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Getting to Know Aunt Flow

Perhaps you’ve known her since you were 13, but chances are, you haven’t really understood her until just now.

Your menstrual cycle. Your period. Your Auntie Flow. She is your monthly visitor that produces hormones, releases eggs and prepares your body for pregnancy.

When you’re 13 years old, Aunt Flow is just the annoying visitor that makes you feel crampy, bloated and hormonal. When you’re finally trying to get pregnant, Aunt Flow is suddenly your ally because you need her to regulate your cycle and help you achieve a pregnancy.

Get to know your menstrual cycle lengths and record them for any future doctor visits. Keep track of any cycle abnormalities — including longer or short periods — and make sure to tell your doctor if you experience severe cramping, uncommon side effects or irregular cycles.

If you don’t get a monthly period (and you’re not on birth control pills), make sure to see your doctor before you start trying to conceive. You may not like your monthly visitor, but regulating her is the first step in achieving a pregnancy.