Fertility Charting Basics Part 2: Cervical Fluid
The next best fertility sign is cervical fluid or cervical mucus. Cervical fluid is produced at the cervix throughout the entire cycle. Examination of this fluid can fairly well tell you what point you are in your cycle.
The best way to examine the cervical fluid is by swiping toilet paper or your fingers across the opening of your vagina. Or you can insert a finger or two and”draw” it from the opening of the cervix itself. If you choose the latter, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly beforehand and make sure to have your nails trimmed. Long nails can nick the cervix and cause it to bleed. You then take the fluid and put it between your finger and thumb and check to see what type of consistency it is.
During the first part of the cycle, the uterine lining is being shed. This can mask the cervical fluid making it tough to determine if the fluid is actually fertile or not. And yes, a woman can be fertile during her menstruation, though it is rare. I personally know a woman who conceived the 8th day of her cycle. And remember count day one as the first day of actual bleeding.
After the menstrual bleeding has stopped, the cervix usually dries up. As it gets closer to ovulation the cervical fluid becomes creamy and white – like lotion for a few days. It can also have a sticky feeling to it at this time. Then the fluid gets wetter and more stretchy and clear. This is known as egg-white cervical fluid and is the most fertile. This happens as a result of estrogen surging through the body, getting ready to release the egg(s). When you see the stretchy, clear fluid – it’s the best time to have intercourse. There is usually an abundance of this type of fluid and once upon a time, doctors and women thought that the presence of this fluid was a sign of infection when indeed it’s the best sign of fertility! On average, a woman will have a couple of days of this egg-white cervical fluid and then ovulate. There may also be some spotting around the time of ovulation. Again, in the past this was a cause of concern, but now if there’s blood in the clear stretchy fluid – that’s an excellent fertility sign! The spotting is a result of a sudden drop of estrogen just before the egg is released.
After ovulation, the cervical fluid will dry up or become creamy. This is due to the progesterone which warms the body. As the body gets ready to start another menstrual cycle the fluid usually becomes wet again, almost mimicking the egg-white like fluid. However, if you are pregnant, the cervical fluid becomes creamy – I’ve even heard some women say it becomes more yellow in color too. Pregnant women produce a lot of cervical fluid. But the presence or absence of fluid does not determine pregnancy.
While charting cervical fluid may seem “gross” at first, it’s really a vital role in determining where you are in your fertility cycle. After a while, you’ll get used to it and realize that it’s a part of nature and not some disease or “discharge” as once was thought.