What is Cervical Mucus?
Ever wondered, 'what is cervical mucus'? Also known as cervical fluid or discharge, cervical mucus is a substance that forms in the cervix and is discharged through the vagina. Read on to find out about what causes cervical mucus, the stages of cervical mucus, fertility tracking and more.
What causes cervical mucus?
The hormone that regulates cervical mucus is the main female sex hormone, estrogen. Throughout the menstrual cycle, the amount and consistency of cervical mucus changes, as it’s closely linked to fertility. It’s common to find discharge in underwear, or when you wipe after using the toilet. Cervical mucus plays a key role in our reproductive health.
The stages of cervical mucus
The consistency of cervical mucus changes throughout your cycle depending on your fertility. After your period, cervical mucus might be completely absent. After a few days, cervical mucus may appear with a dry texture. After this, the fluid takes on a creamier consistency.
In the fertile window before ovulation, the consistency of cervical mucus changes again. It has a wet, slippery consistency and is quite stretchy – this is sometimes called ‘egg white cervical mucus’. This type of cervical fluid promotes sperm survival and helps sperm swim closer to the egg for fertilization. After ovulation, you may experience dry, sticky or no cervical mucus before your period begins again.
Tracking cervical mucus
While cervical mucus can be used as a fertility indicator, it varies from woman to woman and can be difficult to interpret – and can require dedicated training. It’s also possible to misinterpret cervical fluid as sexual secretion (the body’s natural lubricant). This is why Natural Cycles takes two objective measurements into account, basal body temperature and luteinizing hormone. Natural Cycles also requires the input of period data to learn your unique cycle.
However, we know many of our users want to track their cervical mucus alongside other changes in their bodies. In our recent update to the Add Data page, we have included cervical mucus tracking. This means you can now easily track the amount and consistency throughout your cycle. It’s worth noting that while the algorithm will not take cervical mucus into account, you can still learn a lot about your body while using trackers in the app and you may start to notice patterns in the changes of your cycle.
Learn your unique cycle
Natural Cycles is an intelligent app that can be used to prevent or plan a pregnancy. Take your temperature most mornings when you wake up and enter it into the app. The algorithm analyzes body temperature in order to find ovulation. This data helps the app learn which are your most fertile days. Understanding your fertility can give you other insights too, like when to expect PMS or when it’s best to carry out a self-breast exam.