How to Treat your Body During your Luteal Phase


23 April 2024

Discover effective self-care tips for your luteal phase. Learn about diet, exercise, and emotional well-being to manage symptoms and enhance health.

The menstrual cycle is a complex monthly rhythm that influences influences the reproductive health for women and those assigned female at birth, and is divided into phases, the follicular phase and the luteal phase.

The luteal phase occurs post-ovulation and lasts approximately 14 days, preparing the body for a potential pregnancy. During this time, hormonal shifts may lead to mood swings, bloating, and fatigue. Thus, prioritising self-care during this time is paramount. Adequate sleep, balanced nutrition, and stress management can alleviate symptoms, promoting physical and emotional wellbeing.

In this guide, we’ll explore a number of strategies to help you embrace the luteal phase that will help you foster a harmonious relationship with your body.

Understanding the Luteal Phase

The luteal phase follows ovulation and precedes menstruation, lasting for about 12-14 days. During this stage, a ruptured follicle transforms into the corpus luteum, a temporary endocrine gland. This is accompanied by a surge in progesterone, a hormone critical for preparing the uterine lining for potential embryo implantation. Simultaneously, oestrogen levels fluctuate, impacting mood and energy levels. If fertilisation does not occur, the corpus luteum atrophies, leading to a decline in progesterone and triggering the shedding of the uterine lining.

When Is the Luteal Phase?

The luteal phase is the second half of your menstrual cycle, marking the period between when you ovulate and when you menstruate. To pinpoint this 12-14 day stage, you’ll need a broader understanding of your menstrual cycle. Read our blog on Everything You Need to Know About Your Ovulation Cycle to familiarise yourself with the different stages of your cycle and align self-care practices accordingly.

Common Luteal Phase Symptoms

During the luteal phase, it’s common to experience a range of symptoms, including:

  • Mood changes: Hormonal fluctuations can lead to heightened emotional sensitivity.
  • Bloating: Many individuals experience bloating during the luteal phase, often attributed to hormonal changes affecting water retention.
  • Energy fluctuations: Changes in progesterone levels may cause variations in energy levels, with some feeling more fatigued.
  • Discharge changes: It’s normal to experience changes in discharge during the luteal phase, including increased thickness and stickiness.

Luteal Phase Self-Care Strategies

During the luteal phase, self-care strategies can help you manage the unique physical and emotional changes you may experience. Let’s take a look at how you can proactively support your wellbeing.

Nutritional Support

A balanced diet can help to support hormonal balance and a healthy menstrual cycle. To offer your body the support it needs during this time, make sure you receive an adequate intake of the following:

  • Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, to helps stabilise blood sugar levels and minimise fatigue
  • Omega-3 fatty acids from sources like fish or flaxseeds, to ease inflammation
  • Magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens and nuts, to address bloating and support muscle relaxation

In addition to the above, you should keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and reduce your caffeine intake.

Luteal Phase Exercise Guidelines

During the luteal phase, opt for exercises like yoga, walking, or low-intensity strength training to accommodate potential energy fluctuations. Listen to your body, adjusting both intensity and duration based on your energy levels. If fatigued, consider gentler activities, focusing on flexibility and relaxation. On higher energy days, consider moderate aerobic exercises. This adaptable approach ensures you stay active while respecting your body's signals.

Lifestyle Modifications

Simple lifestyle changes can significantly impact how you feel during the luteal phase. Along with maintaining a balanced diet and incorporating gentle exercise into your daily routine, you should prioritise sleep, hydration, and relaxation to boost your mood and relieve stress.

Making time for the activities you love can also have a positive effect on your emotional wellbeing. Some find solace in nature, while others enjoy the escapism of reading or listening to music. Whatever your preference, engaging in activities that bring you joy and peace is key in ensuring a more comfortable experience throughout the luteal phase.

Enhancing Emotional Wellbeing

At this stage of your cycle, you may be struggling with changes in your mood, energy, as well as physical symptoms. To manage your stress levels and promote overall emotional wellness during this time, you can consider mindfulness and stress reduction techniques. From meditation to deep breathing to openly communicating with your support system, these strategies foster emotional resilience and cultivate a positive mindset during this phase of your menstrual cycle.

Stress-Reduction Techniques

With the rising popularity of mindfulness, meditation, and yoga, their significance in stress reduction has become increasingly evident. Mindfulness encourages being present, allowing individuals to navigate their emotions without judgment. Complementing this is meditation, a relaxation technique that mitigates the impact of stress hormones. Meanwhile, yoga is a fusion of physical activity and mindful breathing that fosters emotional balance.

Alone or together, these practices can help to regulate the body's stress response, which can be especially beneficial during times of hormonal fluctuations, such as the luteal phase.


Quality sleep is integral for hormonal balance, as it supports the regulation of cortisol and melatonin, impacting mood and energy levels. During the luteal phase, sleep aids in symptom management, reducing fatigue and promoting overall health and wellness. To optimise the restorative benefits of sleep during this period, you should prioritise a consistent sleep schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine, and ensure a comfortable sleep environment.

When to Seek Professional Help

Distinguishing between normal luteal phase symptoms and potential health or fertility issues is key in ensuring timely intervention and support. To understand the difference, tracking your menstrual cycle can offer valuable insights. Once you’re aware of your usual symptoms, persistent or sudden changes will be more apparent. In these cases, it’s best to consult your GP to rule out general health concerns, such as deficiencies or underlying medical conditions. Depending on your results, you may then wish to reach out to a fertility specialist for a targeted evaluation and management of your reproductive health.

Here at Monash IVF, we specialise in providing comprehensive fertility solutions and personalised care to support you on your reproductive journey. If and when the time comes, we’ll be here to answer your questions and offer expert guidance. Not sure whether you should take the first step? Take a look at our guide on When to Seek Help.

Remember, it’s just a phase!

For some, the luteal phase can be a challenging time. Your hormones are in flux, and this can cause unsettling changes to your body and emotional state. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember the importance of listening to your body during this transient period. Pay attention to your unique symptoms and tailor your routine accordingly. Whether it's adjusting your exercises, practicing mindfulness, or seeking support from friends and family, self-care is key.

For personalised guidance on any aspect of your reproductive health, book a free chat with one of Monash IVF's experienced fertility nurses.

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