Mar 142012
 

Experience Reproductive FreedomI’ve been passionate about sharing information on women’s reproductive health and ways of managing fertility for a long time. My love for fertility and women’s reproductive health stems from personal experience. I believe that all young women should be taught about their bodies, taught to identify the signs of fertility so that they have the tools and skills needed to avoid pregnancy.

The first time I had sex, I had no understanding of how my body worked. I knew women weren’t fertile all the time. I knew when dogs were in heat they also bled and that they could get pregnant during this time. The first time I had sex it was unprotected and I was not bleeding at the time. Luckily, I didn’t get pregnant. I was placed on the pill soon after, on which I stayed until the age of 20.

It turns out I’m not alone in my misunderstanding and ignorance of the basic functions of my body. The Guttmacher Institute reports that 46% of teenage boys and 33% of teenage girls have no formal sex education prior to having sex for the first time. I was one of those teenage girls.

This scenario happens across the world every day more often than we could ever imagine. This is a huge problem! One that is easily remedied with good scientific information! I believe if a woman is able to recognize signs of fertility on any given day, she will be able to determine if unprotected intercourse on that day would likely result in conception occurring. Having this knowledge and level of understanding of our bodies will enable women of child-bearing age to be much more conscious of the choices she is making in regards to contraception.

I want the ideal world where all pregnancies are planned, every child is wanted and abortion is only needed for medical reasons or when birth control fails. We have the tools available to make this a reality all that is missing is the education and subsequent implementation in the general population. I believe that educating our young men and women is a vital step in achieving this goal.

My goal is to bring this information to as many women as possible. I think that basic fertility awareness methods should be taught to pre-teens or as a rite of passage for young women who have just begun bleeding. Understanding our bodies and menstrual cycles is essential information for all women and can be used to avoid or achieve pregnancy when the time is right. Sex education is vital for future health and well being, avoiding viruses like HPV is essential to avoiding cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all mothers knew this information so that they could hand it down to their daughters? I look forward to exploring the realm of women’s mysteries with you all!

Mar 012012
 

So let’s talk a little about puberty. This is where and when a young girl will begin to sexually mature. Her body will go through a series of changes completely out of her control. Numerous bodily systems will be affected and she will emerge on the other side as a sexually mature young woman. This journey begins somewhere around the age of 9 with the initial growth spurt and reaches completion around the age of 15 when she reaches her adult height. Another sign that she has completed puberty is the initiation of the menstrual cycle. It’s an amazing process of transformation that begins in its own time and progress at its own rate. While we know much about the events that occur during puberty, each individual’s experience of puberty is unique and will unfold without a set or defined pattern. While one young woman may be completing puberty at age 15 another may be just beginning her own journey.

Different degrees of sexual maturation at the same age, these girls are all 12.75 years old. © Human Reproductive Biology

The series of events and bodily changes such as growth spurts, breast development, and when she will get her first period happen whenever they are good and ready and without a set order. Everyone has experienced the flood of raging hormones as the body of a child transforms into a young maiden. The same happens for guys too. Hormones too come in their own ebbs and flows, and the symptoms experienced can vary tremendously between young women. Physiological changes in sweat and sebaceous glands can cause distressing changes in body odor and skin complexion including problems like acne and body odor. Pubic hair begins to grow and the internal reproductive structures complete their development. It’s important to realize that there’s a wide variety of normal when it comes to transitioning through puberty. Each girl’s body goes at its own pace.

Menarche is a young woman’s very first period and marks her entrance into womanhood. Many cultures celebrate this joyous coming of age event. In the United States, menstruation is often viewed as a taboo or shameful, something that should be hidden and not discussed. Frequently a girl’s entrance into womanhood is an unmarked event. For the majority of young women this is a hush-hush event. It’s whispered about rather than celebrated. She is initiated with shame and secrecy. Some girls think they are bleeding to death when they get their first period, it is a terrifying experience. Some girls have received their education from TV and have heard stories about “The Curse”. It’s hard to have a positive image of something that happens every month to your body when you’re spoon fed this type of information.  It doesn’t have to be this way. The inner workings of the female body are amazing and wondrous!! I’m excited to explore and expose the mysteries of the female body here on this website!

So let’s talk a little more about menarche, which is the word for a young woman’s very first period. Its origins are Greek, men- means month, and arche  means beginning. Generally speaking, in order to have a period one must ovulate first. Science has documented a set chain of hormonal events leading up to and triggering ovulation leading to menstruation approximately two weeks later.

When a girl begins menstruating, her body is still maturing and there’s some debate in regards to how regularly she may ovulate. There is belief that many of a young girl’s menstrual periods are anovulatory, which means that she didn’t ovulate that cycle and may be repeated for many cycles, just a few or perhaps just occasionally. Again, we can safely say that this is going to vary between individuals and every cycle should be considered fertile. Personally, I believe that ovulation is occurring more often than not when a young woman receives her period. Unfortunately there are documented reports of young girls who are being sexually abused becoming pregnant without ever having a period. This happens because ovulation occurs prior to having a menstrual period. We’ll get into more of this later. It is possible for anovulatory cycles to produce spotting or bleeding similar to a period which can be difficult to identify. More often, when ovulation does not occur, menstruation does not occur or may occur irregularly.

 

References & Resources:

Human Reproductive Biology 3rd Edition. 2006

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