Cervical mucus: Stages, During Ovulation, Tracking, and More

Cervical mucus is a normal part of your menstrual cycle. It changes depending on where you are in the menstrual cycle, but other factors can also affect its color, consistency, and smell.

Learn more about cervical mucus and how tracking it can help you determine your ovulation period, plan your pregnancy, and detect any ovulation problems.

What is cervical mucus?

Cervical mucus, also called cervical fluid, is a discharge secreted by the cervix. Its amount and consistency change throughout the menstrual cycle. This occurs as the hormone levels vary across the menstrual cycle phases.

Since estrogen stimulates mucus production, the amount of cervical increases and decreases along with the rise and drop in hormone levels.

Tracking cervical mucus changes (cervical monitoring) can help you predict when you’re most likely to ovulate. This can help you 0to:

  • Get pregnant: To calculate your most fertile days, you can use an Ovulation Calculator tool.

  • Avoid pregnancy: To not conceive, avoid having sex during this period or use a barrier contraceptive.

What does cervical mucus do?

Your cervical mucus does the following:

  • Helps sperm travel up your cervix so that it can fertilize the egg during ovulation

  • Prevents other substances from getting into your cervix, protecting you against infections

Cervical mucus changes

The quantity, color, and consistency of cervical mucus vary from woman to woman and depend on where you are in your menstrual cycle.

Cervical mucus changes during menstrual cycle

Here are the common cervical mucus stages that you can experience during your menstrual cycle:

  • During the period: Since the cervical mucus is covered in blood, you may not notice it during these days.

  • After period: After your period is over, you may not see any discharge.

  • Before ovulation: Cervical mucus increases before an egg is released, ie, ovulation occurs. Cervical mucus during this time may become:

    • White, yellow, or cloudy

    • Stretchy or gluey

  • Just before ovulation: Just before your ovulation starts, your estrogen levels shoot up. Your cervical mucus may become:

  • During ovulation: This stretchy, clear mucus continues to be produced during cervical ovulation.

  • After ovulation: After the egg is released and goes unfertilized, the amount of cervical mucus decreases. It could turn back to being thicker, cloudy, or gluey. You could also experience dry days.

The cervical mucus produced in the ovulation period has a pH and texture that are protective of the sperm and conducive to conception. So, if you’re trying for a baby, have sex in this time frame.

Cervical mucus changes after conception

After a fertilized egg attaches to your uterus, ie, implantation occurs, cervical mucus usually becomes thick, gummy, and clear. You could experience implantation bleeding or spotting 6-12 days after conception. This bleeding should stop after 24-48 hours.

Cervical mucus changes in early pregnancy

During early pregnancy, your mucus becomes sticky in cervical consistency and white or yellow in color. This is known as leucorrhea. Your vaginal discharge could keep changing as your pregnancy progresses.

Cervical mucus changes on birth control

If you’re on birth control pills, your cervical mucus thickens so that sperm is not able to travel to the egg.

Causes of cervical mucus changes

Besides menstrual cycle-related cervical mucus changes that can help predict your ovulation period, there are other factors that can affect your discharge.

Some of the other causes of cervical mucus changes are as follows:

What is the cervical mucus method?

The cervical mucus method is used for planning to start a family naturally. Also known as the Billings Ovulation Method, this method requires you to carefully observe the changes in your cervical mucus during your menstrual cycle. Doing so over several cycles can help you determine your cervical mucus patterns and predict your most fertile days.

How the cervical mucus method can help you plan for pregnancy

If you’re trying to get pregnant, using the cervical mucus method can help you determine the best time for conception. You can improve your chances of getting pregnant by having sex these days.

How the cervical mucus method can help you avoid getting pregnant

If you don’t want to get pregnant, use the cervical mucus method to determine the days on which you should not have sex or, at least, unprotected sex.

How to check cervical mucus

By checking your cervical mucus, you can:

  • Track your ovulation period to plan for or avoid pregnancy

  • Determine if you have ovulatory problems, an infection, or some other health issues

You can track cervical mucus changes daily using the following ways:

  • Your fingers: To use this method:

    • Insert one or two clean fingers inside your vagina (close to the cervix)

    • Remove your finger(s)

    • Note the consistency, color, and smell of the cervical mucus on your finger(s)

  • toilet paper: In this method:

    • Before peeing, use a white, unscented toilet paper to wipe your vaginal opening

    • Note the texture, color, and smell of the cervical mucus on the toilet paper

  • Pantyliner or underwear: To follow this method:

    • Check your panty liner or underwear

    • Note the consistency, color, and smell of the cervical mucus on the underwear/panty liner

    • Note: This method is less reliable than others as your observations could vary based on the color of your underwear and the time passed since the discharge

Always wash your hands before and after performing any of these checks.

If your cervical mucus seems abnormal, it could indicate ovulatory issues, infections, or other health problems. Visit your doctor for a diagnosis of your cervical mucus problems.

If you’re trying for a baby using the cervical mucus method, use an ovulation calculator to increase your chances of getting pregnant. This tool will help you determine your most fertile days.

Other ways to track ovulation

Here are some other ways that you can use to track ovulation:

  • Monitor your basal body temperature. You need to record your temperature at the same time each day. During ovulation, your basal body temperature rises slightly.

  • Use an Ovulation Calculator. This tool can help calculate your most fertile days based on:

  • Take a fertility test. Visit a fertility specialty if you’re:

When to See a Doctor

The abnormal discharge could be a sign of an infection. Consult a Doctor If you notice any of the following:

  • Gray, green, or yellow cervical mucus

  • Burning sensation or itchiness

  • Foul-smelling cervical mucus

  • Swelling or redness

Also, see a doctor if you notice bloody cervical discharge outside of periods and don’t think you could be pregnant.


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