How Charting Cervical Mucus Can Help You Get Pregnant Faster
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Is your cervical mucus watery or dry? Clear and stretchy? Believe it or not, paying attention to your normal vaginal discharge can help you get pregnant.
You may have heard of The Billings Ovulation Method. The Billings Ovulation Method is a natural family planning method that relies heavily on cervical mucus changes. Women use it to conceive or avoid conception. However, you don’t need to be using that particular method to gain benefits from tracking cervical mucus changes.
Many women who track their body basal temperature also pay attention to cervical mucus changes. Marking these changes on your fertility calendarcan provide extra information on when you might be ovulating. This can help you time sex for pregnancy.
Fertility and ovulation apps will often have an area to mark your cervical mucus. But how do you know what you’re looking at? What do the abbreviations mean?
Bleeding / Menstruation
During your period, you can mark your cervical mucus on your chart with a B or M.
Depending on the fertility charting software you’re using, the section where you mark menstruation and spotting may be separate from the cervical mucus indicators.
What if you’re spotting, and it’s not your regular period? That information is also important to mark on your chart.
Spotting between periods can be normal, but sometimes it indicates a fertility problem. You should let your doctor if you’re experiencing spotting at random times in your cycle. Spotting lightly on the day of your period can be normal, as can spotting that comes the last day of your period. Some women also spot lightly around the time of ovulation.
Generally speaking, you’re not fertile during your period, when you’re actively bleeding. But don’t assume you can’t conceive if you have sex on your period. You can get pregnant if you ovulate early and have sexual intercourse towards the end of your cycle.
If you’re trying to get pregnant, you shouldn’t worry about having sex during this time (unless you want to.)
Dry Cervical Mucus
You may mark a simple X or D, for dry, on the days you do not notice much cervical mucus.
The word dry here is a bit of an exaggeration. Unless you’re experiencing low hormonal levels (which can lead to severe vaginal dryness), dry doesn’t mean “dry” as much as it means “not that damp.” You’re not very fertile during this time.
Sexual intercourse can be uncomfortable when your cervical discharge is dry. Even though sex during this period is not likely to lead to pregnancy, some women experience vaginal dryness even when they are about to ovulate. Possible reasons for abnormal vaginal dryness include hormonal imbalances, age, side effects of some medications, and previous surgery on the cervix.
If you don’t ever seem to get fertile cervical mucus—vaginal discharge that produces a noticeable “wet” feeling around the time of ovulation, at about mid-cycle—you should speak to your doctor.
If you experience vaginal dryness when you should have natural lubrication, it’s important you use fertility friendly sperm lubricants. This will help make sex more comfortable, and may help keep sperm healthy and alive long enough to travel up into the cervix. Regular personal lubricants can harm sperm and may throw off the pH of your vagina.
As long as you’re trying to conceive, stick to fertility friendly lubes.
Sticky Cervical Mucus
You can use an S (for sticky) or SCM (for sticky cervical mucus) on the days you notice sticky cervical mucus.
Sticky cervical mucus is a bit like children’s craft paste but less chunky. It’s not dry, but it’s not smooth and creamy either.
If you have sticky cervical mucus on your fingers and try to stretch some between your forefinger and thumb, it will break quickly.
It is not considered fertile cervical mucus.
Creamy Cervical Mucus
C (for creamy) or CCM (for creamy cervical mucus) can be used on the days you notice creamy cervical mucus.
This cervical mucus may appear white, creamy, and stretch just slightly more than sticky cervical mucus. It looks a lot like lotion.
It’s not considered fertile cervical mucus, though some women may only get creamy cervical mucus before ovulation.
Though it’s not considered the most fertile kind of cervical mucus, it may precede your fertile period. Ovulation is likely coming soon. If you were trying to avoid pregnancy, you would not want to have sex at this time without additional protection. If you do want to get pregnant, you should have sexual intercourse when you see creamy cervical mucus.
Watery Cervical Mucus
W (for watery) or WCM (for watery cervical mucus) may be used to indicate when your cervical mucus has a watery consistency.
This kind of cervical mucus will stretch further than creamy cervical mucus, and it appears clearer. You may also notice more of it than during the creamy stage. Watery cervical mucus is more likely to be felt on your underwear. You are also more likely to notice the difference in feeling in your vulva. You won’t necessarily need to check with your fingers.
The wet feeling you get when you have watery cervical mucus is part of why women feel more sexually turned on at this time of the month. (Nature wants you to get pregnant, and knows how to get you there!)
While not the “ideal” fertile cervical mucus, watery cervical mucus isfertile.
If you want to get pregnant, be sure to have sex now!
Egg-White Cervical Mucus
E or EW (for egg white) or EWCM (for egg white cervical mucus) may be used to indicate when your cervical mucus is the consistency of raw egg whites.
This is the most fertile of cervical mucus. It is abundant and will stretch a couple inches between your fingers. It’s clear, stretchy, and mucus-like. It really does look a lot like raw egg white.
When you see this kind of cervical mucus, you need to be having sex now! Ovulation is right around the corner.
When Your Cervical Mucus Sends Confusing Signals
Cervical mucus changes are not an ideal ovulation detection method for everyone. For example, some women experience vaginal dryness, for a variety of reasons. They may never see more than creamy cervical mucus. This may lead them to think they aren’t fertile when they are. However, it is possible to ovulate and not ever see egg-white cervical mucus.
On the other hand, some women experience multiple patches of egg-white cervical mucus throughout the month. In this case, ovulation isn’t necessarily going to happen soon. This is especially common in women with PCOS.
A Word From Verywell
Tracking cervical mucus changes can give you a better idea of when you’re ovulating and when you’re most fertile. After you learn the basics of checking and understanding your vaginal discharge, this may be the easies and certainly least expensive method of ovulation detection. If you’re trying to get pregnant, consider using a few different ovulation detection methods, until you find the best one for you.
That said, checking for cervical mucus is not for everyone. If trying to time sex for pregnancy is too stressful, don’t do it. Instead, have sexual intercourse three to four times a week. You’ll have sex on at least one of your fertile days.
If you’re concerned about your cervical discharge—whether you’re worried it’s too little, too much, or just seems unusual—be sure to talk to your doctor. Talking about vaginal discharge can be embarrassing, but your doctor is not embarrassed by the topic. They want you to tell them your concerns, so they can help.
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