Fertile or cervical mucus is the gel or fluid-like substance or discharge from the cervix. Throughout the duration of a woman’s period, the amount and thickness of fertile mucus changes.
These changes are due to the fluctuating hormone levels throughout their menstrual cycle. The mucus is produced by the hormones which stimulate the cervix glands.
One of the ways to determine ovulation with cervical mucus, which can help you either achieve or prevent pregnancy. This method is known as cervical monitoring or fertility awareness. You can also opt for birth control methods if you want to avoid pregnancy.
Let’s take a more elaborate look at cervical mucus and how it changes during the phase of your menstrual cycle.
Fertile Mucus Changes Experienced
Fertile or cervical mucus is different for each woman in terms of color, consistency and amount. Usual changes that you may expect during your menstrual cycle include:
- Before Ovulation: Before the egg is released, your body will produce mucus, or even before the start of ovulation. The mucus may appear yellow, cloudy or white in color. Its consistency can be gluey or stretchy.
- Right Before Ovulation: Your estrogen levels will rise right before the start of ovulation. The consistency of the mucus may appear slippery, watery, stretchy and clear, which resembles that of egg whites.
- During Ovulation: The clear and stretchy egg white consistency of fertile mucus will also be present during ovulation. The pH and texture of the mucus are essential for protecting the sperm. This is the reason you should have sex on ovulating days, especially if you’re trying to conceive.
- After Ovulation: After ovulation, there will be less discharge and the consistency will turn cloudy, thicker and creamy once again. During this time, some women experience dry days.
- During Your Period: You won’t notice the mucus during this time because it will be covered in blood.
- After Your Period: You will experience dry days after your period and you may not notice any discharge.
Learn more about Cervical Mucus
Fertile Mucus After Conception
The changes experienced to cervical mucus after conception may be an early indicator of pregnancy. Implantation is when a fertilized egg attaches to your uterus, after which, the color of your mucus will be gummy, thick and clear. Implantation bleeding may also occur in some women, which is about 6-12 days after conception.
Implantation bleeding, unlike regular bleeding, should stop after 24 or 48 hours. You might even witness these changes before a positive pregnancy test.
Fertile Mucus During Early Pregnancy
The cervical mucus may change in both consistency and color in the first couple of weeks of your pregnancy. During this time, you may witness a yellow or white mucus known as leucorrhea. Your vaginal discharge may continue to change as your pregnancy progresses.
Do Birth Control Pills or IUD Have Any Effect on Fertile Mucus?
Birth control pills cause the cervical mucus to thicken, which prevents the sperm from reaching the egg. Your cervical mucus may have a different consistency when you’re on birth control pills than when you’re not.
How to Check For Cervical Mucus
There are some ways for you to check for changes to your fertile mucus. Be sure that your hands are washed before and after you try any of the following methods:
Use a white toilet tissue to wipe the opening of your vagina. Ensure to do this before you use the restroom to pee or anything else. Determine the color and consistency of the discharge or mucus on the tissue.
Insert a finger or two into your vagina, near the cervix to keep a daily track of your mucus. Note the color and consistency of the mucus on your fingers upon removing them from your vagina.
Learn How to Check Cervical Mucus
Inspect Panty Liner or Underwear
You can check for any changes to your discharge or mucus by daily examining your underwear. Either that, or use a panty liner to monitor the changes.
However, this method might not as reliable as the other ones due to the amount of time that gets passed and what colored underwear you may be wearing.
Defining The Cervical Mucus Method
This is a method where you track changes in your mucus to predict when you will ovulate. You will have to do this every day for various cycles. Doing so will help you understand a number of patterns. Once you know how to do it, this is the most successful method to use.
You can also use an app or an online tracker to keep track of the days that you may be most likely to ovulate. This way you could plan to have sex and is the best chance for you to become pregnant.
If You Don’t Want to Become Pregnant
There is a 23 out of a 100 chance that women become pregnant when they apply the cervical mucus method in their first year. But if you wish to avoid getting pregnant, then use a birth control or backup method from the moment you experience at least four days after your supposed ovulation.
For the first several cycles of tracking, you can also use a backup birth control. Or better yet, you can ask your doctor to recommend the best birth control method for you.
I’m Not Producing Cervical Mucus: Why?
Some people just produce less fertile mucus than other people. However, if you’re generally produced lots of it, but now find that you aren’t, it might be for one of these reasons.
Diet or Exercise
Extreme dieting, or excessive training regimes can put the body into starvation mode. This means that your body is focused on survival and it may not produce reproductive hormones as efficiently.
Namely, estrogen, the hormone responsible for cervical mucus may be quite low in these situations. You may also experience problems with ovulation and missed periods.
This could result in changes to your menstrual cycle.
Like dieting, or extreme exercise, high levels of stress over a prolonged period of time can also impact your menstrual cycle.
There are a number of reasons why the reproductive hormones (estrogen and progesterone) can get out of whack. However, this is one of the main reasons why you might have changes to your menstrual cycle.
There are some medications that can alter the amount of vaginal discharge you might have. You might notice that your cervical mucus is thicker than normal.
Check in with your doctor for all the details.
Treatment for Less Cervical Mucus
If you’re trying to get pregnant, and notice this sudden change, check in with your doctor. The cause is not easy to self-diagnose.
Even if you’re not trying to conceive, it’s never a bad idea to check in with your doctor for any sort of change to your cycle.
Alternative Ways to Track Ovulation
You can also use the following methods to track your ovulation:
Period Tracking by Calendar
You can download and install free online ovulation calendars that can help predict when you will likely ovulate. To use this, you will have to enter the date of when your last menstrual period started and the average number of your menstrual cycle days.
Use a special thermometer to keep track of your basal temperature on the same day you start ovulating because that is when your temperature will slightly rise.
Also, plan to have unprotected sex three days before ovulation. This along with the cervical mucus method will increase your chances of predicting ovulation successfully.
Have your doctor perform a physical exam and some tests to determine if you’re ovulating and ensure that your hormone levels are normal. If you’re 35 years of age and are having difficulty in getting pregnant after six months or even a year, then visit your doctor right away.
When to Visit Your Doctor about Vaginal Discharge
If you notice any abnormal discharge, inform your doctor immediately as it may be a symptom of infection. Be wary of the following:
- itchiness or burning
- yellow, green, or gray mucus
- redness or swelling
- clump discharge (could indicate a yeast infection)
- smells or odors (STI’s or bacterial vaginosis are two common causes)
If you’re not pregnant and are bleeding outside of your normal menstrual period, then go visit your doctor. It’s usually a sign that something is not quite right, and it could also indicate some quite serious problems, including cervical cancer.
Fertile Mucus: Have your Say!
Any questions or thoughts about fertile mucus or other kinds of vaginal discharge? Leave a comment below and let us know.