Lesson 5 - Changes in Cervical Fluid During Your Cycle

Objectives:

  • Learn how cervical fluid affects fertility at each stage in your cycle.
  • Identify the different types of cervical fluid that correspond with the four cycle phases: menstrual phase, follicular phase, ovulation, and luteal phase.
  • Discover how monitoring your cervical fluid patterns can increase your odds of conception.

Major Points:

  • Changes in cervical fluid throughout a woman’s cycle are a sign of fertility.
  • The secretion of cervical fluid from the cervix indicates that estrogen is present in the bloodstream.
  • Monitoring your cervical fluid changes can help you pinpoint when you’re most fertile prior to ovulation.
  • Cervical fluid that is stretchy and resembles raw egg whites is typically secreted when estrogen is at its peak and you’re most fertile.
  • If you’re trying to conceive, have intercourse when your cervical fluid signals peak fertility.
    Similar to semen, cervical fluid helps to support, nourish, and transport sperm.
  • After your menstrual cycle, cervical fluid is minimal. As your cycle progresses, it gradually becomes sticky, pasty, then creamy. As you become more fertile, the cervical fluid becomes more watery and egg white-like. After ovulation, cervical fluid becomes minimal once again.
  • The last day that you notice fertile-quality cervical fluid is usually your ovulation day, also referred to as your “peak” day.

Cervical fluid, also known as cervical mucus, is a type of fluid secreted by glands found in and around the cervix. Throughout a woman’s cycle, cervical fluids change from scant to stretchy and watery. These fluid changes are prompted by ovarian hormones. Cervical fluid can be observed at the entrance to the cervix, as it passes through the vagina, and as it exits the body.

How Cervical Fluids Change Throughout Your Cycle

Monitoring your cervical fluids throughout your cycle can help you determine the amount of estrogen in your bloodstream which in turn helps you calculate your fertility status. Cervical fluid changes act as a fertility sign that can help you identify what phase in your cycle you’re experiencing.

At the beginning of your cycle, you are not fertile. At this time, your cervical fluid cannot be penetrated by sperm and is typically dry, scant, or sticky. When you’re not fertile, the vagina maintains an acidic environment that is unwelcoming to sperm. Cervical fluids also create a barrier at the cervical canal to prevent bacteria from entering the uterus.

As you reach ovulation due to an increase in estrogen production, it’s normal to produce large quantities of cervical fluid. Near ovulation, cervical fluid is typically thin, watery, alkaline, and stretchy. These characteristics make the fluid highly receptive to sperm penetration. At your most fertile point, cervical fluid typically resembles raw egg whites.

This “egg white” cervical fluid plays an important role in conception. It provides the sperm with nourishment and transportation throughout the reproductive tract where it waits for the release of an egg. Once ovulation ends, this “egg white” cervical fluid dries up quickly.

On average, ovulation is most likely to occur on the day in which your cervical fluid is highest in volume and an egg white-like consistency. This is referred to as your peak cervical fluid day and indicates that your estrogen levels are high and that ovulation is near or is occurring.

Here’s a simplified look at how cervical fluid corresponds to fertility status:

  • If your cervical fluid is dry, you’re probably not fertile
  • If your cervical fluid is sticky, you’re probably not fertile
  • If your cervical fluid is creamy, you may be fertile
  • If your cervical fluid is watery, you’re fertile
  • If you’re cervical fluid has an egg white texture, you’re most fertile

If you are trying to conceive, tracking changes in your cervical fluids along with your basal body temperature (BBT) can help you target the best times for intercourse. While cervical fluid can’t tell you for certain if you’ve ovulated, it can help you determine if you’re likely to be fertile.

How Cervical Fluids Support Sperm in Reproduction

Cervical fluids play an important role in the reproduction process. It is rare that intercourse occurs simultaneously with ovulation. Cervical fluids help to keep sperm nourished and stored safely in the reproductive tract until ovulation occurs. An increase in cervical fluid can also boost libido which increases your odds of conception.

While different cervical fluid types correspond to different levels of fertility, there is no exact timeframe in which conception is possible. It’s possible to be fertile for several days following the presence of fertile cervical fluid. Tracking other fertility symptoms is your best bet to determining your proximity to ovulation.