The 10 Parameters of a Fertile Cycle
A fertile cycle is the same thing as a regular cycle, right?
A regular cycle simply refers to having a consistent cycle length and ovulating every month. A fertile cycle is far more nuanced: In Chinese medicine, it’s a reflection of a woman’s health. Understanding the details of your fertile cycle will help uncover possible imbalances that you can work to fix with Chinese medicine — and achieve pregnancy!
A fertile cycle has 10 parameters: cycle length, days of actual period flow, color of period flow, amount of flow, consistency of flow, pain level of the period, continuity of flow, lining stability, cervical mucus and PMS.
Let’s dig a little deeper into what each parameter means.
Total cycle length offers clues about ovulation. No, you don’t need a perfect 28-day cycle to get pregnant. Only a small fraction of women have the 28-day cycle. So if the cycle length is short, that could mean you’re ovulating too early. If the cycle length is long, then most likely you’re ovulating late. How that relates to Chinese medicine is either Yin deficiency or Qi stagnation.
Days of Actual Period Flow
Period flow lasting fewer than four days most likely means the uterine lining is too thin, and that can be caused by blood deficiency or Qi stagnation. Ideally, your period should last at least four days. It’s normal to have a few days of heavy bleeding that tapers to spotting at the end.
Color of Period Flow
Color matters. Fresh red blood is what you want to see — not brown or super dark, because either of those could indicate a blood flow issue or Qi stagnation issue.
Amount of Flow
You should be soaking a pad or tampon every 4-6 hours. On average, a woman should lose about 60 mL of blood and tissue during a menstrual cycle. There’s no easy way to measure the precise amount of blood (unless you’re using a menstrual cup), but we know that a regular tampon holds about 6-9 mL of blood and a super tampon holds 9-12 mL, so we use this as a gauge of whether or not you are actually shedding enough blood.
On the other hand, heavy bleeding is more than 80 mL of menstrual flow, which is about 10 super-absorbent tampons. Going through tampon after tampon is an indicator your flow is likely too heavy. In Chinese medicine, this means you’re going to become blood deficient, but not necessarily anemic (although that’s a possibility).
Consistency and Continuity of Flow, Period Pain
If your period starts, stops, then starts again, or your period flow is super clumpy, chunky, mucusy, or if you’re experiencing severe pain, you most likely have unresolved Qi stagnation.
Let’s talk a minute about the significance of Qi stagnation. When your Qi is stuck, the energy flow and blood flow to the uterus will be choppy, sluggish and not smooth. Imagine trying to dock a boat in stormy weather. The wind is howling, it’s pouring down rain, and the waves are rocking the boat. Now imagine the boat as an embryo trying to implant in the uterus when the Qi flow is not smooth.
Mindset and mental health directly impact your physical health in Chinese medicine: Anxiety is notorious for disrupting Qi and making its flow in the uterus turbulent.
Spotting is a sign of Qi deficiency, and frequent spotting generally means the lining isn’t stable, which means the hormones aren’t stable. Western medicine doctors tend to ignore this symptom unless they are concerned you have a polyp or fibroid.
A distinct cervical mucus pattern throughout your cycle is important, and a lack of egg-white-like mucus during ovulation is a sign of Yin deficiency. Yin controls everything fluid, and it’s cooling and lubricating. I don’t support taking Mucinex to thin your mucus, because that’s not fixing the underlying imbalances. Even if your estrogen levels are normal, you still have Yin deficiency issues if you’re not seeing cervical mucus throughout your cycle (before and after ovulation, it tends to be more glue-like and pasty).
You may have been told PMS is totally normal and a certain rite of passage to womanhood, but PMS is a sign of Qi stagnation.
You can do a quick intake on the health of your fertile cycle based on these 10 parameters. The way to become the healthiest and most fertile version of yourself is by working on each of the parameters that are showing signs of deficiency or stagnation in your fertile cycle. Thousands of years’ worth of successful Chinese medicine methods make this is all possible!
Patience in correcting these imbalances can be difficult because it takes time. But steadily working to fix these directly translates to a higher pregnancy success rate.
The quickest way to achieve a fertile cycle is through our Fertility Herbal Elixirs. You can learn more about them here and take the TCM pattern quiz to discover the root causes.