All the changes that occur during your menstrual cycle occur inside your body. Natural family planning is difficult by solely relying on predictions and calculations. Change in cervical mucus is a visible factor that can lend a hand to track your fertility and help you get pregnant.
When trying to conceive you need to be aware of some common concepts, abbreviations, and terms such as EWCM – Egg White Cervical Mucus. Fertile quality cervical mucus is transparent and like raw egg whites.
Just like your uterine lining, ovaries, and BBT, the cervical mucus goes through recurring changes every month. The best part is that you can see these changes in mucus using your fingers and a little patience.
Cervical mucus during a period is totally different from ovulation (Egg White Cervical Mucus).
Table of Contents
- What is cervical mucus?
- Fertile Quality Cervical Mucus
- What is Egg White Cervical Mucus (EWCM)?
- Cervical Mucus Phases During Menstrual Cycle
- Cervical Mucus in Early Pregnancy
- 3 Ways To Check Cervical Mucus
- Points to keep in mind while checking cervical mucus:
- Cervical mucus changes during the cycle
- How does cervical mucus look like after ovulation?
- Cervical Mucus Changes In Longer Menstrual Cycle
- Things to know about Cervical Mucus and its production
- Not Enough Cervical Mucus?
What is cervical mucus?
Mucus glands present in the uterine cervix produce cervical mucus. Mucus exudes out of the female’s vagina throughout the menstrual cycle. The cervix is present at the neck of the uterus, and this leads up to the vagina.
But cervical mucus does not always look the same or is the same color. Even the amount and density keeps varying throughout the menstrual cycle.
Identifying consistency and color of mucus is one of the easiest ways of finding high fertility days. You can figure it out at home or in a laboratory.
Cervical mucus acts as a barrier. It can either facilitate or restrict the entry of sperms. If the sperm is able to cross the cervix and then reach the fallopian tubes where the egg is present, pregnancy occurs.
Fertile Quality Cervical Mucus
Fertile quality cervical mucus is transparent and thin due to surging estrogen. When you are near ovulation, reproductive hormones peak.
The release of the egg from the ovary is due to LH peak. It is essential for cervical mucus to become stringy like egg white to allow the sperms to travel through the cervix.
Sperms move up to the fallopian tubes by the movements of the tail, contractions of uterus and cervix and texture of mucus.
Cervical mucus is an ovulation sign that occurs before ovulation. Every other indication of ovulation may go unobserved but changes in mucus during the fertile period are stark.
BBT changes during ovulation only time the release of the egg. Cervical mucus, on the other hand, will signal that this is the time when a woman most fertile.
What is Egg White Cervical Mucus (EWCM)?
EWCM is raw egg white like mucus you see when you ovulate. A more fertile woman will have more days of egg white mucus than a woman in her late thirties.
Don’t be disheartened as one day is enough to get pregnant! Reading cervical mucus changes might sound gross but is a powerful tool to conceive naturally.
The gooey dry mucus after period becomes profusely watery and white during fertility window. Stretchy cervical mucus will form strings in your fingers when taut between two fingers.
It is not necessary that you use fingers to insert into the vagina to check your cervical mucus discharge.
Toilet paper check or looking in your knickers is enough to scrutinize the changes occurring in vaginal discharge during ovulation phase.
Cervical Mucus Phases During Menstrual Cycle
Cervical mucus changes are mostly considered according to a 28-day cycle. When a woman has a longer cycle often it is the luteal phase that is longer than the 9-12 days period.
Irregular period cycles make it difficult to time ovulation by calculation. Online ovulation calculators also are ineffective in such cases.
Changes in cervical mucus are comparatively more reliable signs of ovulation and fertility.
You will read about many types of cervical mucus but only 3 main kinds exist that concern you. Dry phase has thick or no discharge, egg white stringy discharge and watery thin cervical mucus are the ones to look for.
Let us learn about the different stages and which type of CM is produced during them.
1) Menses 1-5 days
During the bleeding days, you will not see any mucus. The clots that you see are uterine tissue and not bloody mucus as some women believe.
Near you period days, your vagina will feel dry. Once in a while, you may see thick gooey discharge with a yellowish tinge.
Those who have spotting before the start of a period will see blood in mucus. You will still have some wetness because the sweat and mucus glands will function at a basal level at least.
2) Dry phase 6-9 days
After your period is over you will see non-fertile cervical mucus. It is thick and dry mucus and the amount is also very less.
Upon use of soap, the area will feel more parched. Your state of hydration also impinges on the condition of the vagina.
When you will keep an eye on cervical mucus transformations you will know why the phase is called dry.
Even when your body approaches ovulation the mucus is sticky and called non-fertile cervical mucus.
The color of mucus is not white and appears slightly cloudy. The mucus condenses into small blobs if you leave it on fingers.
When you try to squeeze it they will spread and squash but would stay. The sticky and dense mucus does not allow sperms to move freely in it.
Pre-ovulation cervical mucus is like semi-cooked egg white.
3) Pre-ovulation 10-12 Days
When you are near ovulation your body starts changing the makeup of cervical mucus. Now the mucus loses it blobby texture.
Flowy but thick cervical mucus during pre-ovulation days is semi-fertile mucus. The discharge will not be transparent and you’ll not feel creamy when you roll it between fingers.
Couples who don’t have any fertility issues can have intercourse starting from these days.
Though you can pregnant from sex during these days, ovulation is far off. Ideally, you must wait for the mucus to become egg white transparent.
Until then reserve your energy and take off tasks from your to-do-lists. Stress-free baby-making sex is the key to getting pregnant fast.
The smooth mucus makes intercourse pleasurable and prevents pain during sex.
4) Ovulation 13-15 Days
Thin, clear, stretchy, and stringy egg white cervical mucus is a sign of approaching ovulation. The change occurs just before the release of the egg and continues a day or two after it.
Amount of CM increases considerably near ovulation and you can easily notice the difference.
However, most women are unaware of the significance of cervical mucus for fertility window.
Once you’ll consciously observe the changes it won’t be much of a task.
The fertility window is between 12-15 days of your cycle. While the egg lives only for 24 hours sperms can live in your vagina for 5 days.
So, you can get pregnant during these days.
What does clear cervical mucus mean?
LH hormone upsurge causes ovulation and also makes the mucus clear and stringy. You’ll be able to stretch it between your fingers without dripping off.
The clear CM is a sign of peak fertility period. If you want to avoid getting pregnant, then avoid sex during this period.
What does clear cervical mucus do?
It protects sperms from the pH of the vagina and helps them travel up to the egg.
5) Progesterone discharge 16-21
After the fertility period end, the mucus again becomes thick and gooey. Transparent mucus exudes during ovulation but the opacity returns soon after it.
If you conceive you’ll be able to notice slightly different changes in cervical mucus than the dry phase that follows.
6) Dry phase
As you progesterone levels increase and period due date approaches the mucus becomes thick gooey and dries out. You’ll feel that the vagina is dehydrated and some stretchy tissues.
But pregnant women experience an unusual increase in cervical mucus during early pregnancy.
Just before period, the cervix makes the vagina slightly moist to be able to start shedding off the vaginal tissue.
To sum it up, there are six stages of cervical mucus secretion
- Dry days
- Thick sticky discharge
- Cream like mucus
- Watery discharge
- Ovulation cervical mucus that resembles an egg white
- Thick progesterone type discharge
In stages 1-2 of the menstrual cycle, the estrogen level is extremely low.
In stages 3-4 of the menstrual cycle, estrogen starts rising, and the chances of conception also increase.
At Stage 5, the peak of estrogen prevalence occurs and it provokes the emergence of the ovum.
Finally, in the 6th stage, the curve goes down, since estrogen gives its place to another equally crucial hormone – progesterone.
The typical sticky nature of the cervical fluid during ovulation is dependent on the levels of estrogen. It is almost transparent mucus.
This shows that estrogen stimulates the production of mucus in the cervix.
|Days||Cervical Mucus Type||Conclusion|
|1-5||Dry, menses blood||Period|
|6-9||Sticky Creamy||After period stage, ovulation is far off|
|10-12||Watery Wet||Approaching ovulation|
|13-15||Watery Wet||Ovulation, Fertility Window period|
|16-21||Thick Dry||Fertility period ended|
|21-28||Dry phase very less mucus||Period is about to come|
|Early pregnancy||Unusual thick or watery mucus||Perhaps you are pregnant but not a reliable sign|
Cervical Mucus in Early Pregnancy
Pregnancy sustaining hormone progesterone makes the mucus thick. Early pregnancy changes in cervical mucus are not consistent for all women.
Spotting and brown discharge further complicate the changes you notice in CM during pregnancy. Even pregnant women can have some discharge just like before period.
Avoid looking for discharge changes after ovulation and instead, check early pregnancy symptoms before missed period.
3 Ways To Check Cervical Mucus
Some women have a lot of watery discharge from the vagina during the cycle. Others may be slightly drier in their private parts.
Hormonal fluctuations determine the amount of mucus coming from the vagina. Depending on how much mucus you get during ovulation you can choose a method of checking CM.
1) Looking in your underwear
Sweat or mucus can be perplexing during summers! But looking at your knickers or panties you will know how your cervical mucus changes throughout the month.
The secretion is not continuous and it is possible that mucus dries up by the time you see it.
Rushing to the bathroom every time you feel wet is a norm when expecting the aunt’s flow. Save for period you cannot run to the loo all the time.
Consequently, this method of checking CM is not as effective; without doubt, you can fail to spot the signs that are vital.
How to check cervical mucus looking in your panties?
Simply bring your underwear to light and look for white discharge on the part that covers your vagina.
Don’t be surprised if you see yellowish white mucus due to the change in the color of CM. But if you experience itching and there is smelly discharge you could be having an infection.
You can sniff the mucus to check whether it has an obnoxious smell.
2) Inserting fingers to check cervical mucus
Overlooking the thoughts of eew and yikes, try the finger method for checking CM.
The most reliable method of detecting ovulation doesn’t even require you to be alert daily. Whenever you feel any change in your vaginal wetness just check.
Just insert the finger in the outer path of the cervix and observe the mucus. If you see egg white stringy mucus then you’ll know it’s time for baby making sex.
- Wash your hands and dry them thoroughly.
- Choose a position that you find comfortable. Either stand, sit on a toilet seat or a squatting position.
- Insert a clean finger into your vagina or wipe with a clean toilet paper and take it up to your cervix. Insert either your middle finger or index finger but be careful and do not scratch yourself. You will find more cervical fluid if you do it after having a bowel movement.
- Now remove your finger and analyze the consistency of your mucus by rolling it between your fingers.
Use abbreviations such as S – Sticky, EW – Egg White, D – Dry etc to make the pattern more prominent. Try to remain within few types of cervical mucus types to achieve a pattern by the end of the process.
Make sure you don’t douche or use any other tool to check mucus. Any foreign material can trigger sensitivity reaction because the vagina is a particularly pH receptive area.
Also, check the cervical mucus at the same time of day every day to avoid errors due to other factors. Bathing or intercourse may change the quality of cervical mucus.
3) Wiping with a toilet paper
You don’t need to deliberately wipe using a toilet paper to check CM.
Billing’s Ovulation Method uses toilet paper wipes to detect fertility period. When you use the tissue after peeing or other purposes just look for any clear watery discharge.
Always wipe from front to back. Remnants of fecal matter in the vagina can cause infections. After bowel movements, the vaginal discharge reaches the mouth of the vagina and comes off.
You must certainly check cervical mucus using toilet paper after pooping.
Avoid rubbing your vagina too hard as it can hurt you. Do not insert the tissue inside your cervix.
Points to keep in mind while checking cervical mucus:
- Do not check your mucus during or after coitus or when you are sexually aroused. The mucus has your seminal fluid and it changes the nature of mucus. If you had unprotected sex without condom then your partner’s seminal fluid will also be contained by your vagina. The male fluid has a particular smell that will react with your cervical mucus. Based on the observations you will make erroneous conclusions that will render the entire procedure fruitless. Seminal fluid and cervical mucus don’t remain together a few hours after sexual intercourse. The vagina absorbs the seminal fluid and sperms travel up the cervix. Sexual arousal releases a lot of fluids from glands in the vagina cervical path. It is more watery than normal mucus discharge.
- Check cervical mucus after having a bowel movement. Some women produce more mucus after a vigorous bowel movement. Strenuous movement of the bowels causes the production of mucus in them. But it is not definite that the prior is the reason for the production of mucus. It could be that unclean gut pushes that organs or after excretion the intestines push up.
- Women that have PCOS see fertile cervical mucus several times in a month. If such is the case, then opt for some other method of detecting your fertile days. Fertile cervical mucus in them is not an indicator that they are fertile. If you have PCOS you must consult your doctor about your reproductive fitness. Too much of watery discharge is not a sign that the woman is very fertile. The rhythm of changes in cervical mucus is a real sign of fertility.
- Medicines like antihistamines can dry up your mucus.
- If you rarely or do not at all notice wet or egg-white consistency of mucus then talk to your doctor.
Cervical mucus changes during the cycle
How does cervical mucus look like before ovulation?
- Cervical mucus before ovulation is thick and lumpy and extremely viscous making it hard for the sperms to swim in it.
- Mucus before ovulation is the least fertile. Mucus is sticky around this time.
- Just a few days before ovulation, mucus becomes watery and moist. It allows sperm to move into the cervix.
- Mucus is clear during this time and drips from your fingers, and you might confuse it for a pee. It allows unhindered movement of the sperm into the cervix but still does not make the sperm’s job quite easy.
How does cervical mucus look like during ovulation?
- Cervical mucus during ovulation resembles a raw egg white. It is highly fertile as it facilitates the movements of the sperm and makes them reach the cervix easily. It no longer acts as a gatekeeper. The thick white vaginal discharge is a natural lubricant for smooth coitus.
- For conception, involve in intercourse every two to three days during this time. Sperm can live up to seven days inside you waiting to fertilize an egg.
- During this fertile period, cervical mucus increases in intensity and becomes wetter and more slippery.
- It is stringy and can stretch to 5 cm without breaking.
How does cervical mucus look like after ovulation?
- Cervical mucus after ovulation appears creamy and it is less slippery and wet. It is the white discharge before periods.
- Mucus before periods appears like lotion when rubbed between your fingers.
- Since it is so viscous, it restricts the movements of the sperm making it difficult for the sperm to reach the egg.
- The quantity also starts to decline and is really thick in consistency. This kind of mucus is hostile to sperms.
Cervical Mucus Changes In Longer Menstrual Cycle
Most women fluctuate between 26-32 days long cycle. And very rarely does a woman get her period like a monthly anniversary on the exact same date. But when checking for cervical mucus you don’t have to rely much on dates.
Whenever you feel any changes in your cervix you can check. Undoubtedly irregular cycles mimic signs of fertile cervical mucus more than once during the month.
How to look for changes in cervical mucus when you have an irregular cycle?
Longer menstrual cycles will have longer spans of same phases. Combining the two methods of detecting ovulation can help in such a state of confusion.
Diseases such as PCOS or perimenopause cause changes that need treatment. There are many stories where women have successfully conceived after 35 years using cervical mucus charting.
Don’t lose hope and first try hormonal therapies to align your menstrual hormones to normal patterns.
Take care of your diet and sleeping patterns. Consult your OB to prescribe the best alternative for conceiving with irregular cycles.
Things to know about Cervical Mucus and its production
- Cervical mucus is something so diverse that one cannot generalize the facts about it.
- You may be completely fine and yet not have a very satisfactory production of mucus from the cervix.
- Women indulging in sexual activities as feast or famine have lower levels of cervical mucus.
- Taking a well-balanced diet and staying hydrated play a key role in the mucus production.
- Having a very low amount of mucus production can lead to problems like painful sex.
- One should consult a medical expert in such cases, but there are a lot of over the counter jellies and crèmes available to help you.
Cervical mucus keeps changing during your reproductive life. Changes in cervical mucus tell a lot about the stage of reproductive state.
During pregnancy, mucus becomes brown. It is the brown discharge. Cervical mucus is watery during ovulation and becomes very thick when your period date comes.
If you don’t have enough mucus, then you may experience pain during sex. It also tells about any underlying sexual diseases or infections.
It is essential to be vigilant of what you see in your knickers and consult a doctor if you see something abnormal.
When charting cervical mucus don’t rush and instead follow your body’s natural signs. It might take two-three cycles to be able to totally understand cervical mucus changes.
Once you’ll master the art to detect the changes in cervical mucus you’ll be able to find your fertility window easily without any assistance.
The best method to detect ovulation is to chart BBT along with cervical mucus and position changes. You can record all the three together or use an app that collects the data of all three indicators of ovulation.
Not Enough Cervical Mucus?
When the cervical mucus is not enough it hampers conception in two ways.
Sex becomes painful and you don’t attain the peak easily. On the other hand, if you’re able to overcome the first hurdle, sperms traveling in the cervix find it difficult to reach up to the fallopian tubes.
What should you do if you don’t produce very much fertile quality mucus?
If your cervical mucus is not of the proper texture or is less in amount then consider taking supplements. Natural supplements to increase the quantity and quality of cervical mucus such as evening primrose are effective.
They tone vagina and improve the uterine health making journey to getting pregnant easier.
Vitamin E (fertility vitamin) and amino acid arginine also improve the quality of cervical mucus.
There are cases of infertility that occur solely due to the hostility of cervical mucus to the sperms. Insufficient mucus also makes sex painful. Using lubricants will make sex pleasurable and fruitful.
Ironically some fertility drugs such as Clomid can also cause hostile cervical mucus.