The Luteal Phase

What is the luteal phase of your monthly cycle?
If you spend time chatting in a fertility community, you have probably seen or heard the acronym DPO. DPO stands for “days past ovulation.” Both DPO and the luteal phase are the way we describe the time between ovulation and the day before the onset of your next period. 
The term luteal phase is related to the term corpus luteum, which is the area on the ovary where the egg is released during ovulation. This area is important because it is also responsible for releasing the progesterone needed to support a pregnancy. Doctors believe that in order to have a pregnancy that takes hold, a woman’s luteal phase should be at least 10 days. Most women have a luteal phase that is 14 days long, which is why many women refer to this time as the 2ww (2 week wait). It is after this wait time that most women take a pregnancy test to confirm their BFP (big fat positive). 
The other reason why we need to know the length of our luteal phase is that it helps women know when they ovulate during their cycle. You can subtract the length of your luteal phase from your cycle length and it will give you a good prediction for when you might ovulate. However, there are many different factors that can goof with your cycle length and ovulation so if you are charting as part of your ttc plan, you will need lots of patience. With patience you can start to see patterns in your cycle that will become more apparent over multiple months.
Also, all women are different in their cycle lengths, luteal phases and whether or not they ovulate every month. If you have any concerns or questions, you can ask your doctor to do blood tests that evaluate your hormone levels.  With that information, your doctor can accurately determine the length of your luteal phase.


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By TTC veteran and mother of two, Elizabeth Andrews.