One of the ways you can monitor your ovulation is by learning to track your cervical mucus patterns. In this method, you will pay attention to your cervical mucus discharge, which can help you gauge your fertility at any given moment during your cycle.
Your cervical mucus helps with ovulation tracking, allowing you to know when you are most fertile for conception to be successful.
Remember that when it is your first time checking your cervical mucus, it is normal not to know what to expect and what you are looking for. But there is no need to worry – you will quickly get the hang of it. Regularly checking during each cycle helps you understand what is what, when it happens for your body, and what it means for your fertility.
What your cervical mucus patterns are telling you
While your patterns may vary from cycle to cycle (and it certainly varies from woman to woman), here is a detailed representation of what you can expect. Or at least what to work with your practitioner in case you are not observing any cervical mucus changes.
Here is what cervical mucus patterns typically look like during a woman’s cycle:[1-5]
- Immediately following your menstruation, there is often a dry vaginal sensation and little to no cervical mucus or fluid.
- After a few days of dryness, there may be some mucus that is best described as sticky or pasty – but not wet. Take note that even if this kind is not conducive to sperm survival, you may be considered “possibly fertile” when you have this type of cervical mucus if they occur before ovulation.
- Following these sticky or pasty days, most women notice cervical mucus, which can best be described as creamy, stretchy, and wet – but is not yet egg white-like. It may be white, yellow, or beige. At this point, the mucus may have a look and feel of a lotion or cream, and the vagina may feel moist or wet, indicating possible increased fertility. This type of mucus can also last for several days.
- The next type of mucus you can expect, the most fertile, is very slippery and stretchy. It is the cervical mucus before your period or preceding ovulation by 1-2 days and does not last long (usually a maximum of three days). It is typically clear and may be quite watery. The vagina feels wet and lubricated. This kind of mucus is the most friendly and receptive to sperm. It looks a lot like semen and, like semen, can act as a transport for sperm.
- After ovulation, fertile fluids dry up very quickly, and the vagina remains more or less dry until the next cycle. Some women may experience small amounts of fertile-looking fluid after ovulation as the corpus luteum produces small amounts of estrogen.
Depending on several factors, endometriosis can affect a woman’s ability to conceive. It includes whether she develops an endometrioma (concentrated in the ovary) or if she develops it in her pelvis or fallopian tubes. Regardless of placement, this condition can negatively impact egg quality due to increased inflammation in the pelvic region and can also impact implantation.[3-6]
Cervical mucus texture and fertility
Based on the above explanation, here is a takeaway of what your cervical mucus implies regarding your fertility. Take note that the color of this type of vaginal discharge is not of great significance. The texture is the relevant part.
- Dry cervical mucus: Probably not fertile
- Sticky/pasty, not wet cervical mucus: Possibly fertile (if you have this before ovulation)
- Creamy, stretchy, wet cervical mucus: Possibly fertile
- Spinn, egg white-like cervical mucus: Likely fertile
What to do if your cervical mucus patterns are unchanging?
If you are having difficulty understanding your patterns because your cervical mucus seems to be staying the same (or it might be changing, but only to the slightest extent), follow the recommendations below.
- Do a pregnancy test – this can sometimes be the reason.
- Keep monitoring your mucus. Initially, you may not see changes because you may need clarification on what you are looking for. But the more you check, the more familiar you will be with your body and its patterns. The whole process will become much easier.
- Seek professional advice from a competent and qualified naturopathic practitioner about your mucus patterns if:
- Your cervical mucus patterns remain unclear after 1-2 cycles.
- The amount of mucus you produce is very small or nonexistent.
- Your patterns are unchanging.
- You do not experience any ‘spinn’ mucus before ovulation.
Any of the pattern issues described above may relate to hormonal imbalances. These are often easily and effectively treated with the help of individualized herbal medicines that your specialist practitioner can prescribe.[6-8]
Learning to track your cervical mucus patterns and check your cervical position helps you understand your cycle better. Monitoring your basal body temperature is another wonderful tool that helps you keep tabs on your ovulation at home, which you can learn more about here.
Utilizing these methods together ensures you are giving yourself the best possible chance of getting pregnant.
Trying to overcome infertility or miscarriage?
 Blackwell, L., et al. Self-Monitoring of Fertility Hormones: A New Era for Natural Family Planning? The Linacre Quarterly, 2018. 85(1). PMID: 29970935.
 Bigelow, J.L., et al. Mucus observations in the fertile window: a better predictor of conception than timing of intercourse. Human Reproduction, 2004. 19(4). PMID: 14990542.
 Dhanalakshmi, K., et al. Physiology, Menstrual Cycle. StatPearls, 2019. PMID: 29763196.
 Evans-Hoeker, E., et al. Cervical mucus monitoring prevalence and associated fecundability in women trying to conceive. Fertility and Sterility, 2014. 100(4). PMID: 23850303.
 Thijssen, A., et al. ‘Fertility Awareness-Based Methods’ and subfertility: a systematic review. Facts, Views, and Visions in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Health, 2014. 6(3). PMID: 25374654.
 Alliende, M.E., et al. Towards the Clinical Evaluation of the Luteal Phase in Fertile Women: A Preliminary Study of Normative Urinary Hormone Profiles. Frontiers in Public Health, 2018. PMID: 29904625.
 Duffy, D.M., et al. Ovulation: Parallels With Inflammatory Processes. Endocrine Reviews, 2019. 40(2). PMID: 30496379.
 Arentz, S., et al. Herbal medicine for the management of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and associated oligo/amenorrhoea and hyperandrogenism; a review of the laboratory evidence for effects with corroborative clinical findings. BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies, 2014. PMID: 25524718.