Are you trying to conceive, but your irregular periods are causing frustration and confusion? You’re not alone. Many women face challenges when their menstrual cycles vary in length or arrive at unexpected times. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to understand and manage irregular periods while trying to conceive (TTC). Let’s explore some helpful strategies to make your journey a little smoother.
What is an irregular period?
Irregular periods refer to menstrual cycles that do not follow a consistent pattern in terms of timing, duration, or flow. A typical menstrual cycle lasts around 28 days. During a cycle, a woman will experience menstrual bleeding or a period lasting 3 to 7 days. Some women can set their watch by their menstrual cycle it’s so predictable! However, many women have variations in their menstrual cycles. Some have shorter, longer or changeable cycles, which make it difficult to calculate your most fertile time when trying to conceive (TTC).
The time between periods can vary significantly between different women on both normal and irregular cycles. Some may have shorter cycles (less than 21 days), while others may have much longer cycles (more than 35 days). Having an irregular cycle can make it difficult to predict when ovulation will occur.
If that wasn’t confusing enough, the length of time you experience menstrual bleeding can also vary. Some women may have very short periods (less than 2 days), while others may experience prolonged bleeding (more than 7 days). Some will have a 2-day period one month and one that lasts 7 or 8 days another month.
Women who experience irregular periods may also find they have unpredictable intervals between cycles. For example, a woman may have periods that occur regularly for several months and then suddenly experience a longer or shorter cycle. All of this can become extremely frustrating when you are TTC!
What Causes Irregular Periods?
Various factors can contribute to irregular periods, including hormonal imbalances, stress, changes in weight, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid disorders, excessive exercise, certain medications, and underlying medical conditions to name a few. Basically, it can be pretty tricky to get to the bottom of the cause of your irregular periods. We do know that irregular periods when trying to conceive can make it more challenging to track ovulation accurately and predict the fertile window for conception.
How to Get Pregnant with Irregular Periods
The uncertainty and unpredictability of your menstrual cycle can make TTC harder and more frustrating. However, with the right knowledge and strategies, it’s possible to increase your chances of getting pregnant. Here are a handful of helpful tips to get you one step closer to that positive pregnancy test!
Track your cycle
Rule number one of trying to conceive with irregular periods is to track your menstrual cycles meticulously. Keep a record of the start and end dates of each period, noting any changes in flow or other relevant details. This will help you identify patterns and better understand your cycle irregularities. Consider using fertility tracking apps or calendars to keep track of your data it really helps!
Ovulation is essential for conception. However, it can be hard to predict with irregular periods. Fortunately, there are several methods you can use to monitor ovulation. These include tracking changes in cervical mucus, using ovulation predictor kits, monitoring basal body temperature, or using fertility tracking devices. By identifying your fertile window, you can time your baby dance to maximise your chances of getting pregnant.
Seek Medical Advice
If you’ve been trying to conceive for a while with irregular periods, it’s a good idea to speak with a doctor and ask for a referral to a fertility specialist. They can assess your medical history, perform necessary tests, and identify any underlying issues that might be affecting your ability to conceive. Your healthcare provider can then offer personalised advice and recommend appropriate treatments or interventions to enhance your fertility.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Adopting a healthy lifestyle is crucial for fertility, irregular periods or otherwise. Ensure you eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption, and quit smoking if you’re a smoker. Engage in regular physical activity to maintain a healthy weight, as being underweight or overweight can affect your menstrual cycle. Prioritise stress management techniques, such as meditation, yoga, and engaging in activities you enjoy.
Consider Fertility Treatments
Sometimes, fertility treatments may be necessary when trying to conceive with irregular periods. Depending on the underlying cause of your irregular cycles, your fertility doctor might suggest options such as ovulation induction, hormone therapy, or assisted reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilisation (IVF). These treatments can help regulate your menstrual cycle and increase the likelihood of successful conception.
Focus on Timing
When your periods are irregular, timing intercourse can be harder. However, your best chance of falling pregnant is by having frequent sex throughout your cycle. Rather than solely relying on ovulation prediction methods, try to have intercourse every two to three days to ensure sperm is available when ovulation occurs.
Stay Positive and Patient
We know it’s easier said than done but dealing with irregular periods while trying to conceive can be emotionally draining. It’s important to keep a positive mindset and be patient with the process. Remember that getting pregnant can take time, even for couples with regular cycles. Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends and family who can provide encouragement and understanding throughout your journey. Seek emotional support if needed, whether through counselling or joining support groups like the Hoopy fertility community, where you can chat with others facing similar challenges.
Getting pregnant with irregular periods may require additional effort and patience, but it’s absolutely possible. By tracking your cycles, monitoring ovulation, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, considering fertility treatments when necessary, and keeping a positive mindset, you can increase your chances of conceiving. Remember to be kind to yourself throughout this process TTC can be tough when it doesn’t happen quickly, so take a break and seek support when you need to.