Monitoring Your Cervical Mucus

Monitoring your cervical mucus is one of the best first steps to take in assuring your fertility is functioning at full capacity in order to increase your odds of getting pregnant. Changes in your cervical mucus can tell you when ovulation occurs, so that you know when is the best time to begin trying to conceive.

What Does My Cervical Mucus Reveal?

On days when you're not at your most fertile, the mucus from your cervix will either be light in color or sticky in texture.

During the few days leading up to ovulation, when you're most fertile, your cervical mucus will change to become clear, slippery and stretchy – a consistency that is commonly compared to that of a raw egg white. This type of vaginal discharge usually happens either the day before, or the day of, ovulation.

The change in volume and texture of your cervical mucus is due to the increase in estrogen levels that accompanies ovulation. After ovulation, progesterone abruptly suppresses the peak mucus and the mucus pattern continues with sticky mucus for a day or two, and then returns to dryness. If you are taking fertility drugs such as Clomid to induce ovulation, changes in cervical mucus patterns may occur more regularly, so you should speak with your doctor about how to identify peak periods.

How to Check Your Cervical Mucus

There are three principle ways through which you can collect a sample of your cervical mucus:

  • wiping with toilet paper or your fingers across the opening of your vagina
  • wearing a panty liner (although this can sometimes make the mucus hard to detect)
  • inserting your finger into your vagina and circling it around your cervix (this is considered the most accurate way as you are collecting the mucus and not just its wetness)

Once you have collected a sample, you can test it by stretching it between your thumb and index finger to check its consistency. Chart your results. You may also want to monitor its texture throughout the day.

What Exactly Am I Looking For?

In the days approaching and during ovulation are when you have the greatest chance of conceiving. To detect when these days occur, look for mucus that is:

  • moist
  • white/creamy color (this means you are approaching ovulation)
  • clear in color (this means you are ovulating)
  • stretchy – should be able to pull your fingers at least 1 cm apart
  • thin in consistency (this will increase as you further approach ovulation)

Things to Keep in Mind

When testing for cervical mucus, you should take into consideration the fact that there can be a number of influencing factors that could affect the consistency of the discharge, other than your fertility. Vaginal infections, certain medications (including birth control and other conditions affecting ovulation can have a significant impact on your body’s ability to produce cervical mucus. Being over the age of 35 also affects the consistency of your cervical mucus.

If monitoring your cervical mucus does not give you a sense of your ovulation patterns, you may consider an alternate method, such as ovulation testing and charting your basal body temperature (BBT).