What is Cervical Mucus?
The glands in a woman’s cervix secrete cervical mucus when stimulated by the hormone estrogen. Cervical mucus usually aids in conception as well as serves to protect the uterus from bacteria and various other foreign intruders. This cervical fluid is very important for conception because of its ability to keep the sperm alive for as much as five days in fertile fluid; protect the sperm from acidity within the vagina and transport the sperm towards the outer third wall in the fallopian tube for fertilization.
Cervical mucus contains 90% of water. This water content, which usually varies throughout the menstrual cycle, will help the mucus to serve as a barrier or a transportation medium for the sperm. In addition to the water content, the mucus also has other substances such as potassium, sodium, calcium, glucose, soluble proteins and amino acids. There are also some other trace elements present in the cervical mucus including iron, zinc, manganese, copper and selenium. These elements are present in varying levels, depending on the repeated hormone changes during various stages of the menstrual cycle.
Studies show that there are many different enzymes in the human cervical mucus. One of the natural ingredients found in the cervical fluid is Glycerol. According to the reports, sexual excitement will help to increase glycerol levels in the cervical fluid. It is assumed that the increasing levels of glycerol is responsible for adding a lubricating quality to the fertile cervical fluid and might be biologically important during the earlier phase of the reproductive activities.
It’s interesting to note that the mucus secreted from a woman’s cervix will change in consistency based on the stage in her monthly menstrual cycle. If a woman is familiar with these changes, this information will help to determine their most fertile days so that they can have sex accordingly. In general, a cervical monitoring test is used to keep track of the mucus changes and determine when ovulation will take place.
During the first stage of the cycle, the cervical mucus usually changes in abundance, color, consistency and fertile quality because of the increasing estrogen levels. The changes in the fluid typically follow a certain pattern.
Often, the cervical mucus will follow pattern which correspond with the phases in the menstrual cycle. Due to hormone fluctuations, the consistency of the cervical mucus will change during the cycle. Most women will experience dryness immediately after menstruating and they might have little mucus or none at all. Any mucus present during this time might have a clear or whitish color, but not too wet. A woman is said to be most fertile whenever the mucus becomes stretchy, slippery and clear.
Now, let’s take a look at the different the stages of the cervical mucus to give you a better understanding if you are trying to get pregnant.
Cervical mucus Stages
All couples who are trying to conceive must know about the cervical mucus stages during the menstrual cycle, because the changes will show the best times to have sexual intercourse. This method of identifying ovulation will come at no cost, so you can observe the mucus changes accurately, especially when done in combination with other methods. In a normal cycle, there are actually three main stages of mucus.
The first stage starts with sticky, scant mucus close to menstruation. When it gets closer to ovulation, the amount will change as mucus increases. Throughout ovulation, the mucus is copious and very thin, but it will eventually return to a dry state with a small amount appearing nearer to menstruation.
Most women will notice a little amount of mucus during menstruation because this time is often seen as the start of the cycle. For an average of 5 days, you should notice bleeding from a shed uterine lining. If you see any cervical fluid immediately after the bleeding, it’s likely to be sticky and scant, meaning that it is not fertile. This happens because the mucus is not favorable for sperm to travel easily to reach the egg. Basically, it’s almost impossible for many women to get pregnant during this stage of the cycle.
Several days after the menstruation ends, many fertile women will notice that the cervical mucus increases slightly. This is one of the cervical mucus stages where the consistency will appear slightly thinner. This will be great news if you are trying to get pregnant. At this stage, many women observe that the mucus is lotion-like, creamy and white. Sometimes, the mucus might be copious enough to show in your underwear. Since you are trying to conceive, this will be a good time to have intercourse because the sperm can survive for as much as five days in a warm environment.
Note that creamy mucus can indicate that you are less than 5 days way from ovulating. Another important point to note is that it’s not generally recommended for men with a low sperm count to start having sex up to one week prior to ovulation. However, this should not be problem for most couples who are not dealing with this condition.
Finally, the most desirable cervical mucus stages will occur immediately before and throughout ovulation. During this stage, a lot of mucus should be appearing in your underwear. Oftentimes, it is described as clear, thin and slippery like the look of raw egg whites. To know if the fluid is fertile, you can stretch it between your forefingers and thumb. Fertile mucus usually stretches easily and will not break, unlike the creamy or sticky mucus. You might observe this type mucus for almost one week, because it must be present right before, throughout and after ovulation. After that, the mucus should begin to taper off. If you are not pregnant, the cervical mucus stages should start after menstruation.
Products for Improving Cervical Mucus
There are few products on the market that can help women with low level of cervical fluid:
- Pre-Seed – fertility friendly lubricant
- FertileCM – natural product that increases your fertile cervical mucus
- Intivar – natural lubricant that stimulates the sexual response and gives a tightening sensation