august 2023

Cervical Mucus: What To Look For When Trying For A Baby

Read this guide to learn the symptoms of ovulation and know the sign of your fertility.

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A woman with her underwear around her ankles notices she has egg white discharge during ovulation.

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Checking your cervical mucus can provide you with a wealth of information and help improve your chances of getting pregnant. Its colour and consistency and how much cervical mucus is produced change throughout your cycle.

By keeping track of these changes, you’ll learn to identify what your cervical mucus looks like just before ovulation - this is commonly known as fertile cervical mucus and is an excellent indicator that you are in your ‘fertile window’.

What is cervical mucus?

Cervical mucus is a secretion produced by your cervix, the entrance to your uterus from the vagina, also known as the ‘neck of the womb’. Hormones dictate the consistency, colour and quantity of your cervical mucus, which changes as your hormone levels change throughout your cycle.

Your vaginal discharge is mainly composed of cervical mucus and has three essential functions:

  • It protects the uterus from the entrance of germs and dirt (and also sperm during certain days of your cycle).
  • It keeps your vagina lubricated and clean (your discharge helps ‘wash away’ unwanted substances).
  • And, just before and during ovulation, its consistency and composition change and become ‘sperm-friendly’ - helping sperm to stay alive and healthy and travel through the cervix to meet your egg.
  • Knowing how to identify this fertile cervical mucus is essential when trying to conceive, as timing intercourse during these days increases your chances of getting pregnant.

Changes to cervical mucus

As we mentioned above, the changing levels of different hormones during your cycle result in changes to the colour and consistency of your cervical mucus and the cervix itself.

Here are the ovulation discharge stages that you can expect to experience:

1. Cervical mucus during menstruation

During menstruation - the little cervical mucus produced during your period is mixed with blood, so it is not identifiable.

2. Discharge after menstruation

Directly after menstruation, your discharge becomes minimal or is absent, and you have a few (usually 3-4) ‘dry days’. The chance of conception during these days is very low.

After this, your discharge slowly increases and becomes somewhat thick and a little sticky, varying in colour from white to cloudy or pale yellow. This change happens as your levels of oestrogen increase, and the follicle in one of your ovaries matures.

3. Vaginal discharge approaching ovulation

Vaginal discharge increases as you approach ovulation, becoming wetter and creamier, similar to a lotion.

4. Cervical mucus at ovulation

On the days immediately approaching ovulation and on ovulation day itself, your vaginal discharge will significantly increase in amount - usually becoming copious - and become transparent, stretchy and slippery, resembling a raw egg white discharge.

This is the perfect medium for sperm to survive and be transport