Egg white cervical mucus refers to the texture of mucus secreted by the cervix directly before and during ovulation. Whereas mucus during the rest of the menstrual cycle is typically gummy, thick, or non existent, mucus during ovulation is stretchy, slippery and generally occurs a higher volume. This allows sperm to swim more easily through the vagina and offers protection for them against the acidic nature of the vagina.
A woman’s body is specially made to conceive and care for a growing baby. Just before ovulation the follicles, which hold each ripening egg within the ovaries, begin to secrete a hormone which signals the cervix to begin making egg white cervical mucus. It is secreted from small cavities in the cervix in large amounts to help aid sperm through the vagina and into the womb. Without this thick protective coating, the sperm cells would die due to the high acid content of the vagina.
Many women are able to use the presence or lack of egg white cervical mucus to predict when ovulation will occur. Mucus usually begins several days before ovulation and then ends within a day or so once it occurs. Women who wish to become pregnant will know to engage in intercourse during this time. Those who do not want to have a baby will know to abstain from sex. This method alone is not considered a reliable birth control method by most health care professionals, although some research suggests that it is effective when used correctly.
An absence of egg white cervical mucus for more than one month may signal a lack of ovulation. This can occur for several reasons, although it generally involves a hormonal imbalance. Women will need to learn their own mucus patterns before deciding if fertile mucus is present. To do this, it is necessary to observe discharge for several months. It will normally be sticky or gummy during the weeks following the menstrual period and again following ovulation, with a period in between where it appears voluminous and slippery.
Taking one’s basal body temperature throughout the month in correlation with checking cervical mucus can help women decipher which discharge is fertile and which is not. Temperature tends to rise just after ovulation and remain higher until after the menstrual period has taken place. A consistently high temperature may signal pregnancy, especially when accompanied by a late or missed period.
Egg white cervical mucus may appear slightly different in every woman. Some may experience very thick, clear and slippery mucus. Others may have discharge that is slightly white or off-white in color. Most note that mucus becomes stretchy, much like raw egg whites, during this time. It should also be odorless and should never be green, yellow, or brown in color.