Checking cervical mucus for fertility

After ovulation, the hormone progesterone causes cervical mucus to become sticky and thick. This stops sperm (and any other foreign substance) from getting through to the uterus.

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As ovulation approaches, the cervical mucus changes from a consistency that's not sperm-friendly to a more fertile variety. While everyone's body is different, the general changes in consistency that cervical mucus goes through are:

  • Menstruation ( the most obvious one, though one does not check the nature of cervical mucus here as it is not really possible)
  • Dry or sticky
  • To creamy like lotion
  • To wet and watery
  • To a raw egg white consistency
  • Then, back to dry and sticky
  • Until menstruation again

When one’s cervical mucus is in the wet or raw egg white consistency stage, ovulation is approaching. This is the best time to have sex if one wants to get pregnant. Monitoring cervical mucus needs to be a consistent habit and needs to be made on a daily basis. If multiple types of mucus are noted throughout the day, the most fertile type of cervical mucus should be recorded.

There are different types and consistencies of cervical mucus which are indicative of the different stages in the fertility cycle,

Type 1 – lowest fertility

Appearance: nothing seen

Sensation: dry, rough and itchy, or nothing felt

Type 2 – low fertility

Appearance: nothing seen

Sensation: damp

Type 3 – intermediate fertility

Appearance: mucus is thick, creamy, whitish, yellowish, not stretchy/elastic, and sticky

Sensation: damp

Type 4 – high fertility

Appearance: mucus is transparent, like raw egg white, stretchy/elastic, liquid, watery, or reddish.

Sensation: wet, slippery, smooth

The different criteria on the basis of which cervical mucus needs to be recorded include,

  • Appearance: Many women observe cervical mucus on toilet tissue after wiping, however, finger testing can be done. To perform finger testing, one needs to lift the mucus off of the tissue and observe it between the finger and thumb. The color, appearance and consistency of the cervical mucus should be observed.
  • Sensation: In order to determine the sensation produced by the cervical mucus, one should make note of the sensations that are felt at the vulva (i.e, the lips of the vagina). Categories include: dry, damp and wet/slippery.
  • Fertile Window: Type 1 and Type 2 cervical mucus are typically associated with the beginning of the menstrual cycle and lower fertility. Type 3 cervical mucus is transitional cervical mucus which may indicate that one is entering the fertile window. Type 4 cervical mucus is indicative of the most fertile time of the cycle. Intercourse during this period is most likely to increase chances of pregnancy. Multiple studies have suggested that the best chance of pregnancy is when intercourse occurs on a day which is near ovulation and Type 4 cervical mucus is present.
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