Charting Changes In Cervical Mucus

July 1, 2010

Women have at their disposal several ways to pinpoint the time in their cycles when they are at their most fertile. But one of the easiest and most reliable ways to determine that ovulation is around the corner is to observe the everyday changes of your cervical mucus. A woman's vaginal secretions undergo changes throughout the month.

Branching Ferns-Test Cervical Mucus

When you are at your most fertile, you will observe that your cervical mucus has great elasticity and is thin and watery. If you have a microscope, you can even observe a pattern created by your cervical mucus that resembles the branching of fern leaves. This is known as "ferning."

The time-tested method of charting cervical mucus changes really works and can help you figure out when ovulation will occur. Best of all, it uses the clues created by your own body to teach you when it's time to have some unprotected conception sex. The various types of cervical mucus (cloudy, thick, sticky, white, thin, clear, and stretchy) created by your body, correlate to specific times in your cycle.

The different kinds of cervical mucus serve different reproductive functions. When the menstrual period is ending, the cervix will be plugged with very thick mucus of an acidic nature. This type of cervical mucus is meant to prevent sperm from making the journey into your uterus. At this point in your cycle, your reproductive state is not conducive to creating a healthy fetus. This thick, acidic mucus prevents the conception of an unhealthy or deformed fetus which could in turn, lead to a miscarriage.

Baby-Making Sex

When ovulation occurs, on the other hand, the cervical mucus is thin and watery. This mucus is not acidic and due to its ferning properties can help to guide sperm to the cervix and toward an egg. You can observe this ferning pattern by placing a sample of your cervical mucus on a slide which you can then view under a microscope set at low magnification. If you see this kind of mucus, your body is sending you a message to engage in baby-making sex.  

Be aware that cervical mucus may also undergo changes due to the use of hormone-based contraceptives such as the Pill. These changes in your hormones serve to make you infertile, and as such, will cause your cervical mucus to stay thick and white at every point in your cycle. This is caused by the hormones which cause your body to stop producing fertile mucus.

Some women have this thick white mucus at all points in their cycle without benefit of hormonal contraceptives. This condition is known as "hostile cervical mucus." In this case, the mucus can be thinned with medication. This treatment can sometimes help a woman to conceive.

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