I am confused about how to tell when I ovulate. Help! #728/12

Dear Dr. Hatcher,

Could you tell me if it is normal for my period to return 21 days after my last day?  I realized something was different when I started taking birth control pills 8 years ago.  When I was on the pill my period came exactly 21 days after the first day, so I’m confused.  Please explain how and when I check to see when I am ovulating.  After the 21st pill in a row what happens?

You will NOT BE OVULATING if you are taking birth control pills.


Her reply on 7-14: “I am not currently on birth control, but when I was, my period used to come 21 days after the first day of my last period.  But now that I’m off birth control, my period comes back 21 days after the last day and not the first day.  I was not in a relationship for the past 5 years, but now I’m in a new one and I don’t have any kids and I would like to have children.  I am 32 years old, so I want to know when and how do I know if I’m ovulating.”


I am assuming that you have not been on birth control pills in the past 6 months.  If NOT…if you can, please tell me the dates of the first day of each of your last 6 periods.  I will then be able to give you a much better answer.


Her reply on 7-17: “Thanks for replying doctor, but I’ve been off birth control now since 2009.  Here are the dates of my last six periods as you requested: February 5 (Sunday), March 1 (Thursday), April 22 (Sunday), May 19 (Saturday), June 8 (Friday) and July 4 (Wednesday).”


Your 5 most recent cycles off of any birth control pills have been 24, 25, 27, 20, and 26 days, if I understand when your periods started correctly.  Generally the date you ovulated was 14 or so days before each of those first days of bleeding (if you were ovulating that cycle).


To learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of the NuvaRing, implants and progestin-only pills, go to our website: www.managingcontraception.com and click on Choices.  You can also order this wonderful new educational book from our website or by calling 404-875-5001.  Do you have your copy now?

Key Words:  period, menses, birth control pills, ovulating, relationship, cycles, bleeding


Posted on

July 26, 2012