Cervical Mucous

Conditions within the cervix, may impact your fertility, but they are rarely the sole cause of infertility. It is important for your physician to know if you have had prior biopsies, surgeries or laser treatment of the cervix, abnormal pap smears. In order to determine if there is a problem with your cervix; your physician may recommend a postcoital test (PCT) which evaluates cervical mucus, sperm, and the interaction between the two. However, many physicians are not recommending this test because it has not been shown to increase pregnancy rates. Cervical problems are generally treated with antibiotics, hormones, or by IUI.

Although it may take some a lot of work, learning to detect changes in your cervical mucus is an easy and effective of way of predicting ovulation. According to a recent study, it is a more accurate way of predicting ovulation than basal temperature, although it can be used in conjunction with it.

The mucus released by the cervix serves different purposes at different intervals. When you are not ovulating, cervical mucus prevents sperm from getting into the uterus at a time when you could not become pregnant anyway. As your body gets close to ovulation, your cervix secretes an increasing amount of mucus, and when you are most fertile, your cervical mucus is stretchy and clear, like the consistency of egg whites. This mucus helps protect the sperm and helps it on the journey toward the egg.

Cervical Mucus Changes for a 28 Day Cycle

Days 1-5: Menstruation occurs.

Days 6-9: Vagina is dry with little to no mucus.

Days 10-12: Sticky, thick mucus appears, gradually becoming whiter and thinner.

Days 13-15: Mucus becomes thin, slippery, stretchy, and clear, similar to the consistency of egg whites. This is the most fertile stage.

Days 16-21: Mucus becomes sticky and thick again.

Days 22-28: Vagina becomes dry.

There are some cases where you may not be able to collect a sufficient amount of cervical mucus. Some reasons why cervical mucus may not be ample enough are medications that make your vagina dry, normal aging, chemical allergy and skin conditions and last but not least, stress.

If you are not able to determine your time of ovulation, you may have to use alternative ovulation prediction methods, such as basal body temperature (BBT) charting or ovulation tests OPK’s). Keep a journal or chart on your mucus changes in order to determine how your body works and what is your normal pattern.

References:

American Society For Reproductive Medicine. (2003). Infertility: An Overview. A Guide for Patients. Retrieved from:  http://www.asrm.org/uploadedFiles/ASRM_Content/Resources/Patient_Resources/Fact_Sheets_and_Info_Booklets/infertility_overview.pdf

Infertility & Reproduction Guide. Fertility and Charting Your Menstrual Cycle. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/charting-your-fertility-cycle?page=2

Causes of Vaginal Dryness. (2010). WrongDiagnosis.com. Retrieved from: http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/symptoms/vaginal_dryness/causes.htm

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