Cervical Mucus, Ovulation and Your Fertile Period

Cervical Mucus, Ovulation and Your Fertile Period

Most women are aware of the presence of cervical mucus from their teen years — or perhaps later — when they may wonder what all this mucus stuff is about!

Yet as we approach our reproductive years, mucus is worth becoming more acquainted with.

Observing your cervical mucus can be more useful than you may think. If you want to aid or avoid conception, cervical mucus observations may help you to identify the fertile and infertile times in your monthly cycle.

Knowing the different states of your mucus and what it means can be an indicator for ovulation, infertile times and fertile times.

Firstly, it’s important to note that there are some situations in which your mucus (and even your period) may be impacted by external factors, including:

  • Stress
  • Breastfeeding (while lactation is suppressing ovulation, it can result in dryness)
  • Medications or drugs (inc. Clomid)
  • If you may be pre-menopausal
  • Illness
  • Dieting, weight change or fasting
  • Travel

Surprising Facts About Cervical Mucus

Doctor Andrew Orr is a reproductive and women’s health specialist, having helped over 13,000 couples to conceive a baby. He says the following facts are often overlooked, but have been confirmed in studies:

  • There is only a 10% probability of being in the fertile window (day 10 to day 17), as identified by clinical guidelines
  • More than 70% of women are in the fertile window before day 10 and after day 17 of the cycle
  • There is also a 1-6% probability of being fertile during menses

Doctor Orr says, “The whole cycle for a woman should be deemed as fertile. For people trying to avoid pregnancy, they need to know there are very few days in a womans cycle where she is not fertile. If people do want to do proper charting etc, they should see a properly trained natural fertility planner, who is trained to read the signs properly.

Reference: “Timing of the Fertile Window Unpredicatable” from BMJ 2000-321:1259.

How Do You Observe Cervical Mucus?

There are three ways you can do this, depending on what you are most comfortable with.

  • Toilet Paper — By observing mucus found after wiping
  • Externally — With your fingers, feeling for mucus around the opening of your vagina
  • Internally — Checking mucus from the cervix by inserting two fingers (index and third finger) into your vagina and gently sweeping the cervix

Once you have some mucus on your fingers, between your thumb and index finger, press them together and stretch the mucus — take note of what the mucus does. Does it stretch? Does it stay in shape and is tacky? Is it slippery? Is it clear, yellow or cloudy?

Types Of Cervical Mucus

Just as every woman’s cycle is different, so too is her mucus pattern. This may be due to varying cycle lengths and stages or other factors effecting it’s production as above mentioned. Below is a fairly common cycle of mucus production, starting with the end of your period.

Infertile Cervical Mucus

After your period, you may find that you have a few days with no mucus (dry). Any mucus that is seen at this time is infertile. If you do find mucus, it will likely be sticky and may come out as a blob.

Words women use to describe their infertile mucus at this time include:

  • Thick
  • Dense
  • Sticky
  • Flaky
  • Tacky

Infertile mucus feels more dry to touch than fertile mucus. It may be yellow, white or opaque. Upon observation by touch between your thumb and index finger, you will find that it does not stretch or move — it is quite thick.

Possibly Infertile or Slightly Fertile Cervical Mucus

Following infertile mucus, you may then experience possibly infertile or slightly fertile mucus. Mucus in this state responds to increasing levels of oestrogen and is usually sticky and may feel damp. There is only a slight chance of conception — sperm will find this form of mucus particularly hard to swim through.

Words women use to describe their infertile mucus at this time include:

  • Creamy
  • Pasty
  • Thick
  • Cloudy
  • Sticky
  • Flaky
  • Tacky

Possibly Infertile or Slightly Fertile mucus still feels more dry to touch than fertile mucus. It may be yellow, white or opaque. Upon observation by touch between your thumb and index finger, you will find that it does not stretch or move much but it may be damper or in more quantity.

Fertile Cervical Mucus

Fertile mucus usually signals the impending arrival of ovulation and if you are hoping to avoid conception, you must avoid unprotected intercourse at this time. Your mucus may change to a more watery state and feel more slippery. You may find this mucus is more abundant than the previous forms of mucus.

Words women use to describe their fertile mucus include:

  • Wet
  • Slippery
  • Watery
  • Clear
  • Thin
  • Fluid

Fertile mucus feels wet and slippery compared to infertile mucus. It’s likely to be clear mucus or have a cloudy/white colour to it. Fertile mucus will even smell sweeter (and apparently taste sweeter) than less fertile mucus which may have a more vinegar scent, however the most important observation to make is the wetness/slippery observation.

Highly Fertile Cervical Mucus

This time is the most likely time to find what is commonly known as EWCM (egg-white cervical mucus) or spinn (short for spinnbarkeit which is german for spiderweb). EWCM is ‘stringy’ hence coming from the word spiderweb. It may appear as a glob, or in smaller amounts in more watery mucus.

Not all women experience this form of mucus so don’t be alarmed if you don’t notice any EWCM. Some women swear by Evening Primrose Oil to increase their levels of EWCM, however see a naturopath and they can suggest an appropriate dosage for you. If you were to stretch EWCM between your thumb and index finger, you may notice it stretches, unlike the infertile mucus which keeps it’s shape. You can see why this form of mucus favours sperm — it has a consistency similar to sperm and creates an ideal environment for them to reach the egg.

For a more detailed article on ovulation, check out Ovulation Signs & Symptoms.

Post Ovulation Cervical Mucus

Following ovulation, you may find that the mucus may quickly return to the thick, tacky mucus or you may have none at all, leading up to your period. Some women experience a glob of mucus prior to getting their period, which is infertile.

Recording Cervical Mucus Observations

There are so many benefits to keeping a record of cervical mucus, especially when you are starting out on your conception journey. You will quickly notice your own, unique cycle pattern – you’ll become a pro at being able to tell when you are most likely to be ovulating, infertile or fertile.

Observations will become easier, like habit, and when putting together mucus information with other charting observations (see the article on Charting For Conception), you will have an even better idea on when you are more likely to aid or avoid conception.

 

 
Last Updated: March 28, 2016

CONTRIBUTOR

Kelly Winder is the creator of BellyBelly.com.au, a writer, doula (trained in 2005), and a mother of three awesome children. She's passionate about informing and educating fellow thinking parents and parents-to-be, especially about all the things she wishes she knew before she had her firstborn. Kelly is also passionate about travel, tea, travel, and animal rights and welfare. And travel.


36 comments

  1. My husband and I have been trying to conceive for a year…my periods scare me because ..they ate either late , once or twice didn’t start for a month??I’m scared I won’t be able to havr babies ..what do I do?

    1. Have sex as much as possible at this point. Start taking prenatal vitamins as well. Right after you have your period, do what they say about rabbits haha. If you’re trying to have a kid, getting your period should make you sad. But I understand why you are concerned.

  2. I have been trying to conceive i have 28 day cycle and I ovulate on 14the day but I always had sexual intercourse on the day I ovulate but all to no avail what can be the cause and my husband sperm count is normal what then is preventing from getting pregnant pls I help

    1. You need to have interiors before ovulation. It takes a little while for sperm to reach the egg do on the day of ovulation is probably too late. Try a day or 2 before and see if it helps. Also, it’s a good idea to have interiors every other day rather than every day as it helps produce better quality sperm. Hope this helps

  3. I find my menstrual circle very frustrating,sometimes is normal for two or three months and irregular In other months as in I get a 28 days circle and a 39 days circle,so now I dnt even know when I ovulate,and I want to get pregnant now.. Pls help

    1. Hi,

      This is two months after your post so you may be preggo already. If not, don’t let a crazy cycle make you think you’re going to find it hard. Mine range from anything from 28 days to 42. I got pregnant after 3 months of trying. You can also but ovulation sticks on Amazon quite cheap (50 for about £7). I found these helped pinpoint when I ovulate. Have sex every other day throughout your cycle and I’m sure it will happen for you. Good luck!

  4. Me and my boyfriend are really trying to conceive, I’ve been on 3 different birth controls I was on the mirena IUD first then I got one depo shot and then I got changed and I just stop my birth control pill, I have had a period since November 2014 when will I be able to ovulate or try to conceive?

    1. My doctor told me that if I was trying to concieve, then I needed to wait AT LEAST 3 months after stopping the use of birth control to start trying. Some people have to wait longer. The point of waiting is to make sure all of the birth control is out of your system and not conteracting you trying to get pregnant. Take prenatal vitamins already! That will prepare your body and start putting it on the right track. Also, have lots of sex. Lots.

  5. I had miscarriage last yr June, since then i ve been trying but all to no avail, what should i do again. I need advice I want to get pregnant as soon as possible.

  6. Right after my period ended, I had this egg-white mucus, and it feels wet. This is the first that happened to me. Is this normal? or could be a sign of something?

  7. Hi.
    I finished I period around the 11/12th of June and on the 14th June me and my hubby had intercourse several times thought June July and August. I haven’t got my period since 11/12th of June. I was wondering could I be pregnant or what?

  8. I saw my period a day before expected and it was heavy for two days,the third day it wasn’t like that.it stoped on the night/morning of the third day.after about three days I saw a brownish discharge which lasted for a day or so.this month,I saw my normal ovulation the first day but from the second day till it ended the discharge I was seeing was slippery,wet,watery.I am scared.could it be that I am pregnant?please help!

  9. Hi,
    I am 17, and I swear I am pregnant, I have not took a test yet, bc I don’t know how my parents will react, mainly my dad. My mom knows I think I am pregnant. And it may sound gross.
    But almost 3 weeks ago me and my fiance had unprotected sex, and it was my choice, I want to have a baby. And I am excited, well since we have, I havnt had my period, and was supposed to start last week. Still Havnt. My cervical mucus is thickish, stretches and it’s a clearish cloudy color. Is it possible I am pregnant. Could some one answer my question?

  10. Ok so, 3 weeks ago I had unprotected sex. Since I have not had my period, it was September, when I last had it. The mucus that comes out when I wipe, is a slimy clear. Slippery watery look. Could I be pregnant? I’m not nervous, I’m excited.

  11. Ok so i have a question…im on my period and when i went to go pee and i wiped and on the toliet paper there was this stretchy cloudy looking mucus…idk if its ouvlation or what? I need help….

  12. Please I currently have a baby girl and I want my next baby to be a boy, I need your guidance on how to accomplish this…my baby is still breastfeeding, and she’s just 7 months old.

  13. I have been trying to get pregnant for two years and its not working I have been having so abnormal menstration my period was suppose to come on the 23 of november but it didnt it came 2 of December and January finish and it didn’t come at all I don’t know what to do please help me I really need to get pregnant

  14. I have irregular period. My last LMP is 5th june 2016 to 11th june. Now my cerivical mucus looks like ovulating not sure about that will it possible. Or when i wil be ovulate.

  15. Hey there,
    I had I misscarrage two months ago I have my first period after about five week after I stop bleeding but sine I been having white discharge the whole time? It has been a month since my last period but I can’t say I’ve missed it because I never really had a regular period so can you please tell me either what going on or how I calculate when I’m ovulating?

  16. My parnter & i are really wanting to have a baby we have being together for 3 years and have being trying for about 2 years we have had no luck yet,im abit unsure when i ovulation because my period vary from month to month sometimes ill get it every 31 days like this time around for example but sometimes ill get it more or shorter then 31 days, i put the number of days inbetween from when my last period ended and counted up until my previous period started which was saturday the 2 july now it says my fertile window is from the 12 to the 15th which is next week, im hoping its correct but does anyone have any tips or advice they would like to give
    Im thinking of started on some folic acid tablets or prenatel vitams next week 🙂

  17. I was on the depo shot for 9 months stopped getting it i was to get it in april and just got a period for 2-3 days and today i took a shower and when i dried off i have a clear mucus discharge is that normal cause it hasn’t happened before that i have noticed what could that mean?

  18. Today 8/16/16 I wiped and say a tiny bit of clear shiny stuff on my toilet paper a very thin amount went to get ovalation test but at 2 PM I took it and it shows t a bit lighter then c confused on what this could be when I wiped it felt like I was on my period very silky please help I’m confused ty

  19. Me and my husband try to have a baby but i can’t tell when i was ovulating ,when i was teenager i have fertile cervical mucus but now its always white what the meaning of it?

  20. Hi, I’m 34 yrs old soon to be 35 in 3 months. In have 2 kids. 16 yr old son and 15 yr old daughter. I’ve been in my relationship for 4 yrs… We have tried several times to conceive and no luck…. My Dr had me to have the HSG procedure where, a tiny balloon like is inserted into me to view everything while having it done, I was told I had a blockage on my left side and which the procedure opened it. Which may have been the reason I couldn’t conceive.. I’ve given up on attempts now on trying to conveive. I don’t know what I can do on my own that will help me. My cycle is just going off today the 6th which started on the 2nd… I’m not sure of my ovulation period or anything. Please help. Where can I start doing as of now??? Should I too get prenatal vitamins from my Dr next week?? My hope is fading. Since with my kids father, whom they are both by. I’ve never even had a possibility of ever being pregnant… Tho I never tried until this relationship

  21. I was supposed to have my regular menstruation last 16th but it’s already 25th but I still have no signs of period. I noticed a small amount of thick white discharge on my undies today. What does that suppose to mean? Thanks.

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