Learning about your cycle. Simplified.
Sure, your period comes every month and the two of you probably know each other pretty well. But before choosing a type of birth control, it's good to give yourself a refresher on the reproductive process and the ins and outs of your menstrual cycle. Understanding how your body works can help you to choose the method of birth control that’s right for you.
Back to basics: reproduction and your menstrual cycle
Women have 2 ovaries, 1 on each side of the uterus. Every month, 1 ovary releases an egg into 1 of the Fallopian tubes. This is called ovulation. For most women, ovulation takes place about 14 days before the start of the menstrual period (monthly bleeding).4
Women can become pregnant if they have sex around the time of ovulation. This includes sex that happens anywhere from a few days before to a day after a woman ovulates. During sex, a man ejaculates sperm into the vagina. The sperm travel up through the cervix, through the uterus, and into the Fallopian tubes.4,5
If 1 of the sperm meets up with an egg waiting in the Fallopian tube, fertilization can take place.4
After some time, the fertilized egg moves down the Fallopian tube and enters the uterus. Here, the fertilized egg will attach and grow in the lining of the uterus, which has grown and become thicker since the end of the last menstrual period.4,5
If fertilization doesn’t happen, the uterus doesn’t need the extra-thick lining it has built up, and it will begin to shed. This shedding of the lining of the uterus through the vagina is menstruation.5
There are many different types of birth controlLearn about different birth control methods.
Fallopian tubes: Two tubes, located on either side of the uterus, which connect the ovaries to the uterus. After ovulation, an egg travels from the ovary to the uterus through one of the Fallopian tubes.4