Authored by; Dr. Arlene Dubier
Naturopathic Doctor & Birth Doula
You may be wondering why your Naturopathic Doctor or Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner asks you about your cervical mucous every time you come in for an appointment, but trust me, it’s important! Your cervical mucous changes in texture, volume and colour at different parts of your menstrual cycle and these are changes can help you determine the time in which conception is most probable. This can also help for those of us who would like to be
more in tune with our bodies and reproductive health.
But I’m Already Using Ovulation Predictor Kits
If you are using ovulation predictor kits (OPKs), these can track changes in luteinizing hormone (LH) levels. A surge in LH can indicate that ovulation is about to happen, but it does not indicate that ovulation has truly occurred. This is where either tracking basal body temperature (BBT) or cervical mucous changes can come in handy. BBT typically increases by 0.3-0.6 degrees Celsius on the day of ovulation. Tracking BBT is wonderful but can sometimes become challenging and potentially inaccurate, especially for those who have shift-work, travel
frequently, or have trouble sleeping.
What are the types of Cervical Mucous?
Mucous or discharge is something which is produced by the cervix, and fluctuations in estrogen can trigger changes in this mucous to allow sperm easier access to the uterus for fertilization and implantation. From person to person, there can be slight variations in cervical mucous, but the most common could appear anywhere from:
The type of mucous which signifies that you are in your window of ovulation is the slippery mucous, which is similar in look and texture to raw egg-whites. As estrogen rises, this type of mucous can last from one to four days.
How to Track Cervical Mucous
This can be the part which people can be a little squeamish about, but as you practice you can get more comfortable checking cervical mucous. You can insert two clean fingers into your vagina and remove some mucous, checking the texture by squeezing your fingers together and then pulling them apart. Another, lower maintenance way of doing this is by simply wiping the vaginal area gently with toilet paper before urinating. If there is a slipperiness to the wipe, then you are likely experiencing cervical mucous. You can double check by looking at the toilet paper or any residual discharge on your underwear.
The best thing you can do is either use a period tracking app which tracks cervical
mucous, such as “Flo App”, or use a hand-written journal to track mucous changes. Using an app, will allow the algorithm to determine when you are most likely to have this fertile cervical mucous so you can time intercourse appropriately. However, it is important to keep in mind that most apps are slightly inaccurate by 1-2 days unless you have a textbook 28-day menstrual cycle. This is why, tracking ovulation via OPKs may also be used in tandem with cervical mucous
How Accurate is Cervical Mucous?
There can be some difficulties with cervical mucous accuracy, especially with regards to hydration or lack thereof which can give the appearance of lower volume of mucous. If there is an infection of the vaginal or urinary tract, there can also be foul smelling odour or a difference in colour. Additionally, the use of lubricants can also alter the ph of the vagina, if not ph-balanced or protected, and this can change the colour, texture and odour of the cervical mucous. Opt for fertility-friendly lubricants such as “Pre-Seed” by First Response to prevent changes in cervical mucous.
Lastly, a past history of birth control usage can affect how “friendly” cervical mucous is to sperm. Being off the birth control pill for more than 3 months had a more positive effect on cervical mucous, than if women had been off the pill for a shorter period of time
Cervical mucous is not the only form of fertility awareness that you should hang you hat on. There are a multitude of ways to track your fertile window, the most common being OPKs. However, as was previously mentioned, it is always best to couple an OPK with either basal body temperature and/or cervical mucous tracking.
I offer a free consultation to all new patients. Book today to see me for a free 30 minute consultation. We can discuss any questions you might have on how best to track your fertile window, and how to improve your chances of conception.
Wishing you all the best on your fertility journey!
1. Najmabadi, S., Schliep, K., Simonsen, S.E., Porucznik, C.A., Egger, M.J. & Stanford, J.B.
(2021). Cervical mucus patterns and the fertile windown in women without known
subfertility: a pooled analysis of three cohorts, Human Reproduction. 36(7), 1784-1795.
2. Oster, E. (2013). Expecting better: Why the conventional pregnancy wisdom is wrong
and what you really need to know. Penguin Random House.