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Cycle Syncing: The Luteal Phase

menstrual cycle Apr 25, 2023
The Luteal Phase is the fourth and final phase of your cycle. If you are trying to get pregnant this is the most important phase for staying pregnant and setting the tone for a healthy pregnancy.

For the entire month of April, we’re diving deep into each phase of the Menstrual Cycle. With each phase, I’ll cover how to sync your life with your cycle to have healthier hormones and easier periods!

This week I’m talking all about final phase in this series, the Luteal Phase. If you have missed the past three blogposts, you can find them below:

  1. The Menstrual Phase

  2. The Follicular Phase

  3. The Ovulation Phase


What’s going on during this phase:

The Luteal Phase is the fourth and final phase of your cycle. If you are trying to get pregnant this is the most important phase for staying pregnant and setting the tone for a healthy pregnancy.

Last week I talked about how during ovulation there is a sack of tissue in the ovary called the Corpus Luteum. The Corpus Luteum starts to produce progesterone, the pregnancy hormone, after the egg is released

Progesterone is not only needed to support pregnancy. It is also important for supporting mood. If levels drop too quickly or too soon in the Luteal Phase, you can experience worse PMS symptoms or PMDD, which is really severe mood shifts during that PMS time period.

Progesterone is the star of the show during this phase. Your focus should be on supporting progesterone during this time to improve fertility and reduce PMS symptoms.

If estrogen and progesterone are dropping too early in this phase, you can experience PMS symptoms for 1-2 weeks, before your period.

PMS is often an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone. There are three ways these hormones can get off balance.

  1. high estrogen, normal progesterone

  2. normal estrogen, low progesterone

  3. high estrogen, high progesterone

Each of these imbalances can cause a varying of severity of PMS symptoms. You must get these hormones balanced in order to experience less PMS symptoms. Focusing on progesterone and preventing your hormones from dropping too quickly, too soon can help to get these hormones back in balance.

You will know what you are doing is working when your period comes on time and without many symptoms leading up to it.



To support progesterone in the Luteal Phase,

During the Luteal Phase, metabolism speeds up and we require 250 more calories! This means it’s important not to restrict yourself during this time, if you feel hungry.

Hungry is different from cravings. If you feel like you are constantly craving sugar or craving it after every meal that could be related to hormone imbalance. Listen to your body to determine if you are actually hungry and any food will satisfy or if you are experiencing a craving.

Consider the following foods during this phase, to best support progesterone.

  1. High fiber foods: apples, pears, beans, lentils, and brown rice. These foods will help prevent constipation. Higher levels of estrogen are found in women with constipation. This is because the estrogen is lingering in your gut and then being reabsorbed into your bloodstream instead of being eliminated through your stool. Make sure you are also staying hydrated to reduce constipation.

  2. Foods high in magnesium: leafy greens, avocados, nuts and seeds, dark chocolate, and bananas. This improves symptoms like headaches, insomnia, cramping, and anxiety.

  3. Foods high in vitamin C: strawberries, broccoli, peppers, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, carrots. Think of the brightly colored fruits and vegetables!

  4. Reducing (or eliminating) alcohol and caffeine. Alcohol is known to increase estrogen levels. Alcohol puts a load on the liver, which is where we break down estrogen. If the liver has to focus on breaking down alcohol, breaking down estrogen will take a back seat. Caffeine can cause blood vessels to dilate, leading to more bleeding and more headaches. If you deal with heavy periods and PMS, it may help to cut down on caffeine during this phase.


Seed Cycling:

Seeds can be a powerful tool in helping to regulate your hormones throughout your cycle. To learn more about what seed cycling is, how to do it, and why it helps your hormones listen to Heal Your Hormones Podcast 60: Seed Cycling with Funk It Wellness Founder Kate Morton!

During the Ovulatory Phase, consider eating the following seeds:

  1. Sesame Seeds

  2. Sunflower Seeds

These seeds are high in selenium and vitamin E, which both support progesterone production.

Add the seeds to yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, or energy bites.

Keep in mind it takes 3-4 months to see a shift in your PMS symptoms. Be consistent and patient with seed cycling in order to allow time for your hormones to change.



Because supplements are so bio-individual, I will not be discussing supplements too much in this series.

There are two supplements, both of which do not have many side effects, that can support your hormones during the Luteal Phase.

  1. Vitamin B6 is best for supporting PMS symptoms and progesterone production. If you have mild to moderate PMS, you can take it every day during the second half of your cycle, starting around day 14. If your symptoms are severe, you may want to consider taking it every day, until you notice symptoms have improved.

  2. Magnesium Glycinate helps to reduces cramps, anxiety, and promote better sleep. Take it before bed to help calm you down.



At the beginning of this phase, hormones will still be high. This will result in continued higher energy.

However, once hormone levels begin to drop, you may start to feel tired, less motivated, and less social.

Because so much is changing during the Luteal Phase, exercise will look different from the beginning of the phase compared to the end of the phase. This is why listening to your body and respecting it is important!

Earlier during this phase, right after ovulation, hormones and energy is still high. This means you can bring over the exercise routine from the Ovulatory Phase. This includes more intense exercises like strength training, challenging hikes, and hot yoga.

As you move later into the Luteal Phase, you will want to consider more gentle forms of movement. This includes yoga, easier pilates classes, and shorter walks.

Every cycle can be different, so check in with your body and move in a way that feels good without stressing it out.

You may notice that you will get more tired more quickly during the day, so consider getting your exercise in earlier in the day.

The Luteal Phase is where women seem to struggle the most. If you are overwhelmed by focusing on all of the phases of your cycle, I recommend starting with this phase!

That’s a wrap on this series! I hope this has been helpful and given you some ideas on how to connect with your body throughout the month.

If you are interested in learning more about the Luteal Phase, check out episode 68 on the Heal Your Hormones Podcast: Cycle Syncing: The Luteal Phase

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