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How to monitor your cervical mucus

The cervical mucus method is based on careful observation of mucus patterns during the course of your menstrual cycle. One can predict when ovulation will happen by checking and tracking cervical mucus changes. This may make you feel slightly uncomfortable or squeamish but knowing how your body and cycle works can be empowering.

What is cervical mucus?

Cervical mucus is a fluid produced by the glands found in and around the cervix. As the levels of different hormones change through the menstrual cycle, the amount and consistency of the cervical mucus also changes.

Cervical mucus works to either create an ideal environment to protect and direct sperm thorugh the cervix,into the uterus and fallopian tubes. Or it prevents germs and other things from entering the uterus through the cervix.

How does cervical mucus change through your cycle?

Whilst tracking your basal body temperature (BBT) is a useful way to track your cycle, combining this with cervical mucus tracking is a good idea. This is because identifying changes in cervical mucus can tell you before you ovulate, whereas an increase in BBT usually confirms that ovulation has already occurred.

The colour, consistency and amount of cervical mucus varies for each individual. In general, the changes in cervical mucus can be as follows: 

  • Menstruation
  • After menstruation: Dry or sticky, you might not notice any discharge at all.
  • As ovulation approaches: Your body starts to produce a more creamy, lotion like mucus, which may feel gluey or stretchy in consistency.
  • Just before and during ovulation: Just before ovulation, you may see more clear, stretchy, watery, and slippery mucus. This mucus may remind you of the consistency of egg whites. This will continue during ovulation and provides the perfect texture and pH level to protect sperm. This is the best time to try to conceive.
  • After ovulation: The amount of mucus will be less after ovulation and may go back to dry and sticky.

How to check cervical mucus?

There are a few ways to check changes to cervical mucus. Be sure to wash your hands before and after.

  • By wiping with a white toilet paper or tissue before peeing. Check the color and feel of the mucus on the tissue.
  • Look at the color and texture of the discharge on your underwear or panty liner.
  • Insert clean fingers into your vagina, and then check the color and texture of the mucus on your fingers.

The best way to check the consistency of the mucus is to rub it and pull it between your thumb and index finger.

How to use the cervical mucus method?

The cervical mucus method is a natural method of fertility awareness. If you’re trying to get pregnant, you can track changes to your cervical mucus to predict when you’ll ovulate.

Use a chart or online tracker/app to note the look and texture of your mucus each day i.e. menstruationdays, dry days, wet days, slippery days etc.

In order to best recognise patterns, you may need to track cervical mucus daily for several cycles. To avoid confusing cervical mucus with semen or normal sexual lubrication, it may help to avoid sex or use a barrier method of contraception during your first cycle of tracking.

Once charting for a few months (and combining it with another method such as BBT or OPKs) you may be able to predict when ovulation is about to happen. Your most fertile days are when your cervical mucus is clear, stretchy, wet and slippery, similar to a raw egg white. If you're hoping to get pregnant, this is the time to have sex.

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