Cervical mucus is a fluid that’s produced by your cervix. The cervix will expel mucus as a response to estrogen level increases, but you can check your own mucus, too. Don’t worry, we’ll discuss how to check and examine your cervical mucus at the end of this article.
When you check your cervical mucus, you’ll be able to determine where you’re at in your menstrual cycle.
Women who want to get pregnant will learn what cervical mucus after ovulation looks like, so that they know they’re at a point in their cycle where they have a lower chance of pregnancy. The mucus also changes after pregnancy, so a woman will check her cervical mucus to determine if pregnancy has occurred. And the types of cervical mucus are a proven way to determine the precise point in your cycle.
Table of Contents
- Cervical Mucus After Ovulation
- The 5 Types of Cervical Mucus
- Cervical Mucus During Pregnancy
- 11 Tips to Check Cervical Mucus
- 1. Clean Your Hands Well
- 2. Insert Your Finger(s) and Check the Mucus
- 3. Adjust Your Positioning to Your Preference
- 4. Spread Your Fingers Afterwards
- 5. Check After a Bowel Movement
- 6. Medications May Affect Cervical Mucus
- 7. Check Additional Signs As Well
- 8. Be Cautious About Non-Medicinal Strategies
- 9. The Importance of Hydration
- 10. Do Not Clean Inside the Vagina
- 11. Tracking Fertility Using the Cervical Mucus Method
Cervical Mucus After Ovulation
On an average day, the body produces 10-50 mg of cervical mucus. However, during ovulation, the body can produce as much as 500-600 mg. Changes in mucus and viscosity can also occur during the menstrual cycle.
Mucins, which are large proteins, are responsible for the viscosity of the mucus. However, the consistency is also affected by estrogen and progesterone, which are female hormones.
Mucus is also full of many other electrolytes and components such as calcium, potassium, sodium, glucose, amino acids and proteins. Small amounts of zinc, copper and manganese are even found in cervical mucus.
When ovulation occurs, estrogen levels are higher and mucus is thinner, which lets the sperm move more easily into the uterus.
In addition to that, if the pH level of the uterus is alkaline – non-acidic – the conditions of the uterus are more hospitable for the sperm. As a result, this increases the likelihood of conception.
The odds of conception are reduced after ovulation because the mucus becomes thicker and the pH levels become more acidic. In other words, the uterus is less hospitable for the sperm.
Mucus thickness can also be affected by birth control pills, which cause the mucus to become thicker and prohibit movement of the sperm. This drastically decreases the odds of conception.
The 5 Types of Cervical Mucus
Cervical mucus (not discharge) is an indicator of hormonal changes in the body. Hormone levels result in thicker mucus, or thinner mucus. Even the color may change from a translucent color to a creamy white.
There are five main types of cervical mucus:
- Dry and Sticky: This is cervical mucus after menstruation.
- White, Creamy Color and Sticky: This is the mucus that comes during pre-ovulation.
- Watery and Wet: Another pre-ovulation change that indicates ovulation is on the way. This is the time when a woman wants to increase her sexual intercourse in hopes of getting pregnant.
- Egg White and Stretchy: Cervical mucus during ovulation is egg white in color, and it stretches between the fingers, too. This is cervical mucus before a period.
- Dry and Sticky: This is the cervical mucus after ovulation and before your period begins. The amount of mucus decreases during this phase and becomes sticky.
These are the 5 main changes a woman will experience during her cycle. If you’re trying to judge when you’re going to have your period, you’ll want to look at the cervical mucus after ovulation. The mucus should go from egg white in color and stretchy to sticky and dry with a noticeable decrease in the amount of mucus.
You can check your cervical mucus by inserting two fingers into your vagina and rubbing them along the inside of the cervix. At this point in your menstrual cycle, you’ll notice that the mucus feels dry.
However, you’ll notice that it gradually becomes stickier if you’re checking regularly.
At this time in your menstrual cycle, you’ll notice that the body produces an increased amount of cervical mucus. This is the best time to increase sexual activity since it is the most fertile time in the cycle.
All 5 types of mucus can be used as indicators that can help you get pregnant.
Pregnancy is gradual, and just as there are three trimesters, the body will undergo numerous changes or phases where the cervical mucus changes in consistency. But before we discuss these changes in detail, it’s important to know the purpose of cervical mucus, and why it’s vital to your reproductive system.
Cervical mucus stops bacteria from entering the reproductive system.
Mucus is the barrier, and this is essential to the health of your reproductive system. If bacteria are allowed to enter, you’ll have:
- Higher risk of STDs
And some STDs will alter the mucus, making it easier to get these infections.
When the mucus becomes egg white in color and sticky, this is the mucus providing a healthy environment to get pregnant. The mucus changes to protect a male’s sperm and provide an environment that allows the sperm to swim with ease.
Estrogen plays a role in the mucus changes in the body, and when pregnant, estrogen levels will fluctuate.
When pregnant, the cervix moves to a lower position than you’re used to normally. This is to protect the fetus, and it’s a sign that pregnancy is moving along as it should be. Cervical mucus will thicken when you become pregnant to protect the baby from any outside bacteria that can caused harm.
In fact, the mucus will become so thick that it forms an eventual mucus plug.
The mucus plug is the ultimate protector of the fetus, and women often use the plug’s coming out to know that labor is on the way.
During early pregnancy, the cervical mucus will be:
If you’re newly pregnant, you may notice a tinge of pink or brown in your mucus, too. This color difference is a result of implantation blood in some cases, or it can be the reproductive system ridding itself of the last remaining dried blood left over from your past menstrual cycles.
Cervical mucus increases during pregnancy until the plug forms.
Mucus increases to help increase the vagina’s blood flow. Cervical mucus during early pregnancy is not a cause for alarm. Cervical mucus during pregnancy is perfectly normal and healthy, too.
If you have no discharge before a period, this may be a sign of early pregnancy.
Remember, the discharge will be drier and stickier after ovulation if you’re not pregnant. But if you’re pregnant, you’ll have no discharge (in some cases) which can be an indicator that you’ve successfully conceived.
11 Tips to Check Cervical Mucus
If you’re intrigued and want to check your cervical mucus, it’s a simple process. Anytime you plan to insert anything into the vagina, you’ll want to make sure everything is clean. This brings us to our first tip:
1. Clean Your Hands Well
You can check your cervical mucus through several different ways. One way is to look in your underwear at any discharge that has occurred. However, this is not really the best method because the discharge may have dried up by the time you can check it.
Another way to check is by using toilet paper to open your vagina and then looking at any mucus on the toilet paper. If you choose to use toilet paper, you should do it before you pee though.
The most effective way to check your cervical mucus is probably to just use your fingers.
You’ll be inserting your pointer and middle finger into your vagina. This is required to view the mucus up close, and your hands are chock-full of bad bacteria. You’ve touched your dog, door knobs (filled with bacteria) and numerous other things that have left bacteria on your hands.
Clean your hands well before proceeding.
Tip: Check your mucus after taking a shower to ensure your entire body is clean. This will lower the risks of an infection or bacteria entering the cervix.
2. Insert Your Finger(s) and Check the Mucus
You’ll need to insert your fingers into the vagina to examine the mucus. If you remove your finger(s) and don’t notice any mucus, you’ll need to insert deeper. This is a difficult process to judge, so it might take a few tries before knowing how deep to insert your fingers.
But don’t worry – you won’t be doing yourself any harm.
Just take it slow. You may also want to:
- Trim your nails (ouch)
- Remove rings or hand jewelry
You don’t want to use a lubricant because this may alter the appearance of texture of the cervical mucus.
3. Adjust Your Positioning to Your Preference
You need to find a comfortable position to insert your fingers into your vagina. If you don’t find a comfortable position, you’ll cause pain and discomfort, or you’ll stop trying to check your cervical mucus altogether.
A few positions that seem to work best for most women, and feel free to try any you prefer, include:
- Squatting– When in a squat, it’s easier to insert your fingers deeper into the vagina. You’ll want to do this in your bedroom or bathroom, but most certainly do this in a private place.
- Leg Up – If you’re in the bathroom or close to a chair, lift one leg up and place it on the toilet or other surface. This position gives you ample room to insert your fingers and allows for deeper penetration.
These are the two go-to positions, and you can also try positions while laying down to find what works best for you.
Again, any position that allows for deep insertion and easy entry is great.
4. Spread Your Fingers Afterwards
If you want to see what your cervical mucus after ovulations looks like, you’ll need to first
see what mucus looks like during ovulation. A prime characteristic of mucus during ovulation is that it’s stretchy.
Inserting your pointer and middle finger into your vagina allows you to judge this stickiness accordingly.
When you remove your fingers:
- Spread them apart
- Note the length the mucus spreads
- Note the stickiness of the mucus
If the cervical mucus spreads an inch or more, this is a sign of ovulation. This is the time when you’ll want to ramp up your sex life if you’re trying to get pregnant.
But if you remove your finger and it’s dry and sticky, you’ll be looking at mucus after ovulation.
The only benefit of being able to examine and properly note your mucus at this time is:
- You’ll know when your period is close
If you’ve been trying to get pregnant, you can use this mucus to determine if pregnancy occurred. This should be done with something along the lines of charting your basal temperature, and of course, you’ll want to take a pregnancy test to confirm your findings.
5. Check After a Bowel Movement
Sometimes, it can be difficult to find cervical mucus. Since bowel movement can move vaginal discharge down the vagina, you might consider trying after you have a bowel movement. You’ll still want to make sure you dry off down there after peeing.
6. Medications May Affect Cervical Mucus
Some medications that you take can affect your menstrual cycle, affecting the appearance of your cervical mucus as a result. If you are tracking your ovulation cycle by checking your cervical mucus, make sure you know how medications may affect your body.
For example, antihistamines are meant to dry out your sinuses, but they do not just dry up the mucus from your sinuses. They also dry out the ones in other places, like your vagina. Another medication known to affect the appearance of cervical mucus is Clomid, a common fertility drug.
Even though the medication is a fertility drug, it causes the cervical mucus to have a different appearance than that of regular fertile cervical mucus.
7. Check Additional Signs As Well
Some women have multiple fertile spots in their cervix, such as those who have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Women who have health conditions that affect the way their bodies produce cervical mucus should check for other signs of ovulation.
This would include recording your basal body temperature or paying attention to the position of and changes in your cervix.
8. Be Cautious About Non-Medicinal Strategies
People are likely to try many different natural ways to conceive before turning to pharmaceuticals and doctors.
Before you do this though, you need to be aware of your current body’s condition and the medications you are currently on. This is so that you will be able to determine whether it is safe for you to try certain non-medicinal strategies.
For example, it is said that taking Vitamin E supplements can improve the quality of cervical mucus. However, people who are on certain medications such as blood thinners should not take Vitamin E.
L-arginine is also believed to aid in increasing the quality and production of cervical mucus. However, there is no information on how much of this amino acid the average person can consume before becoming sick.
Taking too much could cause some side effects such as stomach upset, allergic reactions, or potential chemical imbalance.
9. The Importance of Hydration
Staying hydrated is important for so many aspects of our body’s health and this includes hydration of the cervix as well. If your body is not getting enough water, your mucus membranes will not be as moist either – your cervical area is included in that.
If your body isn’t properly hydrated, you will not be able to rely on checking your cervical mucus to track your ovulation cycle.
10. Do Not Clean Inside the Vagina
It is important to know that your body is supposed to produce cervical mucus, which means that you should not wash deep inside the vagina. Cervical mucus actually helps protect the cervix from bacteria.
Not only that, if you are trying to get pregnant by checking your cervical mucus and tracking your ovulation cycle, using a douche to clean inside your vagina will actually decrease your fertility.
11. Tracking Fertility Using the Cervical Mucus Method
This method of fertility tracking involves observing your cervical mucus to track your cycle and determine when you are most – or least – fertile. In order for this to work, you’ll have to examine your cervical fluid daily and keep track of its appearance and consistency.
You can keep track of this on a calendar, or if you’re more technology savvy, you can look for an app that can assist you.
Tracking changes in your cervical mucus can help you avoid pregnancy by predicting when you will be most fertile. This is so that you know to avoid having unprotected sex during that time.
Roughly one-quarter of women who use the cervical mucus method to avoid getting pregnant will get pregnant. Tracking changes to aid in conception will help you predict when you will be most fertile so that you can increase your sexual activity during that time frame.
Never announce to your family that you’re pregnant based off your cervical mucus alone – it’s a recipe for disaster.
Cervical mucus is an indicator of which stage of your menstrual cycle you’re actively in at any given moment during your cycle.