Cervical mucus, also known as cervical fluid, is a natural secretion of the cervical glands designed to moisten and protect the cervix. Changes in cervical mucus can be one of the greatest clues to determining when ovulation is about to occur.
Cervical Mucus Of The Menstrual Cycle
Prior to ovulation, during non-fertile periods, the woman will experience a dryness (or lack of cervical mucus). Gradually, as the woman approaches ovulation, the mucus will increase, though the consistency will be “sticky” and the colour will be white, yellow, or cloudy in nature.
During the peak fertility, the cervix is open, with clear, stretchy mucus present. The cervical mucus looks wet; it is clear in colour, rather than the cloudy or whitish colour when peak fertility was still approaching. There will be an increase in cervical mucus at ovulation, as well as a change in texture – the mucus becoming more pliable, “stretchable”, and slippery. At your most fertile your discharge will have the consistency and look of raw egg white.
Four basic changes of cervical mucus in the menstrual cycle
- There will an absence or very little cervical mucus in the first few days following your period. A scant amount cervical mucus is an indication that pregnancy is not possible at this time.
- Early cervical mucus begins just prior to ovulation. Discharge becomes thick and sticky, white or creamy in colour. If you were to perform finger testing (stretching the discharge between two fingers), the mucus will break easily when you pull your fingers apart. There is a chance that you could get pregnant at this time.
- Discharge changes colour and will begin to look cloudy. It will also increase in volume. The cervical mucus will be more stretchable in a finger test, but will still split before your thumb and forefinger are stretched completely apart. There is a chance for conception to occur at this point.
- Around the time you ovulate your discharge will be thin, stretchy and clear and will resemble raw egg whites. The amount discharge will continue to rise until ovulation, where your chances of conception are at their highest. It is the most stretchy discharge and can be stretched several inches between the thumb and forefinger before it splits. Ovulation discharge provides an optimal environment for sperm to survive.
How To Check Cervical Mucus?
There are three ways to perform this: Use of a toilet paper or your fingers across the opening of your vagina, wearing a panty liner or inserting your finger into your vagina.
Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with an anti-bacterial soap prior to performing this. Find a comfortable position, either by sitting on the toilet, squatting, or standing up and putting one leg up on the bathtub edge or toilet seat. After washing your hands, or if you prefer, toilet paper, you can examine your cervical fluid. You can check your cervical mucus by wiping your vaginal area with a tissue. Close the tissue around the cervical mucus and open it. You can also insert two fingers into the vaginal cavity and pull the mucus from the cervix.
In addition to this method, there are other effective ways to help predict ovulation such as:
- Don’t perform the cervical mucus test during or right after sex, or when you’re feeling sexually aroused.
- Checking your cervical mucus after a bowel movement may be easier. (Don’t forget to wash your hands well.)
- If you have polycystic ovary syndrome, predicting ovulation by tracking cervical mucus may not be accurate. Taking your Basal Body Temperature (BBT) will help you pinpoint ovulation.
- Some women notice that their cervical mucus becomes wet or almost egg-white like again right before menstruation. This isn’t a sign of impending ovulation. In addition, if you never or rarely notice wet or egg-white consistency cervical mucus, let your doctor know. Infertility can sometimes be caused by something referred to as hostile cervical mucus.