Detecting Ovulation With Cervical Mucus
When you’re trying to get pregnant, there is a never-ending amount of fertility advice and recommendations. One piece of advice that you’re likely to hear is to check your cervical mucus.
While cervical mucus is considered a great indicator for determining when you’re most fertile, many women do not know what it looks like or how to evaluate its appearance and consistency.
As you probably know, you only have a short window of time each month when you can get pregnant. Ovulation typically only lasts for up to two days. However, you are likely fertile up to four or five days before ovulation occurs.
Paying attention to your cervical mucus may help you detect when ovulation is going to occur, giving you a more accurate way to determine the best time for conception.
Here is a short guide for checking your cervical mucus.
How to Check Your Cervical Mucus
There are two primary methods of identifying changes in the quality of your cervical mucus. You can either check with your fingers or check when you wipe after using the toilet.
When using your fingers, make sure that you thoroughly wash and dry your hands. Get in a comfortable position. You may sit on the toilet or place one leg up on the edge of the bathtub.
Place your index finger or middle finger into your vagina and attempt to reach near your cervix. Depending on the quantity of the mucus, you may not need to insert your finger very far. However, the closer you get to the cervix the better. Use caution, and stop if you feel extreme discomfort.
When you remove your finger, check the mucus. Visually inspect the color of the mucus, and then roll it between your finger and thumb to determine its consistency.
You can also check your cervical mucus after going to the bathroom. When you wipe with toilet paper, don’t toss the paper in the toilet. However, you should still roll the mucus between a finger and thumb to check its consistency.
Cervical Mucus Changes During Your Cycle
Throughout the menstrual cycle, your cervical mucus will continue to go through changes. This is how you detect when ovulation is about to occur. Pay attention to these changes as you check your mucus each day.
During menstruation, you don’t need to worry about checking your mucus. This is when the quality and quantity of your mucus are at their lowest levels. If you detect cervical mucus, the mucus is generally yellow or cloudy and sticky. It may also be dry or completely undetectable.
As you get closer to your ovulation date, the quantity of cervical mucus will begin to increase. Estrogen levels begin to increase, causing your cervix to produce more mucus. The color may also change, becoming creamy, like a lotion.
The quality and quantity of the mucus will continue to change as you get closer to the ovulation. One to two days before ovulation, the cervical mucus should have the color and consistency of egg whites.
After ovulation, the mucus begins to get dryer and thicker. By checking your cervical mucus every day, you can detect and track these changes. You may want to make a note of the consistency each day to begin gaining a better idea of when you ovulate.
Cervical Mucus Consistency After Conception
Your cervical mucus also changes after conception. After fertilization of the egg, the mucus should become thicker and clearer. These changes may last for six to twelve days after conception. You may also detect implantation bleeding, which may last for up to two days.
The changes in the cervical mucus after conception may be difficult to detect. However, you should be able to distinguish it from the consistency of your mucus after ovulation.
If the mucus doesn’t get drier and cloudier after ovulation, but it gets thicker and clearer, you may be pregnant.
Cervical Mucus Consistency in Early Pregnancy
If you are pregnant, the cervical mucus will continue to change during the first few weeks of your pregnancy. It may become stickier and white or yellow.
This mucus is called leukorrhea. In other situations, leukorrhea may be a cause for concern.
However, leukorrhea is often caused by the increase in blood flow to the vagina from increased estrogen levels and is quite normal during early pregnancy.
Using the Cervical Mucus Method in Natural Family Planning
Natural family planning refers to fertility methods that don’t involve any type of drugs, surgical procedures, or technical devices.
You instead rely on natural methods for determining the best time to conceive and best solutions for increasing fertility.
Checking your cervical mucus is a primary part of natural family planning. However, there are additional methods, including the symptom-thermal methods.
With this option, you track and chart your basal body temperature (BBT) and cervical mucus quality and quantity to gain a more accurate fertile window.
Dealing with Abnormal Changes in Cervical Mucus
If you detect changes in your cervical mucus that don’t fit with the natural changes discussed, you should plan a visit to your doctor, gynecologist, or fertility specialist. For example, your mucus may remain dry leading up to ovulation.
There could be several possible causes of abnormal mucus, including dehydration, hormonal imbalances, and infections. The best way to deal with these changes is to get evaluated by a health professional.
Last Thoughts on Checking Your Cervical Mucus
Checking your cervical mucus is a simple method for helping to detect your fertile window. If you want to get pregnant, determining your fertile window is incredibly useful. This lets you know which days you are most likely to get pregnant after having sex.
Typically, you’re only fertile for four or five days leading up to ovulation. The rest of the month, your chances of getting pregnant are almost zero.
By checking your cervical mucus, you may avoid the need to visit a fertility specialist or to purchase an expensive ovulation tracker to detect ovulation.
Remember that healthy, quality cervical mucus looks a bit like egg whites. When you detect this mucus, you can determine your most fertile days of the month. While the process may gross you out a little at first, you’ll eventually get used to this simple ovulation detection method.