Birth Control

Basic Body Literacy • Lara Briden

Some basic body knowledge:

A proper period or menstrual bleeding is a bleeding at the end of the natural ovulatory cycle. Any other type of bleeding is either a the pill bleeds (a withdrawal bleed from stopping contraceptive drugs) or a anovulatory cycle (a bleeding when there is no ovulation).

Therefore, the menstrual cycle is an “ovulatory cycle,” in which ovulation is the main event.

What else do you need to know?

⭕ Ovulation comes first, and then a period almost exactly two weeks later.

⭕ You can confirm ovulation by monitoring basal body temperatures.

⭕ If you don’t ovulate but still bleed, it’s an anovulatory cycle.

⭕ If you are not bleeding, you are not ovulating or you are pregnant.

⭕ It is (usually) not possible to ovulate but then not get a period or get pregnant. (Except in the case of a hormonal IUD, hysterectomy, or ablation.)

⭕ When you remove the pill, you can get pregnant without seeing bleeding because ovulation comes first and then bleeding. That is why you need to take some action to prevent pregnancy (barrier or withdrawal method) even before you return to your period.

⭕ Bleeding with progestin-only methods is usually anovulatory. Except for the hormonal IUD, in which case, your cycles may be ovulatory, even if you’re not bleeding.

Did I miss something? Add it in the comments.

Menstrual cycle with progesterone on the scale.

Further reading:

Dr. Lara Briden

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