Cervical Mucus Matters

July 15, 2008

The Role of Cervical Mucus

Cervical mucus has a very critical role in conception, allowing for fertilization to happen outside of the time of ovulation.  It has a specific and important purpose, that of caring for the sperm and hastening its travel through the uterus and into the Fallopian tube where it will fertilize the egg.

The cervical mucus changes throughout the menstrual cycle reflecting where the woman is in her cycle.  By understanding a little of when the changes occur a woman can be quite sure of when she's ovulating and when the best time to conceive would be.  As the cycle progresses after menstruation, the volume of cervical mucus becomes greater and at the same time the texture of the mucus changes, reflecting the rising levels of hormones in the body.  At the stage where the mucus is clear, slippery and stretchy, sort of like raw egg whites, fertility is considered to be at its peak.

Collecting A Sample of Cervical Mucus

A woman can determine her most fertile time by collecting a sample of cervical mucus and testing it herself.  Before doing the collection of mucus, it is very important to use an antibacterial soap on the hands to ensure there is no passage of infection or germs.  If the mucus is discolored or has a smell, there may be an infection present and collecting the mucus at such a time is not recommended.  If all is well, the mucus may be collected by inserting a finger into the vagina and collecting some mucus.  The most effective way to collect cervical mucus is to put the finger as far as possible into the vaginal canal and circle the cervix.    One may choose to wipe the entrance to the vagina with a piece of toilet paper and then analyze the mucus that way.

Monitoring the Changes in Cervical Mucus

Monitoring the various changes in the cervical mucus provides results that can be trusted when trying to get pregnant.  By doing the self test, you can check your secretions by getting a sample and stretching it between two fingers to determine where in the cycle you are.  It becomes possible to pinpoint ovulation using this method.  Before ovulation, when there is a very small chance of conceiving, there will not likely  be any discharge.  The vulva area is quite dry.  The initial discharge as ovulation approaches should be white or creamy colored, sticky and moist.  It doesn't stretch well however as time goes on the volume of mucus increases and there is another change in the consistency.  At the peak time around ovulation the mucus becomes clear, thin and stretchy.  The finger testing should allow for a stretch of several inches.  There is a peak for this mucus and it will continue to increase as it allows for the sperm to penetrate the cervix.  After ovulation, the mucus returns to being sticky and moist and dryness begins to return to the vulva area.

Using this method, women can be fairly confident of the time of their ovulation.

 

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