Cervical Mucous and Fertility
Fertile mucus: This is wet, clear, very stretchy (like uncooked egg white), or creamy. It usually lasts for a few hours to a few days. This mucus occurs mid-cycle, which for a woman with a 29-day cycle can vary, but is often observed on days 12 to 16. During the presence of fertile mucus, you may notice a sensation of wetness or notice the mucus when you wipe after going to the bathroom. If you take some of the mucus between your index finger and thumb, you can stretch it into a long thin strand. This mucus was perfectly designed to be slippery and stretchy so sperm can swim along it up through the cervical os to the uterus. If there is an egg present, fertilization can occur.
Absence of mucus: Following menstruation, there is usually a sensation or a felling of dryness around the outside of the vagina when the vaginal opening is tested with the fingertips. The number of days of dryness will vary with the length of the cycle.
Pre-ovulation mucus: After the dry days, as estrogen levels start to increase from the developing ovarian follicles, mucus starts to be detectable. Collect the mucus with your fingertips between the vaginal folds. The mucus may be yellow, white or cloudy in color and tacky, sticky or clumpy in consistency. It takes only a few cycles of practice to recognize cervical mucus from vaginal secretions. On the average there are roughly 5 days between the beginning of mucus and ovulation, but this varies.
Ovulation: This usually occurs within 24 hours of the last day of the fertile mucus. This depends on the rise and fall of the hormones, like the rest of the events of the menstrual cycle.
Post-ovulation mucus: This is similar to pre-ovulation mucus. It is thick, whitish, clumpy in appearance and texture. It is in response to the rise in progesterone and the fall in estrogen. If viewed under a microscope, this mucus resembles a spider web! It is designed to trap the sperm and prevent them from going anywhere.
Menstruation: Menstruation occurs 10-16 days after the fertile mucus and is the result of low levels of both estrogen and progesterone.