Cervical fluid gets a lot of credit for helping women get pregnant. Even though you probably disregarded cervical fluid as bothersome discharge when you were younger, it’s actually incredibly important to pay attention to as you try to conceive.
But why, exactly, do we care so much about this slimy mucus?
The Importance of Cervical Fluid
Cervical fluid acts as a sort of conception superhighway. It aids sperm traveling through the vagina to fertilize an egg. The fluid contains important enzymes, electrolytes, amino acids, proteins, and glucose—all of which power sperm along their journey.
Cervical fluid can also help you identify when you’re ovulating. As you near ovulation, cervical fluid should become more clear, copious, and sticky—almost like egg whites.
By tracking cervical fluid, you can identify which days you are most fertile, greatly increasing your chances of conception. In fact, a 2013 study revealed that women who monitor their cervical fluid are more than twice as likely to conceive as women who don’t keep track of it.
While it's good to monitor your discharge, you don't need to obsess over it or track it everyday. Remember, you ideally want to have sex before ovulation — so use your discharge more as a confirmation of ovulation, and not as the sole indicator of your fertility.
What Your Cervical Fluid Should Look Like
Ideally, your cervical fluid should change in quality and quantity as you near ovulation. Here are the stages healthy cervical fluid goes through during an ideal menstrual cycle:
After your period (before ovulation): No cervical fluid (dry)
Nearing ovulation: Pearly white or cream-colored. It is thick like lotion and breaks easily when stretched.
During ovulation: Thin and watery. It stretches without breaking and is similar to the consistency of egg whites.
After ovulation (before your period): Noticeable decrease in quantity. It is thick, pearly white or cream-colored, and dry.
During period: No cervical fluid or indistinguishable from menstrual blood
Suboptimal cervical fluid is often described as:
These types of suboptimal cervical fluid can be signs of dehydration and fluid deficiency in the body. Cervical fluid is made of 90 percent water so if you’re not drinking enough water, your cervical fluid will not be thin or abundant.
If your cervical fluid is odorous, green, yellow, or red, however, it might be an indication of an infection and calls for a trip to your OBGYN.
If you have scanty cervical fluid, or don't really have any at all, your chances of conception may be compromised. Conceivable can help build a custom program for you to improve the quality and quantity of cervical fluid.
How to Check Your Cervical Fluid
Now we're getting personal. There are three main ways to check your cervical fluid:
1. Use a tissue or toilet paper to wipe the opening of the vagina before you use the bathroom. Inspect the quality and color of the fluid on the tissue.
2. Use your fingers to feel the mucus around the opening of the vagina. Rub your fingers together and slowly stretch them apart to examine the quality of the fluid in greater depth.
3. Check the mucus internally by inserting two fingers into your vagina and carefully swiping the fluid from the cervix.
Try the methods above and pay close attention to your cervical fluid during your next cycle and be sure to track when if you're seeing fertile cervical fluid or not. Your cervical fluid is giving you a wonderful, natural fertility tool that will gives you clues as to when you are ovulating. Take advantage of it!