What is the luteal phase, what happens when it is too short or too long and how it is involved in having a baby
If you are trying to get pregnant without success, it is possible that there is some anomaly in the luteal phase, even if the debate about the role played by the luteal phase in the eventual infertility is still open. In any case, let’s try to understand what it is.
Luteal phase what is it?
The luteal phase is a phase of the menstrual cycle that occurs after ovulation and before the start of the cycle. At this stage the corpus luteum (a temporary endocrine gland, born from what was originally the follicle) produces the hormone progesterone, which serves above all to ensure that the uterus becomes a warm and welcoming place for the possible embryo. In practice, in this phase the uterine mucosa prepares to accommodate the egg that has been fertilized, also creating a new network of blood vessels that will provide nourishment and oxygen to the embryo, and building a perfect environment to favor engraftment and implantation. early pregnancy.
Immediately after ovulation, the follicle released by the ovum is transformed into the corpus luteum which has the fundamental function of producing progesterone. The luteal phase usually lasts 12 to 14 days. If conception has taken place, the embryo attaches to the thickened lining of the uterus, but if you are not pregnant this lining detaches and is expelled with menstruation.
The follicular phase is characterized by the development of the preovulatory follicle and an increase in estrogen hormones that stimulate endometrial proliferation in view of ovulation and eventual conception.
The ovulatory phase is characterized byexpulsion of the oocyte from the ovary. The egg travels along the fallopian tubes to the uterus and can be fertilized by the sperm during this process. This is the fertile period of the woman. Since spermatozoa can survive and fertilize the oocyte for up to four days, while the oocyte has a maximum survival of 24 hours, we can conclude that every month we have four to five fertile days.
Luteal phase and progesterone
During the luteal phase the ovaries produce a hormone called progesterone which plays a decisive role in this phase of the monthly cycle. It is, in fact, essential to create the right lining of the uterus that is needed for the embryo to take root in the event of a pregnancy.
In addition, progesterone:
stimulates the production of glycoproteins which will be a source of nourishment for any embryo;
if you get pregnant, your body will also produce gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone that will keep the corpus luteum functioning so that progesterone is produced for as long as necessary.
Can you get pregnant during the luteal phase?
There luteal phase, as we have said, it begins the day after ovulation and lasts until the onset of menstruation. Since the oocyte remains fertilizable only in the 24 hours after ovulation it is clear that it is difficult to get pregnant in the following days. To maximize the chances of conception it is important to calculate the days of ovulation and the fertile period of the month (keeping a menstrual calendar) and to concentrate intercourse in the three days before ovulation and at the latest within 24 hours after.
Short luteal phase
The luteal phase is considered short if it lasts less than 10 days. In the case of the so-called luteal phase deficiency, progesterone levels are insufficient to maintain the normal lining of the endometrium that would ensure the implantation of the embryo. And that is why, according to some studies, this deficit could be a cause of infertility.
The luteal phase deficit causes the duration of this phase to be shorter than average: generally less than nine days between the day of ovulation and the onset of menstruation.
There are some symptoms that can lead to suspicion of a short luteal phase, such as:
difficulty getting pregnant;
spotting between menstruation;
cycles too short.
To diagnose a short luteal phase, your doctor may order a blood test that examines the levels of the hormones involved:
progesterone, which causes the coating to thicken …