Every woman has a different menstrual cycle. Learn to understand your own, and how it affects your fertility. The first step is to start a journal of your cycle. Write down a note for each day of how you feel and how your body seems to react. If you do this for a few months, you'll have a good idea of how your own personal cycle works.

Day 1
All period trackers begin Day 1 with the day that you first begin bleeding. This is because this is the most obvious sign that your cycle makes to you that it's in a 'stage'. So in your journal, mark down each new cycle, starting your count again at Day 1. You have heavy cramps, and your body is getting rid of the stuff from the last month's cycle that it no longer needs.

Day 6
Most women are done bleeding by Day 6. You may bleed for a day more or less. Around this point, your ovaries are being sent FSH as an indication that they should be ready to release a new egg into the system. The egg begins preparing for release. Also, now that your uterus is nice and clean, it begins growing a new lining, to make a 'bed' for a potentially fertilized egg to come rest in.

Day 14
Around this date is the release of your egg into the fallopian tube. Your body gets a bit warmer - if you take your temperature daily you may be able to see this. You might feel a bit crampy, and might even spot a bit of blood. For the next 3 days, as the egg moves down the fallopian tube, is the ideal time for the sperm to meet the egg and fertilize it.

Day 20
At this point the egg is in the uterus, and your body is waiting to see if it's fertilized and is going to need attention. The hormones used to prepare the body can make you irritable and even make your skin break out. Your breasts will get a bit swollen, your body will bloat a bit, and you'll crave goods that your body thinks you'll need to support this potential new child.

Eventually your body realizes that the egg isn't fertilized, and begins to prepare to wash out the unnecessary material, which sends you back to Day 1.

Note that it might take a woman's body many, many years to settle down into a predictable cycle. Many women never do. Learn to judge your own cycle, and what is normal for you.

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