1. Menstruation

2. The follicular phase

3.  Ovulation 

4. The luteal phase

There are 4 phases of your cycle, and each one plays a different & important role. Figure more out about your body!


Menstruation, otherwise known as your period, is the first phase of your cycle. The trigger for having a period is a fall in the hormones estrogen and progesterone from the previous cycle when pregnancy has not happened. 

Because the thickened uterine lining is no longer supported by these particular hormones, it will break down and shed. This lining and egg then exit through the cervix and vagina during the menstrual period. Your period is actually a combination of uterine lining, mucus, and blood and typically lasts for 3 – 8 days. 

The follicular phase:

The follicular phase begins on the first day of your period. It occurs simultaneously with menstruation. It is called the follicular phase because it’s the time when follicles grow inside the ovary.  

An area in the brain called the hypothalamus signals the pituitary gland to release follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). FSH stimulates the ovaries to grow FET follicles. These each contain an immature egg. The healthiest egg will mature while the rest of the follicles will absorb back into the body. Once the follicle matures, it then releases the hormone, estrogen. This stimulates the uterine lining to thicken. The thickened lining will provide the necessary nutrients to the fertilized egg. The follicular phase typically lasts around 10- 16 days and ends when you begin to ovulate.  


The ovulation phase starts when rising estrogen levels signal the pituitary gland to release a surge of luteinizing hormone (LH). An increase of the luteinizing hormone triggers the process of the ovary, releasing a mature egg. This process is called ovulation.

During ovulation, the mature egg is released from its follicle. It travels from the ovary down into the Fallopian Tube. If there are sperm inside the Fallopian Tube at that time, they will attach to the outside of the egg and one may enter the egg to fertilise it. 

Some signs that signal you are about to ovulate include: thick white vaginal discharge; a slight increase in your basal body temperature; and your skin glowing and becoming more plump than usual. If you are trying to get pregnant, it is important to note that the egg can only survive for about 24 hours before it breaks up. Therefore, sperm has to be in the Fallopian Tube at that time if fertilisation is to occur. Sperm can survive in the Fallopian Tube for 48-72 hours. Essentially, having intercourse within a day or two of ovulation will give you the best chance of falling pregnant. On the other hand, if you are actively trying to not fall pregnant, you should avoid having intercourse at this time or be sure to use protection. 

The luteal phase:

The final phase of the menstrual cycle is the Luteal Phase. During the Luteal Phase, the  follicles where the egg came from morph into a mass of cells called the Corpus Luteum. The Corpus Luteum releases progesterone, which will not only keep the uterine wall thick but also switch on the production of nutrient to nurture an embryo when it arrives in the uterus. 

It takes about 6 days for the fertilised egg to travel down the tube and into the uterus. It then attaches to the lining and then implants. By then it is producing pregnancy hormone known as hCG which serves as the messenger that tells the body that conception has occurred. It stimulates progesterone which helps keep the uterine lining thick and stops a period coming.

However, if the egg does not become fertilized during ovulation, the Corpus Luteum will dissolve which causes both estrogen and progesterone levels to drop.  The lining of the uterus begins to break down and a period begins.

And the new cycle begins all over again!