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 question what all this mucus is about?!

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

Observing your cervical mucus can be more useful than you may think. If you want to aid or avoid conception, cervical mucus observations are said to be around 98.5% accurate as to the fertile and infertile times in your monthly cycle.

The word ‘mucus’ might make you cringe, but knowing the different states of your mucus and what it means can be a strong indicator for ovulation, infertile times and fertile times.

Firstly, it’s important to note that there are some situations in which your mucus may be effected 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

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.

Plenty of BellyBelly members, including myself, swear by mucus observations and find it to be very empowering. Our body can be like one great big unknown, but gaining such a huge insight to something so simple may be very rewarding indeed.

Recommended Reading (Books)

If you’d like to read others experiences or even contribute your own, please join us in the BellyBelly Forums. We have a section dedicated to conception. Alternately, BellyBelly highly recommends the below books to help you conceive, faster.

Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler

Plan to Get Pregnant: 10 Steps to Maximum Fertility by Zita West

Natural Fertility: The Complete Guide to Avoiding or Achieving Conception by Francesca Naish


Last Updated: June 23, 2015


Kelly Winder is the creator of BellyBelly.com.au, a doula, writer and mother to three awesome children. Currently, she's travelling the world for 12 months with her partner and children, and hopes to inspire more families to do the same. Visit aroundtheworldpluskids.com.au for more information.


  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?

  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?

  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?

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