from Christi Lehner’s teleclass: “What Your Mom Never Told
You About Your Period”
My Goal For The Teleclass
goal for this call was to start a conversation with a group of amazing
women about our monthly cycles. My goal was that this class would be
the start of a conversation that you continue with your co-workers,
your friends, your mom, daughter, and significant others. My goal was
that you would leave the call wanting to celebrate your monthly cycle
and truly respect the process, appreciate it, and use it to help you
get more in touch with your body and your health.
Questions To Ask Yourself
What was your first period like? What do you remember about the
day? What went well? What didn’t go so well? Were you embarrassed
by anything? Were you proud of anything?
Today, I invite you to start to look at your period as a celebration!
No matter how young or old you are, I'd like you to set aside some time
today to think about what would have made your first period the
best day ever. This month, when you get your period, I'd like you
to make those things happen… so you can have the best day
would that entail? A nice meal out? A long bath? A call with a great
friend? A manicure or pedicure? A walk in the woods?
We went through a detailed description of the menstrual cycle on this
call – instead of putting all the notes out on my webpage, I would
strongly encourage you to buy the book “Taking Charge of Your
Fertility” by Toni Weschler to get the best description of what
is happening in your body every month. It’s absolutely fascinating
once you start to learn all about it!
- When you’re a 20-week fetus inside your mother, you have 7 million
eggs in you! (So, you were actually in your grandmother’s belly
at one time… since your mom had your egg in her when she was a
At birth, this number goes down to 2 million… by puberty we have
300K to 500K eggs. 400-500 eggs ripen during a lifetime.
Each of your eggs only lives for 24 hours, so you are only fertile for
approximately one day. You can be fertile for 48 hours if two eggs were
released during ovulation (this happens about 5-10% of the time).
Sperm can live in fertile cervical fluid for up to 5 days. After you
have sex, it can take up to 5 days to actually conceive. So you could
have sex on Monday, and then ovulate on Friday, and you would conceive
on Friday. So your fertility depends on the egg and the sperm’s
How To Track Your Fertility
A lot of women want to know how they can tell whether or not they’re
ovulating each month. The best way to do this is to track your own cycle,
using three fertility signs (all three are described in detail in the
Weschler book mentioned above):
1. Waking temperature: your temperature rises after
you ovulate. Before ovulation it’s usually between 97.0 and 97.5.
Within a day or so of ovulation, the increase in progesterone will cause
your temp will rise to between 97.6 and 98.6, and it will usually stay
elevated until your next period. Once your temperature goes up, it means
you have already ovulated.
2. Cervical fluid: Since women are only fertile the
few days around ovulation, we don’t produce fluid all the time.
Our cervical fluid is the medium that the sperm use to travel to the
egg. If the fluid isn’t the right consistency, the sperm will
die, because the fluid provides an alkaline medium to protect the sperm
from an otherwise acidic vagina. The only time that it’s critical
for the sperm to get around easily is around ovulation, when the egg
is ready to be fertilized. So, that’s why we produce a different
kind of fluid around ovulation.
Right after your period, you’ll notice that you have very little
cervical fluid – you are basically dry. After a few days of dryness,
you’ll probably notice a sticky kind of fluid. It may be rubbery,
springy, or crumbly. The next type of fluid you’ll notice is creamy
or lotion-like (it feels cold).
last kind of fluid you’ll experience – right around ovulation
- resembles egg-white. It’s SLIPPERY and it stretches from 1-10”.
It’s usually clear or partially streaked, and it can also be watery.
It will usually leave a symmetrical, round pattern on your underwear
because of the high water content.
you ovulate, your fluid will dry up quickly, and you’ll usually
remain dry for the rest of the cycle. If you’re on the Pill, you
will probably not notice any changes in cervical fluid because you aren’t
3. Cervical position: your cervix changes position
throughout the month. The cervix is the lower part of your uterus which
extends into your vagina. Around ovulation, your cervix becomes soft
and mushy, like your lips. It is usually low and closed, but around
ovulation it rises and opens.
I just started tracking my period using these three signs, and it helps
me get in touch with what my body is doing. Tracking your period is
helpful whether you are trying to have children, or trying to prevent
a pregnancy. Tracking will help you determine if you are indeed ovulating,
and if you are, when ovulation occurs.
There are secondary signs that indicate that ovulation is coming
- Midcycle spotting
- Pain or aches near ovaries (from swelling of follicles in ovaries)
- Sharp pain occurs when egg actually bursts through the wall (only
felt on one side)
- Increased sexual drive
- Fuller vaginal lips – especially on the side that you ovulated
- More energy (or less energy)
- Heightened sensitivity to sounds, smells, etc.
Certain things can prevent or delay ovulation:
- Stress/working too hard
- Sudden weight change
This makes sense. If your body perceives that you are physically or
emotionally stressed, it assumes you don’t have the capacity to
become pregnant and take care of a child. So it shuts down ovulation
until you’re ready. We each have our own threshold for stress…
so what you may be able to handle is different than your friends or
More Facts About Your Period:
1. Not everyone’s cycle is 28 days long… In fact, less than
15% of all cycles are precisely 28 days. A ‘normal’ cycle
is anywhere from 24-36 days long.
2. Not all women ovulate on day 14! You can ovulate as early as Day
8 or as late as Day 22 or beyond.
3. There are times when you can bleed, and it looks like you’re
having a regular period, but you haven’t actually ovulated. These
kind of periods are called anovulatory periods.
The Emotional Part Of Your Cycle
The Energy Phase: The time between your period and
ovulation is what I call your “Energy” phase. During these
weeks, you can take advantage of the fact that your body is now ready
to get out, to create and produce.
have a lot of energy and this is the time of the month when you’re
most likely to want to get out and hang out with other people, to start
new projects, and act on existing projects. Ovulation represents our
peak of emotional and mental creativity.
Quiet Phase: In comparison, the weeks between ovulation and
your period are what I call “Quiet” time. When you know
your period is coming, you may want to block off nights to retreat at
home, to be quiet, peaceful and alone. You may be a bit more tired,
a bit less social, a bit more sensitive to your emotions.
Just because you lack energy or are slower at this time doesn’t
mean something is wrong with you! On the contrary, this is what your
body is supposed to do! Your body is getting ready to cleanse and transforming
Anything that surfaces for you at this time of the month – particularly
those things or people or events that cause you great emotion –
are the things that most need your attention, the things that most need
to be changed or improved.
The information and intuition that comes to us during the time just
before our period is not always obvious, but it is really important.
If we block it, don’t let it surface, or keep pushing it down…
it may come back as PMS. We can’t ignore what surfaces during
our pre-menstrual time.
I love what Dr. Northrup says in "Women’s Bodies,
think that the majority of PMS cases would disappear if every modern
woman retreated from her duties for 3 or 4 days each month and had her
meals brought to her by someone else.”
We may not be able to retreat every month, but we certainly can honor
this time of the month. Here are some ways you can honor your period:
- Asking people to do things for you
- Scheduling pampering things for yourself
- Going to bed early and keeping a dream journal
- Sitting in silence for a few minutes
- Scheduling time with other women, to talk and share
- Be a bitch – be tough – yell at someone – be aggressive
PMS - It’s real, not in your head!
At least 50% of all women suffer from PMS. For it to be considered PMS,
your symptoms must occur on a cyclical basis before your period. You
must have at least 3 days during the month when you are symptom-free.
There are more than 100 known symptoms of PMS, ranging from acne to
breast tenderness to bloating to irritability to depression to hives
to sore throat to fatigue to headaches.
If nothing is done about PMS it will get worse, and extend further into
your month. PMS is your body’s way of getting your attention.
It’s your body’s way of trying to signal you that there’s
an imbalance and it needs to be changed.
There are many ways to reduce PMS symptoms, but here are some
of the treatment options we talked about during the call:
1. Avoid the following foods (all month long, not just during PMS time),
for they strongly contribute to PMS symptoms:
a. Dairy products
b. Caffeine (in soft drinks, coffee, and chocolate) – even one
cup of coffee per day can have an impact.
c. Refined sugar and refined, processed food (cookies, crackers, white
bread, white rice, white pasta, etc.)
d. Foods with trans fatty acids in them (hydrogenated oils and margarine).
2. Make sure you’re getting enough essential fatty acids (found
in raw nuts, seeds, cold-water fish like salmon and sardines, sesame
oil, and flaxseed oil). Try sprinkling nuts on soy yogurt, having seeds
in your oatmeal in the morning, putting ground flaxseed oil in your
fruit smoothies, or cooking up fish for dinner.
3. Practice stress reduction through meditation, mindful breathing,
4. Use a castor oil pack or a hot water bottle on a consistent basis
– 3 times per week. Don’t use packs when you’re bleeding
5. Exercise! I know that exercise is the last thing you want to do when
you feel bloated, but even brisk walking will help with PMS symptoms,
especially if you’re in a down mood. Don’t expect your body
to be able to perform at peak levels – be kind to it, and just
get out there and move! Sweat reduces water retention.
6. Get more time outside, or in full-spectrum light. Symptoms associated
with PMS – depression, weight gain, carb cravings, fatigue, and
irritability can be helped with exposure to sunlight.
7. Recognize that we rarely slow down in this society. Taking time to
breathe and relax is unheard of. Oftentimes, if you are racing around
100 mph, your period is the one chance your body has to communicate
with you and tell you to slow down!
What would happen if you used your PMS time to treat yourself like the
goddess that you are? Slow down, get more sleep, take baths, read…
all the things you would do “if you had the time.” We should
all do this more often, but at LEAST once a month, right?!
you have a question about your period, please don't hesitate to email
me. I'd love to hear from you.