“That time of the month” aligning with “you may now kiss the bride”? Here’s what to do if you’re supposed to get your period on your wedding day
It WOULD be like Aunt Flo to show up to your wedding uninvited.
We get it. The thought of donning a (very white and probably fitted) dress while on your period can put a real damper on the fun. Throw in cramps while you’re saying your vows, or pausing your first dance to change a tampon, pad, or cup, and you officially have the most disruptive guest possible – worse than your cousin’s twin toddlers.
But even if you’re supposed to start (or be in the middle of) your period on your wedding day, there are some ways you can reduce its impact or even delay its onset altogether.
Prep for the start of your cycle
It’s a good idea to be aware of your menstrual cycle patterns just for your general health, but it’s especially important in the months leading up to your big day. If you’ve never tracked your cycle before, there are plenty of free apps (like Flo or My Calendar) that make the process pretty easy.
You can always go the old-fashioned route too, using a paper calendar, pencil, and good ol’ math. Day 1 of your cycle is always the first day of your period, and the length of your cycle is the number of days until the start of your next period. So for example, if your period starts on February 24th and then again on March 24th, congrats – you’ve had a 28-day cycle.
Make note of certain trends, like the average length of each cycle (a “normal” cycle ranges between 21 and 35 days), the days you experience the heaviest flow, and the duration and severity of any symptoms. Once you’ve gathered a few months worth of data, count your way to the wedding day (or consult your tracking app) and plan ahead. Speak to your doctor about any safe methods to reduce symptoms, tell your maid of honor to carry a few extra tampons, or explore using different feminine products that may be easier to work with while wearing Spanx.
Skip the start of your cycle
If you’re on hormonal birth control, you may be tempted to “skip the white pills” and prevent the onset of your menstrual cycle. But is doing so safe? As with most things wedding-related, you’ll want to prepare ahead of time.
“For women with regular cycles monthly and no major medical issues, early planning is key,” says Christine Chen, MD., MPH, FACOG, an OBGYN with Guthrie Medical Group. “Early planning involves making an appointment to see primary care physicians or or obstetricians-gynecologists at least 3 months prior to the wedding to see if the preferred method of birth control will achieve the desired effect. The preparation time can be considered as a ‘test run.’”
Which birth control options will work? “The best choice is a combined birth control method that contains both estrogen and progesterone,” Dr. Chen advises. “A progesterone-only method can also work. There are several options for both combined estrogen and progesterone or progesterone-only methods.”
If you’re worried about side effects or risks, it’s once again important to speak with your doctor. “Early planning by visiting and discussing your expectations with your physicians can decrease your risks of irregular bleeding and spotting, which are common side effects with birth control methods to delay cycle onset,” explains Dr. Chen. “There are a few risks in taking new medication in general, such as intolerance and common side effects listed by the manufacturers. With estrogen-containing methods, risks can be related to clotting disorder, lipid and cardiac effects with age, smoking status, or personal or family history of clotting disorders, certain cancers, and medical conditions.”
“It is highly recommended to consider a form of birth control to decrease risks of unplanned pregnancy, and in turn, it can delay the onset of your cycle,” Dr. Chen continues. “It is advised to start with your primary care physicians, obstetricians-gynecologists or healthcare providers to discuss health history and expectations to make a decision that can achieve your goal.”
Whether you decide to rough it out or prevent the start of your period, making an informed decision with your medical team is fundamental!