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How to count your menstrual cycle

Keeping track of your period is easy!

Keeping track of your menstrual cycle can help you prepare for your period and better predict when your next period will be.

By the end of this post, you will have learned how to count your period cycle and other helpful tips to predict when your period is coming.

Let’s get started! All you need to get started is a calendar and a pencil.

Step 1: Write down the first day that you bleed.
The first day of my cycle was January 13.

how to count menstrual cycle

Step 2: Write down any PMS symptoms, how long you bled for, and what your flow was like.
By keeping track of any PMS symptoms, we can use them to predict when our next period is!

Keeping track of how long you bled and whether your flow was heavy, normal, or light. will help us prepare for our period. This way you know how many and what type of pads/tampons to bring with you.

Sometimes it may not be crystal clear how many days you bled for because maybe you bled very lightly or spotted for the last couple days and aren’t sure which days to count. This is okay. It’s not important that you know exactly how many days you bled for. Just try to get a general idea of how long you bleed for.

I bled for 5 days. The first couple days were heavy and then became lighter. Leading up to my period, I had lower back aches and some cramps. During my period, I experienced cramps again and felt moody.

What are some PMS symptoms?

What are some PMS symptoms?

Before your period begins, hormonal changes in your body may cause other symptoms known as PMS or pre-menstrual syndrome. You can use these symptoms in addition to keeping track on your calendar to help you figure out when your period is coming.

Some of these symptoms may include:

  • Feeling moody or irritable
  • Lower back ache
  • Sore breasts
  • Cramps in lower part of your tummy
  • Ache along your inner thighs
  • Breaking out in acne
  • Headache
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Feeling bloated
  • Changes in appetite

You may not experience all of these symptoms or any of these symptoms at all. Every girl experiences a different set of symptoms.

how to count menstrual cycle

Step 3: Write down the first day of your NEXT period

how to count menstrual cycle

Step 4: Count the days!
How long is my period cycle? Help me count the days!

Count the days starting at first day you bled to the day before your next period.

how to count menstrual cycle

Click to enlarge

Did you get 28 days?

how to count menstrual cycle

Click to enlarge

Step 5: Predict your next period.
Now that we know how long your period cycle is, we can just use it to count the days to predict your next period.
 
My period cycle is 28 days so if I count 28 days from February 10, that’s when my next period should come.

how to count menstrual cycle

Click to enlarge

So I should expect my period to come on… March 10!
 

Will my period always come on time?

No, your menstrual cycle may not always come on time. The length of your menstrual cycle may vary from cycle to cycle. As you get older, the length of your menstrual cycle may even change.

Sometimes your period may be late and sometimes it maybe early. This is especially true during your first couple years of having your period. As you become older and more familiar with your body, you will develop a better understanding of when your period will come.

Starting your period is a huge step and this can take some getting used to for your body. You may find that your period is sometimes a day or two late or early or sometimes you may even miss a period all together. This is completely normal. (For those that are sexually active, keep in mind that a missed period may be an indicator that you are pregnant.)
 

Don’t worry! We can also use PMS symptoms to predict when our period will come.

As you become more familiar with your period, you will notice that you experience the same PMS symptoms leading up to your period.

For example, in step 2 I marked down that I had lower back aches and cramps.

If my period comes on time like I predicted, I should expect to feel these symptoms at around the same time again.

If I experience these symptoms earlier than I predicted, then I can predict that my period will come early

If my period is late then I may expect to feel these symptoms later and expect my period soon after.

If you keep track of your period by counting the days and keep track of your symptoms, then you can use both to better predict and prepare for your period!

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About Dedy Wong

Dedy lives in Vancouver, BC and is a 2014 graduate of the University of British Columbia with a B.A. in Psychology. She is the blogger, writer, photographer, and tester for all the reviews and articles on the blog.Her menstrual cycle is around 35 to 40 days long and she has tried just about everything from menstrual cups to reusable pads.

47 comments

  1. Should i be consern if i got my period on the 26 of feb and ended on the 3rd of march??then on the 4 last days of march i spotted and on the 3rf of april knw we are on the 14 of april and i havent got my period but i do have cramps

    • Hi Sandra,

      Feb 26 – March 3 is 6 days. That sounds normal to me!

      If you spotted on the last 4 days of march that MAY have been your period OR it could be a sign that you ovulated. I can’t give you a definite answer but that is my guess! If you have cramps then it sounds like your period is coming soon so just be prepared :)!

      I hope that helps Sandra! You’re doing an awesome job keeping track of your period! Keep it up superstar!!

      Your friend,
      -Dedy
      The Period Blog

  2. My February period start from 26th feb to 2nd march & start again on 26th march & ends 30th march. How many days cycle, & when do i expect the next cycle, & how do i know when my ovulation start.thx

    • Hi Anita,

      Have you tried following the instructions in this post yet? Because it sounds like you have all the information you need to calculate the length of your period :).

      Hint: Day 1 of period to Day 1 of next period. Count the days in-between for the length of your cycle.

      Your friend,
      -Dedy
      The Period Blog

  3. My last period was 11th nov last year how do i work mine out they are so irregular. Is there less chance i can concieve?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Kelly,

      If your period is irregular, you just always have to be ready. Wear a panty liner when you suspect your period is coming and always have pads with you. Sometimes it can just be a wait and see game with irregular periods. There’s no definite way to keep track of an irregular period. But I would suggest you to keep track like you are right now so you have a better sense of your menstrual cycle when your period normalizes. It’s normal for periods to be irregular in the first couple years of having a period.

      If you are trying to conceive, I suggest you seek advice from your doctor. Every body is different.

      Your friend,
      -Dedy
      The Period Blog

  4. I didn’t see my menstration for Jan, then I saw for.Feb 15 and I didn’t see for march and we now in April pls do u think its wrong.

    • Hi Deenachi,

      Is this your first couple years of having your period? Also have you been sexually active?

      It’s normal for your period to be irregular in the first couple years.

      Your friend,
      -Dedy
      The Period Blog

  5. Hello, I’m 19years old
    I was recently diagnosed with polycystic ovaries and now I’m on pills(medroxyprogesterone acetate) for 6 months.I started the tablets immediately on Feb 17 and had to take it for 5 days.On Feb 26 I had my 1st menstrual cycle after pills.My doctor told me to then start the tablets again on the 19th to 23rd day of my periods.So I again took pills on march 16 for 5 days and had my 2nd menstrual cycle on 24 march.
    Now I’m confused if I have taken my pills on the right time. Secondly,please tell me how do I count my days. Thirdly, when should I next take my pills. Fourthly, was my 2nd menstrual cycle on time(coz I feel it was too early to happen)
    Plz let me knw if you have understood my questions and plz explain me stepwise.
    Thank you

    • Hi xxxxxx,

      I’m very sorry but my knowledge on polycystic ovaries is very limited. I suggest you visit your doctor again with the same information you just posted here. You’re doing a great job at keeping track of the details. Keep it up. It will help your doctor a lot.

      Your friend,
      -Dedy
      The Period Blog

  6. I saw my last period on 27 of Feb and my cycle is 28 days so wen am I likely to see it because am confuse

    • Hi Omah,

      Was Feb 27 the first day of your last period? Take out a calendar (Feb and March). From Feb 27, count 28 days. What day is that? That is the day you should expect your period.

      I hope that helps!

      Your Friend,
      -Dedy
      The Period Blog

  7. I’m confused on when should I start counting my period, first I get vaginal discharge and itching. Then brown discharge/blood for 2 days, the next day light bleeding. Please help

    • Hi Mary,

      Count the first day you bleed to the first day you bleed during your next period. The sum of all the days inbetween is how long your cycle is :).

      I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any questions!

      Your friend,
      -Dedy
      The Period Blog

  8. i have a question…i barley started taking birth control pills last week for the first time and I’m on the second week already and I’m spotting blood, the doctors told me that I’m not suppose to start my period until I’m on the last week of my birth control.. I’m sort of scared.. what if iam pregnant?

  9. When do you count the 1st day of your period. Sometimes I have light days before I actually start bleeding heavy? Do I count the 1st light day?

    • Hi Julie,

      Count the first day you start bleeding, even if it’s light. You can even mark down which days are light and which are heavy. Overtime you will notice a pattern. For many girls keeping track of their period will help them prepare – so if that is also your goal then mark the first day even if it’s light so you can prepare by always having pads and pantyliners on hand.

      I hope that helps Julie. Let me know if you have any questions.

      Your friend,
      -Dedy
      The Period Blog

  10. I had my period January 16, and again on February 23rd and now it is March and I haven’t seen my period yet, I had sex on March 7, is it possible I might be pregnant ? Or do I have a long cycle than average ?

  11. Pls don’t understand my period length. Jan was 2nd, 30th, Feb 25. Pls Web is my next period and length of periods.

    • Hi Mrs ilori,

      If the first day of your periods are Jan 2, then Jan 30, then Feb 25, you just count the days inbetween.

      Jan 2 to Jan 30 is 28 days
      Jan 30 to Feb 25 is 26 days

      So far it seems like your period is around 26-28 days. To calculate when your next period is, add 26 days to Feb 25. You should expect your next period around that time.

      Good job keeping track. Keep it up and soon you will notice a pattern!

      I hope that helps.

      Your friend,
      -Dedy
      The Period Blog

  12. I had my period on february 17,so now I’m on march 20,my period still not coming,I just wanna know if I’m getting pregnant.Thanks

  13. My last period was feb 17 2015 and haven’t had one yet is this normal.

    • Hi Luz,

      How many days is your cycle normally? When did you get your first period?

      It’s normal for a period to be irregular in the first couple years of your period. And it’s also normal for periods to be a little late sometimes too. It’s different for everyone. As you get older, you’ll become more familiar with your period and what’s normal for your body.

      -Dedy

  14. Am so confused my last period was on 8th of February 2015,and I spotted a brownish pinkish stain on the 13th of march and my breast felt lighter on the 13th is everything ok?as I am trying to get pregnant fast

  15. Last month my period was 12 February 2015.I have a 25 cycle length,i am expecting my next period on the 9th of march .but today is 10th nothing have taken place.I am feeling cramps In my legs and my lower abdomen. What is the problem

    • Hi Lisa,

      It’s okay if your period is a late. If you have just started your period within the last couple years, it is very normal for a period to be irregular. Having a period is a big step for your body so it takes some time for your body to get used to having a regular period. This means sometimes your period may be late like what you are experiencing right now. Just wait and be prepared with pads and tampons in your bag :).

      If you have been sexually active and suspect you may be pregnant, you may want to visit your doctor. I hope this helps.

      Your friend,
      -Dedy

  16. wat happens 2 me if i hav sex a day or within d week after my period am i goin 2 get pregnant

  17. Hi,
    What if you get your periods like very random. I keep track and all but it comes on random days is it unusual and how should I deal with it??

    • Hi Janny,

      Good job on keeping track of your period! It’s normal for your period to be irregular in the first couple years of getting it. The best thing to do is always be prepared for your period. So make sure you always have a couple of pads or tampons with you and if you are expecting your period, you may want to wear a pantiliner on those days. Also, continue keeping track of your period. You will soon see a pattern as your body becomes more used to having a period. I hope that helps :).

      Your friend,
      -Dedy

  18. I had my last period in jan 24, in between i had sexual contact with my special someone, but feb 14 my predicted time past, is it called delayd, can you help me… Now if sufferring from stress… Thanks a lot…

  19. I had my first period at January 27 2015 when is my next period I’m really small and I don’t know how to count cycles
    thnx

  20. So for every lady its 28days?

    • Hi casey,

      No not every lady is 28 days. 28 days is the average. Some ladies are much longer like 35 days where as some girls are shorter like 25 days. 28 is the average meaning for example if we took a random sample of 100 ladies, asked each one how long their period was, summed that up and then divided by100, we would get an average of about 28 days. I hope that answers helps! Let me know if you don’t understand, I’ll be happy to explain it in a different way for you :).
      Your friend,
      -dedy

  21. HI I just got my period for the first time ever today. It sucks! I have massive cramps, and I don’t know how to judge my flow… Also how long will this last and when should I expect it again?
    The newest Newbie

    • Hi Newbie!

      Congrats on your first period! Since it is your first one, you’ll just have to wait and see how long it will last. Your period will likely come back in around 28 days but it is very normal for your next period to be irregular since it is only your first one. It may show up much earlier than 28 days (maybe one week later) or much longer than 28 days (maybe 2 months later) but don’t worry this is normal when your body is new to having a period. Just make sure you have a pad on you at all times just in case :)!

      Good luck girl!
      -Dedy

  22. Last month my period started on the 4th. Approximately what day should it start this month?

  23. Usually do not throw all of the right time which you have spent constructing this site away.

  24. I also need your help too, to help me calculate my ovulation , my menstruation is 12 of this month it last five days when will my ovulation start

  25. Is ovulation pain a thing? I keep hearing girls talk about it.

    Also, can you please do a blog post like this except for ovulation like an ovulation calendar?

    -Sarah B

  26. Looking to get pregnant

    This is really useful. Thanks so much!

    Have you thought about making an ovulation calculator? I am looking for one to calculate my ovulation because I am trying to get pregnant.

    Can you review an ovulation calculator app for me? What’s the best ovulation calculator app?

    Please help! Thanks so much! Love your blog!!!

    xx.

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