How to Gauge Your Cervical Mucus To Determine When You Are Most Fertile
If you are considering purchasing ovulation kits or taking your daily basal body temperature to help determine when you are most fertile you can also consider tracking your body’s natural way of indicating fertility—your cervical mucus.
Your cervix is the passage that connects your uterus to your vagina. This passageway is not a direct route to your uterus and is filled with many nooks and crannies where your cervical mucus (CM) is produced. Throughout the month the consistence of your CM will change in response to where you are in your menstrual cycle. A good portion of the month your CM works to protect your uterus from foreign bodies by keeping the cervical canal closed and creating a thick mucus making it difficult for sperm to enter your cervical canal. However when become fertile your CM will change in consistence to not only allow sperm to enter your cervical canal, extend the life of sperm, and weed out irregular sperm.
For a sperm to fertilise an egg it has to swim through your cervical opening, past your uterus and into your fallopian tubes. When you are fertile your CM will aid in this process and allow sperm to live in your fallopian tubes for up to 5 full days. If you learn to recognize when your cervical mucus changes in consistency to indicate that your body is getting ready to ovulate you can time your intercourse accordingly.
How Do You Check Your Cervical Mucus?
For the 2-3 days prior to ovulation your CM will go from its usual thick and sticky consistency to a thinner and clearer consistency that is conducive to sperm successfully travelling the distance to your fallopian tubes. During your menstrual cycle your CM will be in one of three stages. Learning to properly identify these stages will assist you in determining your fertility:
- Postmenstrual Mucus—This is when your CM is the thickest in consistency and the best at blocking sperm attempting to travel to your fallopian tubes. It will be thick, sticky, and most likely white.
- Midcycle Mucus—You mucus will become thinner, cloudier, and wetter. This is when you will begin to produce more CM and this mucus will feel elastic between your fingers.
- Fertile Mucus—This is when your mucus is at its thinnest, slippery, clear, and abundant. You may even experience an increased amount of mucus in your underwear and this mucus will be high in elasticity.
If you experience any sudden changes in your CM that are accompanied by an odour you should contact your physician to rule out infection.
You should be aware that changes in your mucus may also be a result of an infection. If you notice anything different from what is usual for you or if a strong smell is present, you should consult your doctor or local health clinic for advice.
This post has been updated since its original publication in 2013.