How Understanding Their Cycles Can Help Teens Avoid Pregnancy
Considering that it’s National Teen Pregnancy Prevention month, we want to do our part in supporting the cause. While teen pregnancy is at an all time low in the United States, it still ranks higher here than in most developed countries.
It’s our belief that we all can play a role in helping prevent teen pregnancy. So we want to empower you as a friend, mom, aunt, or teacher to educate teen girls about their bodies and to talk about the effective ways to prevent pregnancy.
What do teen girls need to know about their cycle?
Do you remember what it was like to go through puberty? Confusing. Overwhelming. And just downright hard. And because it’s confusing, it’s essential to teach girls what is normal for their bodies and what to expect.
First and foremost, girls need to know what a normal menstrual cycle looks like. A menstrual cycle is determined by the number of days from the first day of one period to the day before the next one begins. Typical cycles are between 21- 35 days long, but it’s not unusual, especially when a girl is just starting to menstruate for her cycles to be irregular.
It’s also important to understand the hormonal fluctuations that happen each month. This cycle of hormones is what helps the body prepare for a pregnancy, and it can play havoc on your emotions.
Studies show that many attempted suicides and cases of violence in girls often happen when their emotions are at an all time high in their cycle. Knowledge about emotional changes empowers teen girls to prepare for a temporary storm of emotions.
And it’s not just your hormones that start acting crazy. Many teens will observe other symptoms that they will likely wonder about. While many sex ed classes address the facts about sex, they rarely discuss the symptoms that accompany a girl’s menstrual cycle leaving many in the dark about how their bodies work.
With little information about their body’s processes, it’s easy for girls to think that something is wrong with their bodies. But really the body is doing EXACTLY what it’s supposed to be doing. Hormones, emotions, and symptoms go hand-in-hand with a healthy reproductive system.
Why should teens learn about fertility symptoms?
The symptoms of fertility should be a teen girl’s best friend. But many teens have no idea what’s going on or see them as a nuisance rather than a help. Educating teens about their symptoms gives them the ability to make smart choices for their bodies.
One of the most obvious symptoms is seeing some “white stuff” in her underwear around the middle of her cycle. This is cervical mucus, and rather than thinking her body is gross, it’s important for a teenage girl to know that this is a sign that her body is actually doing exactly what it’s supposed to do - it’s preparing to release an egg that could result in a baby if it’s fertilized. It’s also good for her to know that she is at her highest risk for pregnancy when cervical mucus is present.
Teens who pay attention to their cycles and symptoms are also more alert to health concerns. They learn when something isn’t right with their reproductive system. They can identify, for example, signs of a UTI or yeast infection.
And last but not least, tracking their symptoms can help teens prepare for the ebb and flow of their cycles. They can prepare for their period and prepare themselves for hormonal or emotional changes that they may experience.
Can tracking her cycles and symptoms help prevent a teenager from getting pregnant?
Tracking your cycles can be empowering. It helps girls understand their bodies and know what to expect.
Many girls use contraceptives, but not always consistently. It is important for her to understand how her body works, and when she is most at risk for pregnancy, so she can make better choices and find methods that will work consistently and correctly for her - whether that’s an IUD, an injectable, or a user-directed method like the pill, condoms, or even fertility awareness.
Being aware of symptoms alerts her to important time frames when she is at risk for pregnancy. Rather than guessing about the days of her cycle, she can identify potentially fertile days, which helps her make smart decisions.
Understanding the “why’s” of her body is also helpful in considering contraceptive options. Instead of viewing contraceptives as a quick fix solution or an after thought, she can instead make an informed choice about what is right for her body and be proactive about her decisions.
By helping teen girls learn how to track their cycles, and understand how their bodies work, you are giving them the tools to make smart choices. Choices that are informed and knowledge-based as opposed to choices based on hearsay and misunderstandings.
"Tracking Your Period and Why It's Important." All About Women: Obstetrics and Gynecology(blog). Accessed May 16, 2018. https://www.allaboutwomenmd.com/knowledge-center/tracking-your-period.html.
Migeon, Anna. "Cycle Mindfulness: What Happens When You Teach Fertility Awareness to Teen Girls." Natural Womanhood(blog), March 18, 2017. Accessed May 16, 2018.
"National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month." Health and Human Services(blog), February 23, 2017. Accessed May 16, 2018. https://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/news/teen-pregnancy-prevention-month/index.html
"Preparing Your Child for Menstruation." Mayo Clinic(blog), August 24, 2017. Accessed May 16, 2018. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/tween-and-teen-health/in-depth/menstruation/art-20046004.
Developed by Cycle Technologies, Dot™ uses a patent-pending contraceptive technology based on Dynamic Optimal Timing™. Learn more about Dot on our website www.DotTheApp.com and connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. To subscribe to our newsletter, please click here.