For our final post about the menstrual cycle, we’re talking about the menstruation phase! Your inner winter and new moon, this phase of the cycle is where you’re bleeding, eventually leading back to your follicular phase (which you can read more about here). Menstruation might be what you think of the most when you think about your period, but we guarantee you’re going to learn some new things about it in this post!
Don’t forget to check out the full UM Club Episode with Period Coach Sarah Starrs, talking about all things periods! If you loved this post check out all our previous posts on the menstrual stage, which you’ll find linked below!
Stages of the Menstrual Cycle Explained – Luteal Phase
What is the Menstrual Cycle?
The menstrual cycle is the course that our bodies go through to get the body ready to be pregnant, resulting in our period if fertilization doesn’t occur. We tend to think of it as around 28 days, but everyone’s cycle is going to look different, and will probably change over time too. The menstrual cycle happens in four stages – the follicular phase, ovulation, the luteal phase, and menstruation. In this post, we’re going to be looking at the menstrual phase!
What is the Menstrual Phase?
Menstruation – Inner Winter and New Moon
Lastly is menstruation, which a lot of people think of as winter. The womb will have been building up a lining, the endometrium, to prepare if a pregnancy was to take place and the fertilized egg was implanted. And if pregnancy does not occur, then that’s all released and that’s what your menstrual blood contains.
This is a time when our hormones are at their absolute lowest, thinking about those main sex hormones, so we may not be feeling out best. Menstruation, while causing frustration for many of us, is really beginning that cycle of renewal here, which is why people often see it as the new moon. Think of it as the start of rebirth and growth in our bodies as we head back towards inner spring.
The Menstrual Phase Explained
While you’re in your menstrual phase, go for rich and filling foods. These will help get you over any of those extra hunger pangs you might be feeling because of your period. It’s also a good idea to be eating iron rich foods and maybe taking iron supplements while you’re menstruating, as you will be low on iron from the natural bleed.
Menstrual phase foods are comfort foods, so dishes like hearty soups and pasta are going to help a lot, and heartier veggies like beets and kale will help to fill you up more while giving you that extra dose of energy. Don’t shy away from your favourite comfort food during menstruation – we’re bleeding out of our vaginas, we deserve it!
During menstruation you might not be feeling up to a lot of physical activity; there’s many reasons for this part of your cycle being called your inner winter, and wanting to stay inside is one of them. Opting for low impact and gentle workouts is going to be your best friend. We recommended long walks in our previous post about the luteal phase, and that’s also going to be the type of exercise you’re leaning towards.
Everyone experiences their cycles a little differently, so make sure you’re listening to what your body tells you and what feels good. If an energizing run or some strength training to help eliminate some cramps works for you, we say go for it!
Your social battery is fully run out by the time you reach the menstruation phase of your menstrual cycle, so now might not be the time to go all out socially. This is the peak of when having a night home alone, maybe taking a bath and unwinding, is going to be so important. If you have a partner, maybe get them to take the kids out for a while so you can get in some of that rest and relaxation your body needs.
Menstruation is a great time for thinking things through and coming up with solutions to any problems you might be facing. Journalling and keeping track of these great thoughts is another way to calm your mind, and let you get that time alone you’re probably craving.
Sex during your menstrual cycle is not something everyone likes, but it can be super helpful for your body if you’re into it! Whether it’s solo or partner sex, there’s one consistent fact: orgasms alleviate period cramps. The new moon period cycle can be a great time to practice solo play or just get it on with your partner, so don’t shy away because of the potential mess!
Periods mean many things for many people, and while some are definitely going to be feeling the most erotic on their periods, some people feel the exact opposite. While you’re menstruating, your body is going through a lot and you might be feeling extra emotional. Don’t push yourself too hard in this phase, so if something isn’t feeling right, or you’re just not up for partner sex, wait out your cycle until you’re back up to it.
Our bodies are in their most tired state while menstruating, so extra patience is required for yourself in this phase. Menstruating can be a great time to explain periods to a child, and help to reduce the stigma around menstruation. If you want to read more about teaching your child about sex and periods, make sure to check out our post!
Being a parent means we practice a lot of patience with our kids, so make sure to lend yourself some of that patience during this time. Really focusing on quiet activities with your kids, like storytime or movie night, will help to keep that connection without pushing you too hard in this phase of your cycle.
Each stage of your menstrual cycle means something different for how you’re feeling and how much you want to do certain things. To help figure out which cycle of your period is best for what, we’re making an in-depth guide to all four phases of the menstrual cycle! If you’ve missed any of our previous posts on the menstrual cycle, don’t forget to check those out in the links below!
Want access right away to way more info about your period right away? Join the UM Club for access to our amazing episode with period coach Sarah Starrs and another great episode all about your period and menstrual health! We have such a great collection of posts all about menstrual health, and we know you’re going to love all of them!
Stages of the Menstrual Cycle Explained – Luteal Phase