The Case For Using A Menstrual Cup Before You Get Pregnant
Have you considered how the accessories you use for that time of the month could influence your fertility, your menstrual cycles, and how you birth your baby? It didn't occur to me until my chiropractor suggested I try a menstrual cup.
We were discussing my irregular cycles and premenstrual mood swings, when she reached to the top shelf of her bookshelf and revealed a box full of cups. Dozens of cups, out of their boxes, so I could see every little detail. Every shape and size and color. She handed me one and encouraged me to sort through the box until I found one that I liked.
I dismissed it at first because of a close call with a public-spillage-incident at Disneyland when I first tried a Diva Cup... But she reiterated the environmental reasons for re-usable cups, and I decided to give the Lunette a go.
I giggled when I opened the box and read the words "Meet your vagina's new best friend..." with instructions reassuring me that the first couple of cycles might be "a bit messy—but that once I got the hang of it, I would want to wear my cup all the time." This bit of encouragement got me through that first uncomfortable week. Six months later, I now want every woman to try it for two to three cycles to see if they find their new best friend too.
So why am I suggesting you give it a try before you get pregnant?
As a prenatal and postnatal yoga teacher, I spend a lot of time talking about the pelvic floor. When I first became pregnant, I was more concerned with ensuring my vagina didn't get overstretched than learning how to make it more flexible. Needless to say, I was devoted to my daily Kegel exercises instead of the prenatal yoga exercises designed to "open me up."
In the classes I teach via my studio, MTRNL, we practice recruiting different parts of our pelvis to create stability for our lady parts. We want them to be flexible and strong. We practice things like imagining we are picking up a blueberry (yes, with our vagina...) and then letting it go. Not pushing it out, but letting it drop back to our imaginary blueberry basket on the floor.
Honestly, even after having two babies, and the fact that I had sex with my partner to make those babies, I found the Lunette cup uncomfortable to insert the first few times. But getting it out was even harder. Until I remembered the blueberry exercise! Go on, wherever you are, pick up an imaginary blueberry right now. Then drop it. Cool, huh?
Here are 3 reasons to try a menstrual cup if you're planning to make a baby soon:
1. It can help change your perception of blood.
It may change your perception of blood, making the idea of things like a "mucus plug" or "bloody show" (both of which you will experience before your baby arrives) seem less scary. This may address some of the fears you may—consciously or subconsciously—have about birth.
2. You will become more aware of the various muscles in your pelvic floor.
You'll learn how to be more specific in recruiting the muscles that will be involved in birthing your baby. This can help with avoiding the hemorrhoids that sometimes can show up when you "push too hard" as the baby descends through the birth canal.
3. Your pelvic floor muscles may become more toned.
This will serve you in carrying a heavy uterus and belly so that you're less likely to pee when you cough both during and after pregnancy!
One of the things I love the most about using a cup, after years of using tampons and pads, is that I feel less shame about the fact that my body bleeds once a month. There is no "trash" to dispose of. Instead, emptying a full cup is symbolic of my fertility, of the phenomenal organ that is a uterus and how it can create life, how it is in sync with the new moon, and how that connects me to all other women on the planet.
If you need more motivation, here are five more reasons to ditch your tampons and try the cup on your next cycle.