When a couple is trying to conceive, it is often helpful to have an idea of exactly how fertile the woman is. There are tests that will provide this information. They are easy enough to use, but they can be expensive and you often have to test every day until you establish when your fertile period starts. However, there is an easier, more affordable, and a more natural way. A woman can tell how fertile she is by examining her cervical mucus.
Changes Throughout a Woman’s Cycle
A woman has several hundred glands in the opening of her cervix. These glands release some mucus every day. But during ovulation, the production of this mucus increases to between 10 and 30 times regular daily levels. The thickness and water content of this mucus varies throughout a woman’s cycle. If a woman checks her cervical mucus daily and keeps track of it, she can pinpoint her fertility window.
How to Check Your Cervical Mucus
During the first part of a woman’s cycle, after she has had her period, her mucus may be very dry. Leading up to ovulation, the consistency of the mucus will go from dry to creamy, then to cloudy, then to watery, and then finally to egg-white. When a woman ovulates, typically in the middle of her cycle, she can insert her fingers (clean of course) into her vagina to get some of the mucus that is inside. Squeeze the mucus between your thumb and index finger. If you can pull your index finger away from your thumb and the mucus stretches about an inch, this is a very good sign that you are at the peak of fertility.
The production of cervical mucus is at its lowest immediately following your period, as you enter your fertile window, the cervical mucus will increase in quantity and moistness. In the days immediately preceding ovulation, the production of cervical mucus will be at its highest and will be similar to the consistency and color of egg whites. After ovulation, the quantity begins to decline and the cervical mucus becomes thicker in consistency.
How This Mucus Aids Fertility
When the mucus is egg white and stretchy, it creates a medium that is hospitable and not hostile to sperm. The mucus, when it is in this state, helps the sperm get through the cervix to the egg. This egg white, stretchy mucus is triggered by a woman’s body and is part of her natural monthly cycle. The consistency of the mucus is determined by the influence of the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
The thickness and water content of this mucus varies from one woman to the next and from the beginning of her cycle to the end. By tracking the thickness and consistency of this bodily fluid, a woman can determine her peak times of fertility and pinpoint her fertility window.