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How to Lengthen the Luteal Phase

If you’re finding it more difficult to get pregnant than you’d expected, it’s taking longer than you’d like, and you want to improve your chances, then you need to learn about the different phases of the menstrual cycle to identify where you can intervene to give your body more of an advantage.

The follicular phase begins with your period at the beginning of your cycle, as your body starts to mature an egg until it’s ready to be fertilised. Ovulation is the point at which the egg is released from the ovaries, but today we’re looking at what comes after that: the Luteal Phase.

In the Luteal Phase your hormones are now focused on encouraging your ovaries to nurture eggs towards maturity. The sac that the egg was matured in transforms into a small structure called the corpus luteum, which secretes progesterone. This is the hormone that causes your uterus to begin to create a thick lining in the uterus for a fertilised egg to anchor in and begin to grow into a foetus.

If the uterine lining isn’t thick enough, and isn’t maintained in those early days, then even if an egg is fertilised by sperm, you can experience problems in pregnancy. If the egg can’t anchor into the lining, or the uterine lining can’t provide the initial security and nourishment needed by the blastocyst (the fertilised egg in the early stages of division), your pregnancy will fail to pass these early stages.

For a successful pregnancy, you need a Luteal Phase that lasts to lay down a generous uterine lining before the egg implants, and is maintained afterwards, as that egg develops into a foetus and the lining develops into the placenta. Lengthening your Luteal Phase is possible and today we’re looking at how.

Stress is one of the major issues that can shorten your Luteal Phase: it affects your entire system, and your reproductive cycle isn’t immune. While there are some sources of stress that are out of your control, you can try to earth some of the stress you’re experiencing by taking back a bit of control: rebalance your work-life balance in favour of life; build a solid bedtime routine to ensure a good night’s sleep; and perhaps most importantly make sure you’re engaging in moderate exercise.

Of all the fertility supplements that are available, Vitamin C is the only one proven to increase the level of progesterone your body produces. It’s progesterone that drives the Luteal Phase, and leads directly to that thicker lining, so if your Luteal Phase is running short it could be due to a low level of this key nutrient. Whether it’s through changing your diet or adding a supplement to your routine, some extra Vitamin C might make the difference your body needs!