Cervical mucus is a fluid or gel-like discharge from the cervix. Throughout a female’s menstrual cycle, the thickness and amount of cervical mucus changes throughout your cycle from dry to wet, creamy to eggy, stretchy to sticky.
Why does cervical mucus occur?
In order for pregnancy to occur, a female needs an egg, sperm and fertile cervical fluid. The cervical fluid allows the sperm to enter the uterus and come into contact with your egg during ovulation. The aim of the cervix is the gateway between your lower and upper reproductive tract. The consistency and volume of the cervical fluid changes with the reproductive hormones. This means that at different intervals of your cycle, the fluid changes to make it either difficult or easy for the sperm to swim through your cervix and into your uterus. The cervical fluid protects the sperm from any acidity and contains antibodies which helps keep away bacteria and viruses entering the vagina.
How to keep track of the changes in your cervical mucus
During your menstrual period – On day one of your period, your estrogen and progesterone levels are low. The estrogen levels determine your cervical fluid production and during this time your cervix is not producing much fluid.
After your period – After a few days after your period, you may experience dry days as your estrogen levels start rising. On these days, you might not notice any discharge.
Before ovulation – Your body produces mucus before an egg is released, or before ovulation occurs. It may be yellow, white, or cloudy in colour. The mucus may feel gluey or stretchy in consistency. In a 28-day menstrual cycle you will notice this fluid around day 9 or 10.
Immediately before ovulation – Just prior to ovulation, your estrogen levels are rising and much more cervical fluid is produced. You may see more clear, stretchy, watery, and slippery mucus which may be the consistency of egg whites.
During ovulation – The texture and pH of this mucus are protective for sperm and this would be the best time to have sex when trying to conceive.
After ovulation – Women will experience less discharge after ovulation. The texture and colour may turn thicker, cloudy, or gluey again.
Cervical mucus discharge is normal and part of a woman’s menstrual cycle. There is no reason to be concerned and tracking your cervical mucus can help predict when your ovulation period will start. If you are trying to avoid getting pregnant, always try and use a backup method of birth control.