Helping You Monitor Your Fertility

Recommended Pages for Further Reading

 

"Cervical mucus is extremely valuable for couples trying to conceive. It helps predict when ovulation is going to occur a couple of days in advance. This allows couples to maximize their chances of conception by having intercourse when fertility is highest."

 


Ovulation Calendar

 

Cervical mucus is an excellent predictor of fertility. By monitoring vaginal fluids, it is possible to anticipate ovulation. This is particularly valuable for couples trying to get pregnant. When ovulation is known in advance, sexual intercourse can be timed to coincide with the most fertile days of the female cycle.

Cervical Mucus

Cervical mucus undergoes changes near ovulation. Increasing estrogen levels cause vaginal fluids to become more lubricative, thinner, and more elastic. These changes help make it easier for sperm to travel to fertilize the egg and also increase the time that sperm can survive. Beyond their biological purpose, these changes create perceivable differences which can be used as an indicator of ovulation and fertility.

Cervical mucus can be described in several ways. The sensation, thickness, color, and consistency can be used to indicate current fertility. Early in the menstrual cycle, cervical mucus usually starts off dry and scarce and exhibits infertile characteristics. This corresponds to a very low chance of pregnancy.

As the cycle progresses, the cervical mucus will becomes more fertile as the chance of pregnancy increases. Initially the mucus will be white and cloudy and not stretch very far (less than half an inch) between your fingers before breaking. It will prefer to hold its shape rather than stretch.

As ovulation nears, the cervical mucus begins to show highly fertile signs. The volume of mucus will increase and it will become more transparent. Observers are also likely to note that it will become much thinner and more stretchy. The mucus will easily stretch between your fingers and remain intact. These characteristics are early indicators of ovulation and suggest that it is imminent.

After ovulation cervical mucus will begin to take on infertile characteristics similar to those described in the beginning of the cycle. This again indicates that pregnancy is unlikely to result from intercourse during this time.

Instructions

  1. First wash your hands
  2. Collect a sample of cervical mucus to study
    • Insert your finger into your vagina to take a sample of mucus
    • Use a white tissue to take a sample of mucus from outside the vagina
  3. Inspect the mucus for possible fertile characteristics:
    • Sensation: The mucus may be dry, moist and sticky, wet, or slippery and wet. These symptoms are ordered from least to most fertile.
    • Thickness: Thinner mucus is more indicative of fertility. Thick mucus is a sign that you are currently in an infertile part of your cycle.
    • Color: Mucus varies in color from white to transparent. Transparent mucus is the most fertile and suggests that ovulation is near.
    • Consistency: The consistency of cervical mucus can be tested by squeezing it together between two fingers and then separating your fingers. The mucus will stretch between your fingers to some degree. The more stretchy the mucus is, the higher your fertility.
  4. Record the observations on your symptothermal chart
  5. Wash your hands

Recording on Charts

Cervical mucus observations are recorded on symptothermal charts using a row beneath the temperature chart. It is common to chart both temperature and mucus. Each individual characteristic of the cervical mucus can be independently recorded or collectively summarized in a single value. In either case, it is common to record one of the following:

  • P - Indicates the Menstruation Period
  • D - Used to indicate cervical mucus that is Dry or otherwise possesses low fertility characteristics.
  • M - Used to indicate Moist or Moderate fertility characteristics. These observations suggest that the chance of getting pregnant exists and is growing but has not yet reached its peak.
  • S - Used to indicate the presence of Slippery fertile mucus. This occurs right around ovulation when fertility is highest. Some users prefer to use the letter F on their charts instead of the letter S since more than just sensation can indicate fertile mucus.
Some observations have more than three observable states. In these situations, the middle value can be written as M- or M+ to specify the lower (-) or higher (+) fertile characteristic. The following table summarizes the individual values that can be recorded on your chart for each observable symptom.

Cervical Mucus Sensation
Dry Moist or Sticky Wet Slippery
D M S S

Cervical Mucus Thickness
None Visible Thick Thinner Thin
D M- M+ S

Cervical Mucus Color
None Visible White Cloudy Transparent
D M- M+ S

Cervical Mucus Consistency
None Visible Holds Shape Slightly Stretchy Stretchy
D M- M+ S

Once mucus has been recorded on a symptothermal chart, it can be analyzed. The last day that exhibits highly fertile mucus characteristics (S) is the estimated date of ovulation using this method alone.

Benefits of Mucus Charting

Couples trying to conceive can benefit from tracking cervical mucus by knowing when ovulation is about to occur. This information is priceless since it suggests when the best time for intercourse is to maximize chances for conception. These fertility clues can also be used to begin taking ovulation tests to look for the LH surge associated with ovulation.

Couples interested in postponing pregnancy can benefit from tracking cervical mucus by knowing when the fertile period prior to ovulation begins. This helps identify when the odds of getting pregnant start to increase. Since cervical mucus can also help identify ovulation, this technique is also useful to compare against ovulation estimates produced by basal body temperature charting.

Advantages

  • Proven to be one of the most effective symptoms. Very commonly used by fertility awareness practitioners.
  • One of the best indicators of ovulation prior to its occurrence.
  • Identifies the most fertile period and therefore the best opportunity for couples trying to get pregnant.
  • Can suggest when it is appropriate to begin taking LH ovulation predictor tests as signs of fertility develop.
  • Inexpensive and does not require any special equipment.
  • Over time it allows women to develop a natural intuition for assessing their own fertility.

Disadvantages

  • Requires a couple of cycles to get familiar with the typical variation in characteristics of cervical mucus.
  • Recorded data is qualitative and requires interpretation
  • Semen may obscure observations