- What Is Cervical Mucus?
- How to Check Cervical Mucus
- Changes in Cervical Mucus
- Cervical Mucus and Fertility
- Improve Cervical Mucus
What is cervical mucus?
Cervical mucus is a fluid secreted by the cervix (mouth of the womb) during different stages of the menstrual cycle. Its production is influenced by the hormone, estrogen.
Cervical mucus is one of the factors that pave the way for successful conception. It helps the sperm reach the female reproductive tract to meet the egg. It nourishes and protects the sperm in this entire journey. By tracking the changes in the amount and quality of the mucus, one can plan the most appropriate days for conception or avoid them to prevent pregnancy.
Excessive cervical mucus may be a sign of infection. Talk to your doctor about it.
How to check cervical mucus
The most accurate way to identify changes in cervical mucus is to collect and observe a sample of the mucus every day. Here is how you can do it.
- Finger insertion: This involves inserting your middle or index finger into your vagina until you get closer to your cervix. Next, you remove the finger and roll the cervical mucus between your thumb and index finger and feel its consistency. Move the fingers apart and observe the mucus. Remember to wash your hands and dry them well before trying this method.
- Use of toilet paper: If you are not comfortable using your fingers, you can use toilet paper. Never insert the paper inside your vagina. You can dab and feel the cervical mucus with the toilet paper.
Once you use any of the methods, continue using the same one consistently to get accurate observations.
Changes in the cervical mucus throughout the entire menstrual cycle
To know your fertile days, you may need to observe your cervical mucus for a few months. This is known as cervical mucus monitoring or the cervical mucus method. It is one of the natural family planning methods.
The cervical mucus fluctuates in terms of its consistency and amount throughout the menstrual cycle. If you know how it feels and looks at different stages of the cycle, you are most likely to identify the best days for conception to improve your fertility outcomes.
Table showing changes in the cervical mucus as per the stage of the menstrual cycle
|The phase of the menstrual cycle||Cervical mucus (amount and quality)|
|Just after the menstrual period||The amount is so low that some women report their vagina to be dry|
|Few days after the menstrual period||Increase in mucus, which is colorless and sticky|
|A few days before the ovulation date (fertile window)||Increase in quantity and quality, colorless or slightly yellowish|
|Ovulation period||Greatest amount, looks like egg white, thin and stretchy feel, the perfect medium for the survival of the sperm in terms of texture and pH|
|After ovulation||The amount produced declines and goes on to become thicker and whitish|
The cervical mucus method is sometimes used in combination with other methods such as tracking basal body temperature. This is sometimes referred to as the symptothermal or biological method.
The cervical mucus method of planning the days for conception will not help you if you have persistent reproductive tract infections.
How does cervical mucus affect your chances of fertility?
Cervical mucus monitoring helps you identify if you have adequate production and quality of cervical mucus during your fertile window. If you have less mucus and thicker mucus with a sticky consistency, it means that the environment of your cervix is not sperm-friendly. There are very few chances to become pregnant if your cervical mucus continues to stay like this during ovulation. Cervical mucus is affected by factors such as stress, diet, hormonal issues and medications such as ovulation stimulants (for example, clomiphene citrate).
What to do to improve the quantity and quality of the cervical mucus
You can try the following methods to increase your chances of conceiving if you do not have the right quantity and quality of the cervical mucus.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water.
- Maintain vaginal hygiene. Always wipe from front to back after using the restroom.
- Try sperm-friendly lubricants. These look similar to the cervical mucus with an egg-like feel and consistency and pH, too, the same as cervical mucus. Ask your doctor.
- Never use vaginal douches or perfumes.
- Do not hesitate to discuss your additional concerns by scheduling an appointment with your doctor.
American Pregnancy Association
Top What Does Cervical Mucus Mean Related Articles
Causes of Infertility in a WomanInfertility is a common problem in the United States, with about 10% of women aged 15-44 years facing difficulty in conceiving or bearing a child.
Conception SlideshowLearn about conception and the beginning stages of fetal development. See microscope images of human egg and sperm, as well as cell division and embryos.
Infertility TreatmentLearn about fertility options such as IVF (in vitro fertilization), acupuncture, and natural lifestyle choices. Read about infertility in men and women as well as treatment costs and pregnancy success rates.
Ovulation & FertilityBoost fertility and increase your chances to conceive. Learn about ovulation calendars, diet, aging and other factors that can affect pregnancy.
Ovulation Calculator and Fertility CalendarOvulation calculators and calendars are tools that attempt to predict when women might ovulate. These tools are based on the typical length of their menstrual cycle and the expected window for ovulation. These tools will guide women when they are releasing an egg each month (also known as ovulation) and when are they most fertile for the best chances of getting pregnant.
Pregnancy Planning (Tips)Pregnancy planning is an important step in preparation for starting or expanding a family. Planning for a pregnancy includes taking prenatal vitamins, eating healthy for you and your baby, disease prevention (for both parents and baby) to prevent birth defects and infections, avoiding certain medications that may be harmful to your baby, how much weight gain is healthy exercise safety and pregnancy, travel during pregnancy.
What Can Cause Infertility in a Woman?Infertility affects approximately 10%-15% of reproductive-aged couples. Cause of infertility could be due to issues in one or both partners. In about one-third of infertile couples, the issue is with the male partner, whereas in a third of the couples, there is an issue with the women.
What Does Cervical Mucus Look Like After Ovulation?The consistency of cervical mucus fluctuates throughout the month. Learn what cervical mucus should look like during and after ovulation and when you should see a doctor.