What is cervical mucus?
How to get pregnant fast, thanks to cervical fluid
- Cervical fluid shifts the pH of the vagina to a more alkaline environment to keep the sperm alive. The vagina is typically quite acidic to help prevent infection. However, sperm require a delicate, alkaline environment, so during the fertile window the cervical fluid helps shift the pH to a more alkaline place!
- The cervical fluid helps the sperm navigate on their journey to the egg. The high water content of the cervical fluid helps the sperm move (should we say swim?) upstream.
- Cervical fluid provides the vital nutrients to sustain sperm. At this point, this is sounding like a bed and breakfast! Without cervical mucus, your trying to conceive efforts will be limited to about 24 hours, or the duration the egg survives if not fertilized. However, thanks to the nourishing qualities of cervical fluid, sperm can be sustained for up to 5 days so sperm can be in waiting before the egg is released.
- The cervical fluid helps filter out atypical sperm, to favor the typical sperm in reaching and fertilizing the egg.
While many women want to track ovulation day, it is important to recognize the full fertile window, as limiting your trying to conceive efforts to ovulation day significantly decreases the chance of conception. Five days of fertility each cycle does sound more appealing than 1 day, after all.
Tracking the Stages of Cervical Mucus
Now that we have established the importance of cervical mucus, you’re probably chomping at the bit to learn how to track it. Tracking your cervical fluid properly often takes about 6 months or longer to learn to do. However, you can start right away by identifying the stages of cervical fluid you’ll likely see during your cycle.
- After the menstrual period ends, typically the cervical mucus is dry and sticky. Some women report that they do not notice any cervical mucus at this time.
- However, this slowly transitions to a more lotiony to creamy type of mucus, increasing both in water content and abundance of mucus. This typically signifies the transition from the infertile period to the fertile window of the cycle.
- As the fertile window progresses, the cervical mucus becomes more wet and slippery in sensation. It may even have the appearance and consistency of raw egg-whites (Have you heard women discuss ECWM? This refers to egg-white cervical mucus). While ovulation and cervical mucus typically go hand in hand, the presence of cervical mucus does not guarantee that ovulation will occur.
- After ovulation, the cervical fluid tends to thicken to help create a barrier to prevent sperm (and any foreign substances) from entering the closed cervix.