Can Short Menstrual Cycles Affect Fertility?

Have you been to the doctor recently? If so, you might have been asked questions about your menstrual cycle. This is a standard routine to help your OB/GYN gain more insight into your health—especially if you are trying to conceive or learn more about your fertility. 

A Women’s Menstrual Cycle 

Most women’s average menstrual cycle lasts 28 days Within the first 7 days, your body will shed the lining built up in your uterus and you will bleed about ¼ cups of blood. After the bleeding stops, your ovaries will prepare for an egg to be fertilized. If your egg isn’t fertilized by male sperm, your body will get ready for another period.  

In this whole cycle, there will be times when you are the most fertile. You are most likely to conceive during your ovulation — when your ovaries release an egg. This usually occurs midway through your cycle, about 12 to 14 days before your next period.  

Short Menstrual Cycles And Fertility 

Short menstrual cycles indicate that conceiving can be a challenge for you. Your ovaries might contain fewer eggs, or you are ovulating too fast. This means that your eggs aren’t mature enough to be fertilized and your uterine lining isn’t thickening enough for your eggs to be implanted. Or your eggs could be completely normal and ready on days seven through ten. 

There are 14 days between your period and your ovulation. So, if we’re talking about a short 21-day cycle and you attempt to conceive on day 14, this would be a form of contraception and your chances of conceiving will be very low. The best time to attempt this is on day 6 to help you conceive. 

On the other hand, longer or irregular cycles also make conceiving more difficult. It means that your ovulation is not regular. It could mean that your follicles are not maturing, and progesterone isn’t released. Your uterus lining would continue to build up until it eventually becomes unstable and fall — and this kickstarts your period and your new cycle. If you have a long cycle and want to get pregnant, look for cervical mucus. 

Tracking Your Cycle  

How do you know if there is an issue? The best way to do this is to track your ovulation. This would help you pinpoint when your ovulations start, the length of your cycle, how long your period is, and the symptoms you may experience.  

A simple way of doing this is through a Basal Body Temperature or BBT. A BBT can be used to predict fertility by helping you gauge the best days to conceive or to avoid unprotected sex. Your BBT is your body’s temp when you are at rest. Ovulation can cause a slight increase in this and can help you establish ovulation. 

You can also track your ovulation through over-the-counter urine tests. Your test will turn positive 2 days or so before day 12 of your cycle. Ovulation should happen on day 14. Similarly, there are electric fertility monitors that measure hormones in your urine to help you know when you are fertile.  

You can also ask your healthcare provider to conduct an ultrasound on day 6 or 7 to help you look for follicles.  

Increasing Fertility  

It is important to remember that there are many factors that can affect fertility. Your short cycle might not be causing you any difficulties in conceiving. It could be a semen problem, STis, and more. The main thing you need to do for your short cycle is to establish ovulation to help your chances of conceiving increase. 

Please see my podcast on short menstrual cycles and their impact on fertility for additional information.  

If you are looking for a place to ask your questions about pregnancy and delivery in a safe environment, please visit my supporter site or check out my FaceBook supporter group, Safe Pregnancy Advice. 



Dr. Alan Lindemann

Obstetrician-Gynecologist (OB/GYN)​

He is an obstetrician and maternal mortality expert with 4 decades of medical practice beginning in Minnesota and presently in North Dakota. He has delivered around 6,000 babies with zero maternal deaths.

Why should you support Rural Doc Alan?

Dr. Lindemann delivered 6000 babies for over 40 years with no maternal mortalities, no eclampsia, and no babies with cerebral palsy. He tells his story here of how he did this in a medical environment that really doesn’t do well with deliveries. He openly admits that much he learned about safe pregnancy came from his patients, not medical books. Donating here will help spread the word to women everywhere so they can learn about safe pregnancy.