A woman’s menstrual cycle has several stages.

However, the Luteal phase of the menstrual cycle is one of the most important, when it comes to fertility and conception. This phase normally lasts from 13-15 days.

It will begin the day after ovulation ends, and lasts until the beginning of your next period.

However, if pregnancy occurs the luteal phase will last for the entire term of pregnancy until delivery.

Understanding the Steps Up To the Luteal Phase

Before the Luteal phase occurs the body will go through the follicular stage. This stage is the point at which the body creates the follicle, or cell group, which envelopes the egg.

The body will also thicken the lining of the uterus, in preparation for acceptance of a fertilized egg. Next, the body will enter into the ovulation period, and release an egg that can become fertilized for pregnancy.

How Does the Luteal Phase Prepare the Body for Pregnancy?

luteal phase

During the Luteal phase, the follicle will continue to increase the amount of progesterone produced. This hormone works to cause the changes to occur in the uterus lining, preparing it for acceptance of the egg.

If fertilization occurs during ovulation, the egg will be moved into the uterus which has been prepared for acceptance.  If pregnancy does occur the hormone hCG will be secreted by the embryo and it will signal the body to continue the luteal phase throughout pregnancy.

If the luteal phase does not proceed correctly, with hormones continuously being released, it will be impossible for the embryo to implant into the uterus, and a miscarriage can occur.

The Normal Process If Pregnancy Does Not Occur

The body is naturally programmed to begin the menstruation cycle, and shed the follicle 13-15 days after ovulation.

If during this period, the hormone hCG is not secreted, the body will begin the process of shedding the egg, and converting the body back to the natural state before ovulation. The cycle will continue, and be repeated, once again the next month.

Effects of the Luteal Phase

During the luteal phase many women experience symptoms and side effects. It is not uncommon for a woman to feel emotional, tense, or irritable during this period. In addition, many women suffer from bloating and weight gain during this period.

Tender breasts and outbreaks of acne, are also very common during this period. In the final days of the luteal phase, before menstruation, it is common for some women to experience cramps, headaches, or a lack of energy.

What can affect the Luteal Cycle?

One of the most common things to affect the Luteal cycle is birth control. Birth control works to suppress the increase in hormones, so that the body is not accepting to pregnancy.

However, even after discontinuing the use of birth control, some women have problems increasing hormone levels back to a level high enough to result in pregnancy.

If this situation occurs, your doctor may prescribe the use of synthetic hormones, to bring the hormone back up to an appropriate level.