So what exactly is this cervical mucus thing that everyone is howling about? It seems like every other post in a TTC forum about the color, feel, or amount of someone’s CM. As a woman who’s never had a whole lot of CM to speak of, I always kinda felt like ladies put WAY too emphasis on CM. I knew what it was, but I also didn’t make much of it; at least I rarely ever saw any on my panties or toilet paper when I made use of the “torlit” as my husband born in raised in Southern Illinois calls it. (No joke, he seriously calls it a “torlit” and will defend his pronunciation to the death!) For real though, in my younger years I was ignorant to the importance of CM, and I don’t mean whether or not you make CM in copious quantities. CM can tell you many things about your body, especially if you’re actively TTC. The most important thing being that you are entering your “fertile window.” Since a woman is most fertile during the 3-4 days before ovulation, observing (and charting) is a great way to know when you’re starting to enter your fertile window. Once you’ve determined that you are indeed Fertile Myrtle, I’d strongly recommend taking your DH/SO into the bedroom, closet, dressing room (if you’re into that sort of thing), and making every effort to take advantage of all the little bits that stick out! (Just kidding – don’t really take advantage of him, but still.) You may (like I did) have a few questions regarding the whole “mucus” deely-oh, so I’ve tried to address a few of the most common ones below.
- “What IS cervical mucus?”
Cervical Mucus (CM) is essentially the fluid that is produced by your cervix. (The cervix is a cylinder-shaped “neck” of tissue that connects the vaginal canal to the bottom of the uterus – basically, it’s the cork for your baby hotel in a nutshell.)
Production of CM is stimulated by the rise and fall of the hormone Estrogen; the amount and quality of said CM will fluctuate as the levels of Estrogen fluctuate throughout your cycle. (Essentially, the “what kind”, “how much” and “what color” of the goo that loves to invite itself to hang out in your favorite panties all day depends totally on what your hormones are doing at that point in your cycle. Good times, right?)
- ?What precisely does CM do, anyway? Does it just make itself comfy and read a book all day, or does it actually have a purpose besides making me feel like I’ve peed myself at random awkward moments?”
CM does indeed have a very important job to do. It provides norishment and protection for the sperm as it travels up through the female reproductive tract to meet with and (hopefully) fertilize the egg brought forth by O. (So yeah, it’s on the clock up there. Don’t try to wash it away, or scrape it out with a butter knife, and for God’s sake DON’T douche! Excess CM is a very good thing, so leave it alone. Hell, have some fun with it; grab a heaping blob of it when you’ve got some good EWCM, smear it a little in your hand, walk up to DH and pretend to sneeze – then show him that slimy crap and ask him if he thinks you’re catching a cold! Bwahahaha! I am too sick and twisted for my own good!)
- “How can I observe my CM? Do I have to violate my girlie parts?”
No. There are two methods, one more suited for the squeamish TTC-er (although less accurate), and one that will provide yourself a much more accurate observation of what your CM is really doing, but it is not for the feint of heart.
~The first and least invasive way to observe CM is to check out the “torlit” paper after you’ve wiped your hiney (do yourself a flavor and avoid checking the paper to closely after you’ve “dropped the kids off at the pool”) to see what CM may be present. For the lady with average CM production this method might work just fine; I would not recommend that ladies such as myself who produce very little CM during a normal cycle use this one, however. The “TP” method, while much less violating, leaves a little too much open to interpretation for my taste. If you are dehydrated, taking vitamins that make your pee turn funny colors, or have some sort of infection, the coloring of the toilet paper may obscure and/or mask the true color of any CM you can see. The consistency of any CM present may also be hard to discern.
~The most reliable (albeit the more “up close & personal”) method to observe your CM is by actually checking your cervix. ‘How might one check their cervix, you ask?’ I’m glad you asked! Wash and dry your hands, and then insert your index or middle finger into your vaginal canal, getting as close to your cervix as possible; I have no trouble reaching my cervix at all, and I have stubby little fingers. Remove your finger and observe any CM present by rolling the CM between your thumb and whichever finger you used to sweep your cervix, then by pressing the same two fingers together and pulling them apart slowly. This will give you a good idea of how much stretch there is to your goo, if any.
I have attached a photo of the female reproductive system, just in case you skipped that day in high school Biology class!
Your CM will likely change or go through different “phases” as your cycle progresses. I pulled this information from American Pregnancy Association’s website.
- After your menstrual period: The production of cervical mucus is at its lowest immediately following your period, and some women report “dryness” during this time. But, over the next several days, more mucus will become present, and it will likely be yellow, cloudy, or white in color, and somewhat sticky the touch.
- As Your Ovulation Date Approaches: As you enter your fertile window, your cervical mucus will increase in quantity and moistness. Its color may be cream-like in appearance.
- At the Time of Ovulation: In the days immediately preceding ovulation, the production of cervical mucus will be at its highest and the consistency and color of the mucus will be similar to egg whites. Once you detect the presence of this fertile-quality cervical mucus, you will know you are in your most fertile days.
- After Ovulation: After ovulation, the quantity of cervical mucus begins to decline and become thicker in consistency.
And for your viewing pleasure, I have even added some visual aides (because I know you’re just DYING to see some pictures of other women’s “Hoo-Ha Slime,” right?! I have even added one of my own, just for kicks. Can you guess which picture is mine??)
If you’ve never kept up with your CM, it might be worth a shot to say the least. For some women, checking their cervix is just too much. They just can’t bring themselves to do it, and that’s OK too. I just recently began charting my CM; for me it wasn’t a matter of feeling gross as much as I felt ignorant of what I was actually feeling for. I not only began observing my CM, but also the positioning as well. A lot of women that I’ve come across in the TTC Universe began for the same reasons I did; they had begun to feel desperation since nothing else had worked. Some women will get a +OPK, BD like crazy for a few days, and then slack off in the bedroom and wait for that BFP at the end of their cycle – not knowing that they ovulated a week or so after their +OPK. Now had they been checking their CM/CP every day, they would’ve known that they hadn’t O’d yet, and would’ve recognized the signs that they were entering their fertile window late. Then they could’ve snuck off behind a tree with their DH, done the dirty deed and (because they knew exactly when O was, even if it was late), gone on to get those beautiful 2 pink lines! Might be worth thinking about if you haven’t ever checked …