(If you missed part 1 – menstruation – check it out here)
The follicular phase is so called because it’s when your follicles (the sacs that contain your eggs) begin to grow in time for ovulation.
This is the part of my cycle when I feel most comfortable right now. It’s how we are conditioned to expect to feel all the time. Productive and social. It’s when your energy is beginning to increase and you feel like spending time with friends and family. You can get super focused at work and you feel like you can achieve it all.
What’s going on with your hormones?
In a “normal” 28 day cycle your follicular phase lasts roughly from day 4 (when your period finishes) to day 13 (the day before ovulation). Two key hormones oestrogen and follicle stimulating hormones (FSH) are rising, which makes you feel on it.
How should it be?
Everyone is different which is why it’s super useful to track your own cycle so that you can work out when your follicular phase is and how you feel on each day of your cycle.
Typically during this phase your mood and energy should be pretty high. Your fertile window is also during this time and if all your hormones are balanced, your libido should be quite high.
To work out your own fertile window, track your cycle for a few months (Grab your quick start guide to tracking your cycle here) to work out what day of your cycle you typically ovulate.
Your fertile window is 4 days before ovulation, the day you ovulate and the day after (6 days in total).
You don’t need to have sex everyday in this window, every 2-3 days is great as it gives your partners sperm time to regenerate. Sperm can last up to 5 days in your uterus so there is no need to worry too much about timings.
In PCOS the follicular phase is the phase that will vary the most in your cycle (the other 3 parts normally stay roughly the same) so this will be the trickiest to track. Don’t let that put you off though. Get to know your body and start to recognise the signs of ovulation so that you can support your body in this phase.
Making positive changes
This time of the month is a great time for doing more energetic exercise such as running, spending time at the gym, cycling and pushing yourself a little bit.
Note – You should avoid pushing your body too hard during exercise when you are trying to get pregnant. Excessive exercise can put undue stress on your body (it doesn’t know the difference between going crazy at the gym and being chased by a tiger) which causes your body to divert all its resources away from unessential functions such as reproduction and digestion.
Sleep Whilst you feel like you can take on the world, get to work early, stay super focused, leave late then go out and catch up with your friends, that doesn’t mean you *should* do it all. Prioritise what is important for you and don’t say yes to everything because you can.
Keep strict boundaries around your work times and your sleep times.
Sleep is an essential part of a healthy and fertile body. Guard your 8 hours sleep like your life depends on it! Ideally you want to keep the same 8 hours each night (eg 10pm – 6am) and have 30 minute wind down before bed. Use this time to turn off ALL electricals (phone, TV, laptop), read a good book, journal, meditate, take a bath, whatever helps your mind relax before bed. (You can find more sleep tips here)
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