Cervical Mucus is essential to your reproductive health. Not only does it clean and protect your intimate area, but it’s also an efficient fertility indicator. Observing your daily vaginal discharge can help determine when you are more, or less likely to get pregnant. How? Read on.
Cervical Mucus: The Caretaker of your Reproductive System
In addition to vaginal cleansing secretions, your daily discharge also contains a substance called cervical mucus. It is produced in the cervix, which is the passageway between the uterus and the vagina.
Throughout your menstrual cycle, your cervical mucus changes in quantity and texture due to hormones. These changes are far from being random. They actually help protect and regulate your reproductive system.
In fact, fertilization only occurs when sperm manages to travel through the cervix (and its mucus), and past the uterus to reach the mature egg. During infertile days, the mission of cervical mucus is to prevent sperm from reaching the cervix. Its texture becomes rich in white blood cells to destroy foreign bodies and seal the cervical canal. But when you’re ovulating, its texture changes and so does its mission: at this time, the mucus becomes responsible for carrying the sperms through the cervix and extending their longevity for up to six days in your body.
Therefore, by observing changes in your cervical mucus, you can determine your least and most fertile days.
How can I observe cervical mucus?
There are different ways to check the consistency and color of your discharge. You can either wipe your vagina with a toilet paper or insert your index and third finger into your vaginal opening to collect the secretions.
Once collected, examine the color of the mucus. Then, press it and stretch it between your thumb and your index. This allows you to determine its consistency and texture.
It’s preferable not to conduct this test right after intercourse because the cervical mucus may be mixed with semen.
Fertile vs Infertile discharge - How to differentiate?
There are four main types of vaginal discharge that mark four different stages of a woman’s cycle:
- Infertile Discharge / Pre-ovulation Phase: After your period, you will hardly notice any discharge. These are “dry days” or, in other words, infertile days. Any vaginal discharge you see will be thick, dense, and feels rather sticky when you touch it between your fingers. It could be white or yellow.
- Fertile Discharge / Near-ovulation Phase: When you’re about to ovulate, your cervical mucus increases in quantity and becomes more watery and slippery. Its color is usually cloudy and white.
- Highly Fertile Discharge / Ovulation Phase: When you’re ovulating, your cervical mucus becomes more transparent and stringy. It’s commonly compared in color and consistency to egg white.
- Infertile Discharge / Post-ovulation Phase: After ovulation, your cervical mucus returns to being sticky and thick, followed by menstruation.