more obvious. So that’s what we say like the start of the cycle is the first day of bleeding but really like the main event like the main purpose of your cycle is ovulation because that’s what your body is like trying to like, you know, like from the biological side of it is trying to reproduce. Do you have any comments on that? So I
I’m taking it all in because to be honest, like I have never really charted. I when I was trying to have a baby I literally knew nothing other than just to have sex. Thanks. And I thought you could get pregnant anytime you had sex. Like I literally thought that no one told me anything different. And I bet you, my mom couldn’t even tell you that differently now. And she’s almost 70. So I think that I’m just soaking it all. Like, okay, I’m currently on my period. So this podcast is very raw, like, I’m currently on my period. So I’m just like, Okay, I’m also very skeptical to, I do want to chart actually. So I’m just like, absorbing all the things about my cycle. But I don’t want to do it in an app because of, you know, recent events and current news of like, they could sell the data or whatever. So I’m actually looking at, you know, we’re gonna do a subsequent episode episode on how to chart. So we’ll dive into that soon. I’m super excited to record that because I want to do it on paper, or maybe an Excel spreadsheet or something like that. I have more control over
can I put a shameless plug in there, too? You have something that
you can give us or by
as far as data so like, it’s like I’m not like affiliated, like, they don’t pay me money, but they should.
Like scooters for me. Yeah,
exactly. So the reader body app is total data privacy. So it gives you like, you it gives you the option to create like Cloud backups and things that are encrypted and blah, blah, they can sell your, your data. But you don’t have to, you can have the data just on your phone, like and create like regular backups, like as a file on your phone. Nothing like goes to anybody
yelling in the notes. And we will
Yeah, for my clients, and they can get three free months of trial. But you can also get like a 30-day like trial when you just sign up regularly. I love paper, I have used paper charts and love paper Charles I have like all template that, you know, I made for myself, really and now share it with my clients. So but yeah, maybe more on that in the next episode.
Perfect. So how do you So you mentioned there’s pre ovulation and post ovulation. And then ovulation is not the most obvious but during ovulation is there in there’s different hormones for every segment of your cycle? Correct? Yes. So with ovulation that’s from what I understand. That’s like your feel-good week, like it’s your goddess week that you’re feeling like I’m some hot shit today. Goddess energy?
Yes, absolutely. So if we like if we talk about like, what happens chronologically, so you’re on your period right now. So that’s like the first phase, the menstrual phase, you can liken it to like your internal winter you where you feel more withdrawn, you want to binge watch NetFlix, and you know, like, you’re not like it is common to have like PMS, period cramps, things like that, but it’s definitely not normal. So if you have anything like that, that’s definitely something that we could work on. But then after your period stops, and it should just stop and not like endless spotting for days. So like it should start off like you know, medium heavy, like, you know, and then tapering, tapering off to light and then stop without any brown spotting. So then you would move into what we call pre-ambulatory dry days. So dry days are where you don’t observe any cervical mucus and I can do a little demo for people who are watching your own video. So cervical mucus can look like stretchy, clear raw egg whites or it can look something like creamy white hand lotion, something like this. And so all that a cervical mucus so like after several preovulatory dry days you move into your cervical mucus phase. And so like this pre-ambulatory phase like after menstruation ends and before ovulation, that is your your internal spring like where you know like the hours are blooming and you’re starting to like gut feelings and things and then our yes and then right around ovulation which is where you will observe like the clear structure you loop like this is loop for my demonstration purposes. So the days where you observe this like clear, stretchy, slippery mucus that leads into ovulation. That is your internal summer where you feel like I’m so sexy and like you know that you might notice like your desire like picks up and things like that. PSA, you’re only fertile for a total of six days and your cycle so back your to your saying you thought you could get pregnant every day of your cycle. It’s it’s the five days leading up to ovulation and ovulation day itself. And it’s the cervical mucus that will tell you when ovulate is getting close. So not an app, not any kind of predictions that you know your app like you’re telling you it’s check your fluids. Yeah. And so then like after ovulation, we move into the internal fall. So that’s the post ambulatory phase that’s like, you know, we’re like mood is maybe a little bit lower, not to the point that it impacts your life. So if you’re like, depressed as soon as you ovulate, and you’re having PMS symptoms for, you know, a week to two weeks, like that’s, that’s an issue, so, but it’s like a subtle shift, like, Okay, I’m heading into, you know, fall and winter. And then your while your pre-ovulatory phase can vary mostly in length and things like stress illness, you know, whatever affects your pre-ovulatory phase the most, whereas your post-ovulatory phase from ovulation to the day before your next period is more stable. And that is also such a crucial period when you’re trying to conceive because in your post-ovulatory phase, which I hope we’ll get to, you make a hormone called progesterone and progesterone is the pro-gestation hormone. So it is literally what supports your pregnancy. And like,
that’s the hormone that keeps baby sticking.
Yes, exactly. And obviously, you know, miscarriages are very, very sad. And I’ve had a miscarriage too. And thanks. Like I said, there are so many different reasons for it. And like, in my case, I do believe it was like a chromosomal anomaly because it was like very, very early. And like the body, yeah, like it just happens for for different reasons. But um, it is, yeah, it is not uncommon for a low progesterone to be a contributing, contributing factor in that. So yeah, there are. Yeah, that’s why it’s, it’s so sad. But yeah, so did you have any questions about that? Or do you want to kind of move on to like, hormonally? What’s
going on about the hormones and every cycle? So like, I think that’s super important to like, what is because a lot of women are like, there’s something wrong with my hormones, or how do I know what’s wrong with my hormones, which hormones matter? Mm hmm. So I think that’s, that’s a whole bucket. I know. But like, so like, what hormone is in each phase? So let’s go there.
Yes. So there are three cyclical events happening at the same time. So it’s like a synergy like a concert, everything kind of happens, you know, together. So there is the events happen happening in the ovaries, which is the ovarian cycle. The female hormone cycle, which the hormones are being put out by the ovaries, and then also how those hormones affect your endometrium. So like the endometrium is what you would bleed out during your period. So, the like in the ovarian cycle, there are like on cycle day one, like you’re on your period, there are a handful of primordial follicles that means like immature follicles with immature eggs that are being like recruited each month. And so if you’re, if you’ve been in the fertility space for a long time, you might know more about that as well. And then the brain sends a phallic sense of hormone called follicle-stimulating hormone to the ovary. So this is where I want to like have my graphic and I points you know, with my cursor and everything, but so this is just like a visual in your head. So the brain sends follicle-stimulating hormone to the ovaries does what the name says it’s going to do it stimulates the follicles to grow around each of these like immature egg cells. One of these follicles that contains an immature egg is chosen to reach full maturity. And that is the going to be the follicle that puts out the most estrogen so these growing follicles put out estrogen. And this is also estrogen as the most dominant hormone in the pre-ovulatory phase. So like, in the first half of your cycle, you make a lot of estrogen. Estrogen has several important functions it stimulates so it’s, it’s like a growth-stimulating hormone. So it stimulates the endometrial lining to grow. And if you’ve been like, you know, in the fertility space for a longer time, you might or even like, click AR t like the artificial reproductive assistants, you might know that you need a certain thickness of your endometrium in order for a fertilized egg to implant and so that’s estrogens roll. If you don’t have enough estrogen, your endometrial lining might not even be thick enough for implantation to happen. And estrogen also stimulates your cervix to produce cervical mucus. That’s the clear stretchy or the creamy hand lotion, the stuff that I was showing and that is really important because that is the only time that At the cervical mucus allows sperm to survive in your reproductive tract for up to five days. And that is that is crucial because you know ovulation happens on one day, and cervical mucus keeps the sperm alive for up to the five days prior to ovulation. So you don’t want to have even though ovulation date itself is considered fertile as well. You want to be having intercourse the five days prior to ovulation so that the sperm are there ready waiting for the queen to make her entrance into the fallopian tube. And then when asked so like these follicles are like growing, there’s like this really big follicle in the ovary and estrogen levels are really high that signals to the brain to send out luteinizing hormone. That’s the LH surge. And that’s what if you’re doing like ovulation predictor kits, that’s what they pick up in the urine. And that is what in a healthy cycle triggers ovulation to happen 3624 to 36 hours later. So luteinizing hormone triggers ovulation. That means the egg the now mature egg is being ejected out of the ovary. It’s like a very like, yeah, it leaves a scar on the ovary like a tiny scar. It’s yeah, it’s a pretty rough process. Some people might experience ovulation pain associated with that. I’ve heard of that. Yeah. And then the egg gets released into the abdominal cavity. If you’re watching very ovary. This is the fallopian tube with like its finger like projections. So like the egg is released in the abdominal cavity. And you’re like my fingers are making like a sweeping motion to sweep the egg inside the fallopian tube. And that’s where fertilization happens. Those sperm are already hanging out there. The Queen the egg enters the fallopian tube and fertilization happens. And so as the fertilized egg divides and moves down the fallopian tube, which takes about a week, the follicle that was left behind in the ovary turns into the corpus luteum, which is Latin for a yellow body because it has the yellow appearance on like, yeah, yellow appearance. And that is what puts out progesterone. So estrogen is the dominant hormone in the pre-ambulatory phase. And progesterone is the dominant hormone in the post-ambulatory phase and progesterone is what we were talking about earlier, you only put out a significant amount of progesterone after ovulation. And this is like I could go in so many different ways with that. Like if you’re taking progesterone to help you to try and conceive, you want to make sure that you have already ovulated because if you take progesterone before you have ovulated that might actually suppress ovulation, because your body’s like what, like what’s going on? So I’ve talked about that so many times because it just Yeah,
your cycle. Yeah. So and then like the last
gold thing ever had anyone on the podcast go so technical, we’ve had doctors, but go like so deep into the detail to explain it in this manner. And we’ve talked about cycles before. We’ve talked about the four phases before but we’ve never had I mean, even had someone talking about fluid before but never in this receivable terms. Like it’s very easy to understand the way you explain it.
Things. There’s like, like the last thing basically is so if you if you are pregnant if the egg was fertilized, and you know, it makes it takes about a week for it to make its way down into the uterus and implant that takes another like couple of days. So that is why it’s so important that your luteal phase the post-ambulatory phase is like at least like 12 to 14 days. You can conceive if you have a shorter and then the next episode, we’re going to talk about how to determine how long this phase is, right. So if you have a shorter phase, you still might be able to conceive I might since we’re getting personal on this podcast. My luteal phase is around like 10 to 11 days, I have a history of contraceptive use and like I’m not a perfect human I like sugar and so like you know all those things, sugar I’m sure. Um, and so like, even though I’m not like in that ideal, you know phase in the ideal range, I was still able to conceive so that’s not like a UK and but if you like if you’re setting yourself up for success, and you have that 12 to 14 day post ambulatory phase, that’s like where you know, we’d ideally like to see it and if pregnancy did not occur, if the egg wasn’t fertilized, for instance that and you know, the egg does not implant the corpus luteum disintegrates, you know, after after that time, so like ideally 1212 to 14 days, sometimes sooner. And basically that means your progesterone is declining. And so as your estrogen estrogen was very dominant in the first half, it’s still kind of like medium in the second half of the cycle. But then, if the pregnancy did not occur, then both hormones decline. And if they decline too rapidly or there’s not enough progesterone, that’s what gives you like your PMS symptoms. Like your period, cramps are irritability, depression, mood swings, cravings. And that basically leads into menstruation. So like menstruation is like the end product of like, you know, ovulation and the egg wasn’t fertilized you, you know. And that’s why menstruation happens. So, even though like we say it’s like cycle day one, it’s really like the end product of you know, like you ovulated and now you have your period.
This is super powerful. Can you tell us how women can find you on social media and how they can work with you?
Thanks. I’m on Facebook and Instagram at Amy Jo Vida. MRA. and my website is also Amy Javeed mra.com. And yeah, thank you so much. I’m
So excited for our next episode, and I’m so grateful that you’ve shared all this knowledge with us. And for those who are listening know that you you’re allowed to ask questions you’re allowed to ask questions to, to me to your doctor to your medical team, and if they’re not send Amy or me a DM after you listen to this episode and let us know if you have questions. Let us know what you think of this episode. You can reach me at the Carolina Sotomayor dock on Instagram and Tiktok at the Carolinas go to my Your and my website is Carolina suitable your.com We are so grateful that you’ve taken the time to listen and until next time, let Reiki flow