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What is the Connection Between Cervical Mucus and Fertility?

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  • Written By: Marisa O'Connor
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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The connection between cervical mucus and fertility, in a nutshell, is that cervical mucus can indicate a woman's level of fertility during ovulation. While planning to get pregnant, many women monitor their cervical mucus very closely to determine the best times to try to conceive. The changes in cervical mucus are caused by hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle. Ovulation is indicated by wet, slippery cervical mucus.

The primary connection between cervical mucus and fertility is that the mucus can help a woman predict ovulation. As women age, it can become increasingly difficult to conceive. Many of these women, after failing to become pregnant, will try to increase their chances of conception by planning sex during periods of ovulation. Monitoring body temperature is one way to chart ovulation, but this method provides confirmation of ovulation only after it has occurred, at which point it is too late to conceive.

Thanks to recent advances in our understanding of cervical mucus and fertility, there is now a better method for women to track ovulation. Tracking ovulation by monitoring cervical mucus holds an advantage over monitoring temperature because it allows the woman to predict ovulation before it happens. This is particularly helpful in women whose biological clock is counting down and can't afford to miss an ovulation period. This way, sex can be planned during the current month's ovulation rather than finding out after it's too late and having to wait another month.

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Changes in cervical mucus throughout the menstrual cycle is a major connection between cervical mucus and fertility. The consistency of cervical mucus varies with each individual, but usually goes through about four stages during the month. The mucus may be sticky, creamy, or what is described as a raw egg white consistency. When the mucus is dry and sticky, it is not a good time to try an conceive, as ovulation is not occurring. Wet or egg white consistency means that ovulation is either occurring or about to occur, and it is a good time to try to make a baby.

Cervical mucus and fertility are related because the mucus determines whether the vagina is hospitable to sperm. When the mucus is dry and sticky, it is very difficult for the sperm to travel and fertilize the egg. The cervical mucus serves as a kind of lubricant. The sperm can travel much more easily and faster through mucus that is wet with a runny consistency, like raw egg whites.

The most accurate and simple way to collect a sample of cervical mucus is to insert the index or middle finger into the vagina. Always wash hands before and after collecting cervical mucus samples to prevent transmission of germs and bacteria. Try and reach the finger as close to the the cervix as possible for the most accurate sample and don't try this just after sex or when sexually aroused to avoid confusing fluids. If the woman is grossed out by the prospect of getting a sample this way, she may be able to look at the mucus collected on toilet paper when wiping the vagina, but this is a less reliable method.

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SarahGen
Post 3

I didn't realize that cervical mucus is so important for fertility. My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for six months now but we have not been paying attention to this at all.

I'm definitely going to keep track of my cervical mucus this month. In fact, I think I will keep a journal or mark a calendar when my cervical mucus becomes fertile so that we can increase our chances. Thanks for this article!

ddljohn
Post 2

I have a friend who avoided sex during ovulation and did not use any method of birth control. Unfortunately, it didn't work and she got pregnant. Cervical mucus can be successfully used to increase the chances of getting pregnant. Avoiding sex during ovulation will reduce chances of pregnancy too but there is no guarantee.

Sperm can live inside the uterus for 3-5 days. Sometimes, it can even live up to a week. So if a woman has sex one week before ovulation, before she starts seeing the thin, slippery cervical mucus, she may very well get pregnant.

Changes in cervical mucus before ovulation may not occur until only a few days before. So if you are trying to get pregnant, take advantage of changes in your cervical mucus. But don't try to use it as a method of birth control or you will be disappointed.

serenesurface
Post 1

If I can use cervical mucus to predict ovulation, can I use it to avoid pregnancy? So if I avoid sex when I have a lot of clear, thin and slippery mucus, can I avoid getting pregnant?

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