It may not be the most glamorous topic but cervical mucus is an important bodily fluid, particularly when it comes to fertility.
In fact some conception experts believe it’s one of the more important factors involved in successful baby-making. So read on to find out what your cervical mucus is telling you and how to improve it if necessary.
Why is cervical mucus so important?
Cervical mucus is a jelly-like substance produced by tiny glands in the cervix called cervical crypts. The gatekeeper to the cervix, fallopian tubes and uterus, the fluid helps prevent bacteria (and sometimes sperm) from leaving the vaginal canal.
When it’s receptive, the mucus helps transport the sperm to where hopefully an egg is waiting, protecting the sperm from the very acidic environment of the vagina. Left alone, the acids in the vagina would most likely prevent sperm from moving forward, and even neutralise them.
At less fertile times, cervical mucus becomes thicker and blocks the sperm from entering the cervix.
For many women, once they understand their bodies and cycles, their cervical mucus becomes a gauge of their fertility, telling them the best time to conceive.
The language of cervical mucus
Observing the changes in your cervical mucus can be very beneficial, particularly if you’re trying to get pregnant. Some fertility experts claim that cervical mucus observations are 98.5 percent accurate in helping you predict the fertile times of your cycle.
Here’s a guide to fertile and infertile mucus that happens during an average cycle. Remember though, that every woman is different so if you want to use mucus observations to help you conceive, spend a couple of cycles charting your discharge.
- Infertile mucus: Often present directly after a period, this mucus is dry and thick with many women describing it as “blob-like”. Sperm find it impossible to pass through this mucus to the cervix.
- Possibly fertile mucus: A few days after the end of a period the mucus thins out slightly and may even seem to be more abundant. But it is still quite thick and unlikely to enable conception.
- Fertile mucus: This feels wet and slippery compared to infertile mucus and is likely to be clear mucus or have a cloudy/white colour to it. Some women describe it as more watery and much more abundant.
- Highly fertile mucus: As your body prepares to ovulate, the mucus will often turn to an “egg white” consistency – that is, thin, clear and slightly stringy. It is a much stretchier discharge and easy for the sperm to swim through.
What’s hostile mucus?
Hostile cervical mucus is discharge that is too thick to allow sperm to enter the cervix, hence hindering conception.
Every single woman will have hostile cervical mucus at some point during her cycle. Others, however, have more persistent unreceptive mucus.
If you feel your mucus is of the infertile variety more often than not, speak to your doctor.
Improving your mucus
Your cervical mucus can also be a gauge of your health so if you feel that you are lacking in mucus there are some natural ways to improve the quality and quantity including:
- Decrease the amount of caffeine in your diet
- Drink at least two litres of water a day
- Try the herbal remedy, evening primrose oil, which has been found to improve the amount and quality of cervical fluid
But if you’re worried about your cervical fluids or you’re not noticing any changes at the time you think you’re ovulating, don’t self-diagnose, talk to your GP.