Does February Mess Up Your Period? Experts Say Calendar Dates Don't Make A Difference
When it comes to regulating your menstrual cycle, there’s really no such thing as a guarantee. Even if you’ve never forgotten to take your birth control on time since you first hopped on the pill, periods tend to operate around their own clock, so it's best to keep your expectations low, or at least neutral. For example, if Mother Nature knocked on your door on Jan. 5, don’t count on her coming back around on the exact same date and exact same time next month. Still, I can understand why you might ask if February messes up your period, specifically, especially if you tend to bleed toward the end of the month. Rest assured, though, calendar dates have zero monopoly over your female parts, so there’s no need to panic.
To me, February has always been a blessing and a curse because it’s one of — if not the — coldest months of the year, but it’s also only 28 days long. You blink, and it’s onto March, and spring is so close you can almost wake up and smell the flowers. February also feels weird in general for that reason, too, as if shaving two or three days off of the calendar upsets the status quo somehow. In that case, why wouldn’t you be curious about how the shortened month affects the human body?
So if you have been wondering whether the month of February actually has the power to interrupt the inner workings of the female reproductive system, and maybe just felt a little silly putting that out into the universe, I reached out to experts in the space to get a definitive answer once and for all. Remember, there’s no such thing as a stupid question, especially when it comes to matters of the human body. You have a right to know what sorts of things could affect your menstrual cycle, and if you never ask, you’ll never know.
That being said, you can rest easy come Feb. 1, because according to Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG, director of perinatal services at NYC Health and Hospitals/Lincoln, who's double board-certified in OB/GYN and maternal fetal medicine, your menstrual cycle has nothing to do with what month it is, nor how many days are in that month. “The length of a month is not going to 'change' the frequency of [your period],” Dr. Gaither tells Elite Daily over email. “A normal menstrual cycle is anywhere from every 21 to 45 days, with the average being 28 days,” and it is not dependent on calendar dates, she adds.
Are you exhaling a sigh of relief RN? I’m sure you’re not the only one. Or maybe you’re reading through this article with a smirk because you kind of figured the answer was an obvious one, but think about it: Have you noticed your period changing its ETA from January to February? It’s likely to happen to all of us at some point or another, and that’s because there’s always going to be some variation to your menstrual cycle, and what that means is, it’s not going to come on the same calendar day of every single month.
According to the director of health education at Cycle Technologies, Ann Mullen, your cycle can vary from month to month, and the length of a period can last anywhere from one to seven days. So if, say, for a few months, your period came on the eighth of the month, and suddenly you get it on the sixth the next month, you’re not necessarily “early.” The timing of your period might just be changing ever so slightly, and that’s completely normal. Though, Mullen says, the switch-up does speak to the value of tracking your period so that you know, at least generally speaking, when you can expect to bleed.
"When you track your cycles, it helps you to understand your own natural variability and to pay attention to that and not to calendar months," Mullen tells Elite Daily. To track your cycle, you could stick to a traditional journaling method, or you might want to try experimenting with an app that logs the beginning, end, and symptoms of your average cycle.
"With our Dot app, we have purposefully included the capability to recognize when a person’s cycles show wide variability and the app sends notifications to alert the user," Mullen says. In other words, you won't have to rely on a calendar, but rather, your body to know when your period's coming. Clever, right?