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Cervical mucus is the white vaginal discharge in women. Cervical mucus secretion occurs from cervix with release of estrogen hormone. Cervical mucus basically found in 4 stages such as dry phase, sticky phase, creamy phase, and clear phase. Fertility window and Pre-ovulation period is determined with clear and creamy phase respectively.
The presence of fertile cervical mucus is a clue that a woman is close to ovulation. Vaginal discharge is fertile when it resembles raw egg white. This is the best time to have sex if a woman wants to get pregnant. Being perceptive about how your body works can be empowering. Many women use the characteristics of their cervical mucus to track their menstrual cycles because the consistency and quantity of cervical mucus present can provide important clues about a woman’s ovulation. This is sometimes called the ovulation method or the Billings ovulation method. (1) Women who opt to use natural family planning as a birth control method usually check their cervical mucus to prevent pregnancy. On the other hand, other women keep a consistent check on it to encourage pregnancy.
What is Cervical Mucus?
Cervical mucus is also called Egg White Cervical Mucus (EWCM) because it strongly resembles raw egg white in a way that it is clear or streaked, and is very stretchy and watery. Cervical mucus is secreted by the cervix, the production of which is stimulated by the hormone estrogen.
Cervical mucus prevents external harmful factors like certain bacteria from entering the uterus through the cervix. It also helps to nourish and transport sperms through the cervix into the uterus. EWCM usually indicates fertility and that a woman is about to ovulate. Women in their early twenties, typically, have more days of cervical mucus than women in their thirties. Women in their twenties have around five days of EWCM and women in their thirties may have only one or two days with EWCM. Cervical mucus firstly accepts, filters, prepares and releases sperms for successful transportation to the egg for fertilization. The mucus is responsible for the regulation of fertility as its physical properties change during the menstrual cycle. (2)
Cervical Mucus Stages
Cervical mucus plays a fundamental role especially if a woman is trying to conceive. The mucus nourishes and protects sperms as it makes the long, arduous journey through the female reproductive tract to meet the egg.
Throughout the natural menstrual cycle, the quality and amount and of cervical mucus produced fluctuate, and by observing these changes it becomes easy for a woman to predict her fertility. About a week before ovulation, under the influence of estrogen, cervical mucus becomes sticky, thick and abundant. Some women may ovulate earlier in their cycle, while others ovulate later. (3) The following changes take place in the Cervical Mucus throughout the Menstrual Cycle:
Day 1 to 3: Dry Phase (After the Menstrual Period)
The first few days after the period is over is known as a dry phase. During the first few days, no cervical fluid is produced by the cervix and sperms are unable to survive inside the reproductive tract due to the naturally low pH and because of the vaginal environment. This stage immediately follows period and leads up to the appearance of non-fertile cervical mucus. Even when cervical fluid is not present, the cervix and vagina are not completely dry because there are moisture filled membranes that help keep the vaginal ecosystem healthy.
Days 4-6: Sticky Phase
As a woman is closer to ovulation, the body starts producing thicker cervical mucus which can be quite sticky. This is often called the “sticky” phase. The cervical fluid keeps the sperms alive and helps them reach the egg. Sperms can survive in the reproductive tract for up to five days waiting for an egg to be released.
The mucus is usually white or cloudy in color and forms small sticky globs. Intercourse during the sticky period may or may not result in a positive pregnancy.
Days 7-9: Pre-Ovulation: Creamy Phase
During this phase, mucus continues to remain creamy or cloudy in color. Additionally, it becomes abundant, thick and viscous, but not as sticky as before. These features indicate that the cervical mucus is semi-fertile. Many women choose to have sex once they notice this creamy cervical mucus. Since sperms can stay alive inside the female reproductive organs for five to six days, it is possible to get pregnant during this phase.
Days 10-14: Fertile Window: Clear Phase
This phase is characterized by a rise in hormone levels and clear cervical mucus. The cervical mucus becomes clear like raw egg white, abundant, stretchy, slightly sticky and odorless. Clear cervical mucus means that the body has reached its prime fertile stage. Mucus at this stage is a nurturing medium for sperms and actually creates channels that help catapult the sperms up into the uterus and fallopian tubes. A woman may notice an increased amount of mucus a day or two before ovulation. This is the perfect time for women trying to conceive.
Tips to Check Cervical Mucus Naturally
In order to keep a check on the ovulation cycle, one can follow the given steps:
- Keep a record of the cervical mucus, it can help identify how long each phase is in a woman’s menstrual cycle. It can be difficult to differentiate between normal cervical secretions and semen or sexual lubrication during the first cycle.
- Keep a record of your mucus characteristics by writing down the specific characteristics of the cervical mucus on a daily basis. This is useful for identifying the specific phases when fertility is at its peak. While tracking the characteristics of the cervical mucus make sure to record the color such as yellow, white, clear, or cloudy. Note the consistency like how thick it is, whether it is sticky, or stretchy. Write down any sensations of dryness, moistness, or wetness.
- Check the cervical secretions before and after urinating. The best way to check cervical secretions is to wipe before and after urinating. Examine the mucus on a piece of toilet tissue; this can effectively help to track the cycle of the cervical mucus. Use white toilet paper so that the color of the cervical secretions can be identified easily.
- Analyze the cervical secretions in underwear. Check for cervical mucus by analyzing any secretions that appear in underwear. This can help in identifying the stage of the ovulation cycle and may also be useful when there is no mucus while wiping. (4)
Write down the characteristics of the mucus found in the underwear
- Examine the sensations in the vagina. Note any kind of sensations such as dryness, wetness, or moistness while gently feeling the vaginal area with fingers. This helps identify changes in the cervical mucus or phase of the menstrual cycle. Evaluate various records of cervical mucus after the first cycle or a couple of cycles.
Read through the record and this can help effectively evaluate the ovulation cycle and may help prevent or promote pregnancy.
The presence of this mucus is necessary for conception, and it is essential for every woman to try to increase the amount. This can be done by using supplements like evening primrose oil or preventing dehydration. Checking it regularly and learning about the qualities of cervical mucus may help a woman become pregnant or prevent it, depending on their goal.
If you are trying to get pregnant and looking for resources to support your efforts, you can call us at +918268260808 to check out the fertility guide provided by our expert counselor.
SOURCES AND REFERENCES:
- ^ Vaginal Discharge - NHS Nhs.uk, 06 June 2019
- ^ What Is the Cervical Mucus Method - Planned Parenthood Plannedparenthood.org, 06 June 2019
- ^ Cervical Mucus Stages - What It Looks like When You're Fertile - Parents Parents.com, 06 June 2019
- ^ How to Check Cervical Mucus - WikiHow Wikihow.com, 06 June 2019
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