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What is the Connection Between Cervical Mucus and Conception?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 01 September 2016
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Cervical mucus and conception do have a strong relationship, and in the absence of fertility issues, analysis of mucus is thought to be a good method for determining the greatest likelihood of fertility. Many women use this method for natural family planning, and avoid intercourse around the times when cervical mucus indicates that ovulation is occurring. Those trying to get pregnant may also evaluate mucus appearance and feel in order to decide when intercourse is most likely to result in pregnancy.

During the menstrual cycle, the amount and type of mucus produced by the cervix changes. Right after a period, when conception is least likely, women may have little to no mucus production. If present, the mucus might be white or yellow, and it’s often described as dry, or like glue or paste. This can change under certain circumstances, such as during sexual arousal. Most women tend to note — if they are studying cervical mucus and conception — that a morning sweep of the vagina with toilet paper yields little to no mucus right after period cessation.

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Cycles vary in length, but between about seven to fourteen days after a period has begun, mucus begins to proliferate more. It tends to get pale or translucent in color. When held between the fingers, or in between two sheets of toilet paper, it should stretch. The degree of stretch, proliferation, and translucency typically define the fertile period, and this type of mucus is called fertile. If women are looking to avoid or achieve pregnancy by understanding cervical mucus and conception, they should understand that this stretchy, translucent mucus suggests ovulation will, has or is presently occurring.

Some experts suggest that during the early years of fertility, cervical mucus may remain in this “fertile” state for about five days. As women reach their 30s and 40s, fertile mucus is produced a fewer number of days. Generally, the stretchy mucus changes after conception possibilities are gone for the month. It reverts to feeling less slippery and stretchy, and may again resume a whiteish color or be in very little evidence as the next period approaches.

While the previous explanations about cervical mucus and conception help many women avoid or achieve pregnancy, there are circumstances where women who have normal ovulation do not have normal cervical mucus types. This is called inhospitable mucus and it can create barriers to the sperm reaching a waiting egg. If analysis of cervical mucus suggests that there are very few days of fertile mucus, there are alternatives, like using artificial insemination.

Analysis of mucus isn’t 100% reliable. As a sole birth control method, it isn’t always effective in preventing conception, but it makes an excellent secondary method of birth control. Common sense dictates that women consider other birth control options to decrease their chances of an accidental pregnancy.

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ZipLine
Post 3

I think that checking a basal body temperature every day is a better measure of fertility, whether one wants to get pregnant or avoid getting pregnant. A friend of mine used the "avoid sex during fertility" method for prevention and it didn't work. She has a three year old now! So I don't think women who are trying to prevent pregnancy should rely on this method. It's good to know about it, but protection is still necessary.

Checking cervical mucus is more beneficial for women who want to increase their chances of getting pregnant.

SteamLouis
Post 2

@discographer-- You may want to speak with your doctor about this. As far as I know, the best time to get pregnant is the period right before ovulation. The cervical mucus at this time provides a good environment for sperm to survive. If sperm is already present and ready while ovulation occurs, the chances of pregnancy is highest.

I don't think that cervical mucus exactly the same for all women. For some women, the period right before ovulation produces clear and sticky mucus. For others, the mucus is an off-white color (sort of like egg whites). Very white and sticky mucus means that ovulation is far away and pregnancy is not very likely. This type of mucus develops

after the period. Over several weeks, it slowly changes to the off-white or clear and stretchy state which signals that ovulation is very close.

If you keep track of what your mucus is like throughout the month, you'll get an idea of what the stages are like for you.

discographer
Post 1

So white cervical mucus means that the woman is in an infertile period? For some reason, I thought that it was the opposite. I thought white, thick mucus was a sign of ovulation.

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