So, teccchnically, this phase begins the day you get your moon and lasts 14ish days, or until ovulation. But, because that first part (the 3-7 days when we have our moons) is so different from the rest of the follicular phase, we tend to think of them separately.
So, first things first. What exactly is happening in your body during the follicular phase and also what on earth does follicular mean?
Well, within women’s ovaries are small fluid-filled sacs called follicles that produce and release important hormones like estrogen and progesterone. These follicles also release eggs during ovulation. So, you know...they’re pretty key. And because this is the stage within the full cycle at which those two things happen (the body preps a new egg and estrogen levels rise) it’s named for these fancy pants little follicles that make it all happen.
But y’all, that’s not ALL that’s happening. While the ovaries are busy maturing these follicles, the resulting rise in estrogen also sends signals to the uterus to start regenerating the uterine lining, or endometrium. This thickening, or “proliferation” of the endometrium is why this phase is also known as the “Proliferative Phase” and is the body’s effort to create a friendly environment for a possibly-fertilized egg to implant and grow. Of course, if the egg remains unfertilized, this thick, cozy uterine lining becomes unnecessary and is then shed during your—you guessed it—monthly moon!
So that’s what’s up in the ovaries and uterus during this phase, but what about what’s going on in your head/heart/tear ducts??
All of the prep work your body is doing post-moon but pre-ovulation translates to rising levels of confidence, positivity and overall calm. This is a social refresh, a time for getting creative, for getting in touch with your friends, for focusing on work or for planning a date. Certain studies have even shown that the rising levels of estradiol (a type of estrogen) during this phase help mitigate the effects of adrenaline and cortisol (the stress hormones). So lean in—this is the energetic magic hour!