Send to

Choose Destination
Birth. 2016 Sep;43(3):255-62. doi: 10.1111/birt.12237. Epub 2016 May 9.

Women's Knowledge of Ovulation, the Menstrual Cycle, and Its Associated Reproductive Changes.

Author information

Department of Nursing, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI, USA.
College of Nursing, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA.



The purpose of this study was to examine women's knowledge of female reproduction-anatomy, hormones and their functions, ovulation, the menstrual cycle and its associated reproductive changes, conception, and signs of pregnancy.


A survey was completed by 125 women of childbearing age as part of a larger "Women's Health Promotion Program." Descriptive statistics, mainly univariate and bivariate analyses were conducted using STATA 13.


The women in the study were ages 18-51 years, 52.0 percent were Hispanic, 36.0 percent African American, and 12.0 percent White. The majority, 70.4 percent, had a household income of less than $20,000, 58.4 percent were not married, 83.2 percent were not trying to get pregnant at the time, and 37.6 percent had sexual intercourse that may have put them at risk for pregnancy in the past month. Less than one-third knew about the reproductive hormones. Over 80.0 percent knew their reproductive anatomy, 68.8 percent were not keeping any log to track their menstrual flow, 53.6 percent did not know when their next menstruation would be, and 49.6 percent did not know the average number of days for a regular menstrual cycle. Many did not know what ovulation is (47.2%), the ovulation timing (67.2%), the number of eggs released from an ovary each month (79.2%), and how long an egg or sperm could live in a woman's body (62.4%).


Reproductive knowledge should be assessed during preconception visits and women should be taught comprehensive reproductive education-not just selected topics-to be adequately equipped to make informed reproductive decisions.


menstrual cycle; reproductive education; unintended pregnancy

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center