La cervical mucus (or cervical mucus) varies throughout your menstrual cycle. For couples trying to conceive, tracking the appearance of cervical mucus is a great natural way to determine ovulation date to optimize the chances of pregnancy. Knowing how to recognize the different stages of development of cervical mucus will allow you to accurately determine the most fertile period to try to have a child.
Cervical Mucus: What Is It?
Cervical mucus is secreted by endocervical glands located in and around the cervix. Hormonal fluctuations that occur throughout a woman's reproductive cycle change the amount and consistency of this mucus. If you're trying to get pregnant, tracking your cervical mucus can be a valuable indicator to help you predict when you'll ovulate. You can therefore follow its evolution to help you become pregnant or, conversely, to avoid pregnancy.
The role of cervical mucus is dual:
- Prevent bacteria from entering the uterus
- Facilitate the passage and survival of sperm in the vagina.
Cervical Mucus During The Different Phases Of The Menstrual Cycle
Cervical Mucus During Your Period
During your period, you probably won't notice your cervical mucus due to the presence of blood.
Cervical Mucus Before Ovulation
Just before ovulation, rising estrogen levels cause cervical mucus to expand into a viscous, stretchy substance. This helps sperm survive and move more easily.
Cervical Mucus During Ovulation
During your ovulation period, your cervical mucus looks and feels like egg whites (spinnbarkeit). You are in your peak fertility period and your body is preparing to ovulate. The texture and pH of your mucus provides optimal protection for sperm. This cervical mucus also allows sperm to move easily to fertilize the egg.
Cervical Mucus After Ovulation
After ovulation, progesterone makes cervical mucus thicker and stickier. In particular, this prevents sperm and other foreign substances from entering the uterus.
Cervical Mucus After Conception
Just as cervical mucus changes during the menstrual cycle, it also changes during pregnancy. After conception, changes in the cervical mucus can be an early sign of pregnancy. Implantation is the attachment of a fertilized egg to your uterus. After implantation, the mucus tends to be thick, sticky, and light-colored. Some women have implantation bleeding or small spots of blood. This usually happens 6-12 days after conception.
Cervical mucus in early pregnancy
During the first weeks of pregnancy, cervical mucus may change color and consistency. You may notice more sticky, white or yellow mucus, known as vaginal physiological leucorrhoea. As your pregnancy progresses, your vaginal discharge can still evolve.
How To Check Your Cervical Mucus?
Unlike using a ovulation tracker app or the basal temperature method, it is not necessary to check the cervical mucus first thing in the morning. The important thing is to be regular and to check your appearance every day. You can check your cervical mucus in three different ways:
- Control your vaginal discharge in your underwear. Depending on the color of your underwear and the amount of time spent, this method may be less reliable than the others.
- Wipe your vagina with clean toilet paper when going to the bathroom to examine your mucus.
- Insert a clean finger into your vagina at your cervix to examine the mucus on your finger.
To observe the consistency and color of your mucus, simply stretch the mucus between your thumb and index finger.
What Can Change Cervical Mucus?
Many factors can affect the texture and consistency of cervical mucus. Your state of health, infections, feminine hygiene products, intimate hygiene, sex or lubricants can interfere with the state of your cervical mucus making it difficult to know where you are in your menstrual cycle.
If you notice your vaginal discharge changing color to yellow-gray or green, has a strong odor, or feels itchy or swollen, see your doctor or gynecologist. It could be a symptom of an infection.
What is Brown Discharge?
The brown losses result from a mixture of cervical mucus and dried blood. The texture and amount of cervical mucus changes throughout the menstrual cycle due to fluctuating hormone levels. Brown discharge indicates that a few drops of blood may be present in your cervical mucus, a sign that the cervix is not yet closed, nor impermeable to sperm.