What Your Cervical Mucus Says About Your Cycle
Rebecca Verhofstede - Midwife Cycle & fertility Expert
Let’s talk cervical mucus. It’s not exactly the hot goss with your mates, but it’s important to know about it, especially if you’re trying for a baby. And if you don’t like the word mucus, sorry in advance. We’re going to say it about 30 times in this post! Brace yourself!
Maybe you’ve noticed some white or transparent discharge in your underwear? You probably didn’t get up close and personal with it. Maybe you even felt a little grossed out or ashamed? You shouldn’t be because this is more than just an uncomfortable wet spot. It’s actually a magical invention from Mother Nature!
Yes, this discharge can actually tell you some pretty important things about your body… if you’re paying attention.
What is Cervical Mucus?
That wet stuff in your underwear has countless names: cervical mucus, uterine mucus or simply just discharge. It’s all the same: mucus made by your cervix.
This mucus has two roles: it protects your uterus from invaders, but it also tells you a lot about your cycle and your health.
But hold up! Don’t you sometimes want invaders? (Read: sperm!) Yes! If you’re trying for a baby, sperm is, well, kind of essential!
So that’s when cervical mucus gives you a helping hand. You can think of cervical mucus like a train that sperm cells can ride on! All aboard! Next stop: your egg
But as you know, you can’t get pregnant all month long, so your mucus changes throughout your cycle. It can be thick or thin, transparent or creamy, watery or elastic.
A Month of Mucus
Here’s what your cervical mucus looks like throughout your cycle and what it tells you about your body.
Before your period
After your ovulation, estrogen will drop back, and progesterone increases. As a result, mucus will decrease in quality and quantity. Your cervical mucus will become thick, sticky, white, yellowish or granular again and may even be absent on some days.
During your period
During your period, you won’t have much discharge because your levels of estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest. Low oestrogen means less discharge. If you had any, you won't be able to see it now anyway because of the blood loss.
After your period
Shortly after your period, you may notice little to no cervical mucus. Your vulva may also feel dry. As your oestrogen increases, your cervical mucus becomes thicker, stickier and creamy or white. When it’s dry, you’ll probably notice a grainy layer on your underwear. Sometimes it’s also yellow (glamorous, we know). Don’t worry, this is all quite normal!
Around and during your ovulation
When you are about to ovulate, you will notice an obvious difference in your cervical mucus.
This is when your estrogen level is at its highest. So during this time, your discharge will be slippery, clear and elastic and your vulva may feel wetter.
After you wee, pay attention when you wipe. You might be able to see long threads of mucus between you and the toilet paper. It will look a bit like raw egg whites.
Are you ovulating and wanting to get pregnant? Then it's time for sexytime! Enjoy 😉
Also check our blog article: ‘How your cycle affects your sex drive’
More Fun Facts About Mucus:
- Your cervical mucus ensures sperm cells can easily survive inside you on their way to an egg.
- Cervical mucus acts as a natural lubricant – sex feels better!
- Your discharge during ovulation can be 10-20 times more than normal!
Guud to Know
- Not all women experience the same amount of cervical mucus around their ovulation. Because of this, analysing your cervical mucus can sometimes be difficult to apply. For some women, it is easy to observe when visiting the toilet, while for others, it is almost imperceptible.
- Sex drive in… well, overdrive? Then your discharge will probably be different so it makes no sense to check cervical mucus when you’re feeling fired up. Just had sex? Not the time to check either.
- Visible cervical mucus is not a requirement for successful conception. There are plenty of women who do not notice mucus during their fertile period, but still get pregnant. In that case, the fertile mucus does not appear to leave the uterus, but is therefore present internally to a greater or lesser extent.
Analysing your cervical mucus can be way to know where you are in your cycle but it does not guarantee results and is prone to human error. If a baby is not in the cards for you, don’t guess. Use your preferred form of contraception and party on!
If you want to track your cycle better and more accurate, we recommend keeping track of your basal body temperature to predict your fertile days. By measuring your basal temperature daily, you will know when you are fertile. If you measure your temperature daily at about the same time in the morning before getting up and have had enough sleep, your temperature can rise by 0.2 to 0.6 °C for up to 2 days after your ovulation. This happens because of the hormone progesterone. The temperature remains high and drops back to the low temperature level just before or during your next period.
So… where’s the mucus?
What if you don’t seem to have any cervical mucus? Well, it could be because you’re about to get your period. This is very normal!
But, if you find that you are regularly quite dry down there, there could be a few reasons why:
- The Pill: Hormonal contraceptive messes up your hormones and adds artificial ones. This changes your cervical mucus.
- Medicine: Some drugs will affect your discharge. Some common drugs that have an impact on cervical mucus include ibuprofen, aspirin, cold or sleep medicine, antidepressants or medicine to treat epilepsy.
- Dehydration: Do you drink enough water each day? If not, this will definitely make you dry.
- Sitting: If you sit for long periods of time every day, the blood flow to your uterus will be lower and will also cause changes to your uterine lining.
- Using tampons: We like tampons, but in addition to absorbing blood, they also absorb moisture. So if you are already dry downstairs, try a pad or a cup during your period instead.
- Low estrogen: If you’re estrogen levels are lower, you might not have as much mucus. This comes with age (Sorry, over 35-ladies!) or can be related to hormonal abnormalities like PCOS.
Your Mucus and Your Health
Your cycle is a great indicator of your overall health. And your cervical mucus can also tell you even more about your general wellbeing.
But remember: things like smoking, extreme sports or intense diets can all impact your cervical mucus by throwing your body out of balance.