Hello and welcome to another fertility chats series haha. Today we are chatting all about cervical mucus and cervical position. As a recap for last weeks post, we talked about how tracking your cycle is so important and how you can do it too. I started by talking about monitoring your body basal temperature and how that can tell you if you have ovulated or not but it cannot predict ovulation. So how could you identify that your body is about to ovulate? Well, that is where checking your cervical mucus and cervical position come in. I am going to be straight forward and keep it as simple as possible. If this isn’t something that interests you or that might bother you reading about, maybe you should skip this post.
Grab a cuppa, make sure you’ve downloaded either Kindara or Fertility Friend as recommended on my previous #fertilitychats as that is where you’ll input all this precious information.
Our body is actually an incredible machine and if we learn how to read its’ signs and understand the changes, we really can be so in sync with it! Before I ever wanted to get pregnant, I never really bothered to learning about any of this. What is even more surprising is that throughout my high school years or even nursing degree, nothing about this was ever mentioned! It is quite sad that many women or teenage girls have no interest in understanding their body but I guess it is because they have no idea how much information it can give them and how easy it can be. Anyway, let’s talk all about cervical mucus and cervical position.
Cervical mucus is a cervical fluid or vaginal discharge that we get at certain times of the month. Our vaginas are a mucous membrane so, to some extent, it will always have some sort of discharge. When we talk about cervical mucus, we are talking about a vaginal discharge beyond your baseline so, it is important for you to know what is your baseline when it comes to vaginal discharge because that is what you’ll compare it to – this is called your basic infertile pattern. If you’ve never paid too much attention to it, you probably haven’t noticed that it’s colour, consistency and amount varies according to the phase of your cycle, but it does. This is because the hormones that control your menstrual cycle are also the hormones that make your cervix produce mucus. This method can be used to either help you get pregnant or to prevent a pregnancy, depending on your goal.
I am sure you’re wondering how do you collect cervical mucus (CM) to actually get a good look at it? Well, there are several ways of doing it:
- simply look at your underwear and check the characteristics of the mucus;
- wipe front to back with toilet paper and inspect it for any presence of CM; or
- reach one finger inside your vagina to get a sample. It is important that you wash your hands very well before doing this as well as paying attention not to scratch yourself. Some women won’t really notice the CM on their underwear so this is probably the best way of doing it. It might need some getting use to but nothing too difficult.
No matter what method you use to check your CM, you always want to inspect its colour, amount and consistency. To check the consistency, simply rub two fingers together. To make it all easier to understand, here’s a picture of different types of CM according to the stages of your menstrual cycle.
Remember – it can take 3 to 4 months of daily checks to see ovulation patterns. Now that we’ve talked about how to check your CM, here’s some extra tips:
- Never check your CM during or after sex as other body secretions will confuse you.
- If using the toilet paper method, do it before having a wee, not after.
- If you have multiple patches of CM, it is better to check for extra ovulation signs to understand whats going on – this could be your body basal temp or cervical position that I’ll talk about shortly.
- Make sure you drink enough water as it increases the production of CM – this is particularly important if you are trying to get pregnant as having good quality CM is key to help sperm progress and reach the egg.
- Some recommend to check it up to three times a day as your CM can change throughout the day and you should document the most fertile type of CM you’ve had.
When pairing the information of your CM with your body basal temperature after a full cycle of tracking, you can easily point out when ovulation happened. When you have a patch of wet and very stretchy cervical mucus, ovulation is just around the corner and so you should either avoid having sex/use protection if you’re wanting to prevent a pregnancy or get down to business if you are trying for a baby.
Now, cervical position. This is an optional fertility sign that you can use to predict ovulation. It is probably the hardest of the three.. I struggled at first only because I had no idea what I was looking for and how is it suppose to feel. I personally liked to do all three to be sure because with having PCOS, my cervical mucus was all over the place. When you have any type of hormonal imbalance, it might happened that your CM varies many times throughout the cycle and you can have several patches of what look like fertile CM that isn’t followed by ovulation. For that reason, it is very important to not use the CM method on it’s own if you have any sort of hormonal imbalance.
Right, cervical position.. just like the CM, the position of your cervix will change throughout the cycle. Your cervix is a channel-like organ at the base of your uterus. It is basically the entrance to the uterus that leads to the egg that is going to be fertilised. Its’ position, firmness and openness changes as you get closer to ovulation. These 3 characteristics together are referred to as cervical position. To check your cervical position, you have to insert your pointer or middle finger into your vagina to reach your cervix. Compared to your vaginal walls, the cervix feels like nub. Tips on checking your cervical position:
- Make sure your hands are clean!
- It is easier if you do it either in the shower in a squat position or sat on the toilet.
- Check your cervical position around the same time everyday for consistency – avoid in the morning as it is said that it can be higher than normal and definitely not after a bowel movement to prevent infections.
- When checking your cervix, check if it is high, medium or low? Is it firm, soft or in between? Is it open or closed? This will all help you identify if you are close to ovulation.
Here are the changes you’ll notice:
- When not fertile , your cervix will be low, firm (like the tip of your nose) and closed.
- As you approach ovulation, your cervix will start going up and feel a lot softer (like your chin).
- On ovulation day , your cervix will be high, open and soft (as soft as your lips).
- Straight after ovulation your cervix will become, once again, firm, low and closed.
Below you can find a graph that combines the temperature, cervical position and cervical mucus and how you can then identify your fertile window and, sometimes, pin point ovulation!
And here’s my chart from the cycle I got pregnant. Note all the changes in CM throughout the cycle and even what seemed like a false temperature rise as if my body tried to ovulate and didn’t quite get there from cycle day (CD) 15 to CD 18. Even the cervix was high and open at some point. But then it didn’t happen. The temperature continued to drop to then rise again, finally showing a temperature shift and ovulation did occur as my temperature remained high, over the coverline and continued high after 16 days, when I finally then did the pregnancy test!
The more you read about it and the more you practice or even look at other people’s charts, the more you will learn. So take some time to look at my chart and understand everything that happens throughout one cycle. Mine is not one of the easiest ones as I have PCOS so even my temperature can be very inconsistent. But if you get to understand mine, you’ll probably understand yours.
As a recap:
You BBT, CM and cervical position change throughout your cycle. By identifying these changes and what it is meant to happen as you get closer to ovulation, you will be able to identify your fertile window and, therefore, increase your chances of getting pregnant that cycle if that is what you want.
I know it might be a lot of information at once and it might even seem like it’s too much of an effort but make this an habit, fit it into your daily routine just like you do with brushing your teeth. If you really want to understand your cycle and identify if you are ovulating and when, this is honestly the best way to do so. Ovulation strips are a waste of money – have I said this before?
So, practice, take your time and don’t be scared. It is your body, your temple and you should be in sync with it as much as possible. It is incredibly empowering to have so much knowledge about our body and to actually know what the hell is going on.
Next we will talk about how to identify the temperature shift and peak day in your chart so, stay tuned. Make sure you follow on Bloglovin, Facebook or subscribe to my weekly newsletter to always keep up with the posts on here.
*Disclaimer: I am not a professional in this matter, I am sharing the knowledge I have slowly built from everything I have read, researched and from personal experience.
Kindara Blog – a lot of information not only on the Fertility Awareness Method itself but all other stuff related to fertility, pregnancy, etc. Worth a read.
Fertility Awareness Project – this is Natalie, she’s a fertility awareness educator and she is brilliant! She currently has a free four week course on your cycle that I would totally recommend taking part. Also, follow her on her Instagram, you won’t regret it!