When charting your cycle and tracking your fertility, one of the most important signs you can observe is your cervical mucus. This is because the quality and quantity of your mucus will change throughout the cycle, directly affected by your changing hormones. Fertile cervical mucus is what keeps sperm alive long enough to reach an egg, which is only released once per cycle. Because of this, mucus is one of the best and clearest ways to determine when your fertile window begins and ends, which is vital both for family planning purposes as well as learning about your health.
Pretty amazing, right?
But how exactly does one observe this mucus? Is it hard? Is it gross? It's natural to be a bit intimidated at the thought of tracking this sign, but it's actually fairly simple and easy to add it to your daily routine. Here are some tips to get you started.
First, you need plain white, unscented toilet paper. Before and after using the bathroom, every time, fold a few pieces of toilet tissue into a square. It's important for the paper to lie flat; crumpled or bunched paper can make it harder to observe mucus.
Then, wipe from front to back. Notice if the paper glides easily, as if wiping oil, or if it sticks slightly, as if against dry skin.
Next, look at the paper and note what you see. Does the tissue appear dry, or wet? Is there visible mucus?
If so, test the mucus between your fingers. Take special note of the color, transparency and stretchability. These qualities are important because they will give you a good idea of what is going on hormonally, and where you are in your cycle.
Some women prefer to check their mucus internally, by inserting their fingers inside the vaginal opening and testing the mucus they find there. However, this can confuse some beginning charters as they are likely to see some amount of vaginal fluid. This is the normal internal wetness that is always present, and completely separate from the mucus produced inside the cervix itself. If you do choose to observe this way, make sure you take the time to learn the difference between the two.
Forming a habit of checking your mucus regularly and consistently is key to having detailed and useful fertility charts. If you want to learn more about what the different qualities of mucus mean, how to record them, and how you can use this information to avoid or achieve pregnancy, contact Wellspring Fertility Education or come to one of our free informational sessions.