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How it works
Cervical Mucus is needed by the body to help facilitate sperm transport to the egg.
In order for conception to occur, sperm must swim through the cervix and uterus and ultimately to the fallopian tube where fertilization occurs.
Without fertile Cervical Mucus, it becomes very hard for sperm to reach the egg. Your cervical mucus constantly changes throughout your cycle, increasing in quantity and becoming clear and stretchy as you approach ovulation.
As ovulation approaches, your cervix produces fertile cervical mucus. Noticing and recording these changes will help you better time intercourse and recognize your own fertility pattern.
In most women, the Cervical Mucus starts out dry after menstruation and then gets sticky, then creamy, then wet and watery, becoming like egg whites as you get closer to ovulation.
You may even get different types of cervical mucus throughout the day. Fertile cervical mucus is a sign that your body is most fertile; having intercourse when you are most fertile will increase your chances of pregnancy.
Certain factors may influence the quality and quantity of cervical mucus that you produce and therefore affect your chances of pregnancy. Some factors may be a result of hormonal factors, while others may be related to lifestyle or medications. If any of these applies to your case, make sure to record it in your notes so that you can recognize why a particular entry may seem unusual or different. The following factors may impact cervical mucus patterns and should be noted when possible:
- All forms of Medication
- Vaginal infection or STD (ask your doctor if you think this is a possibility)
- All forms of ill health and sickness including obesity or anorexia.
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Vaginal douching (not recommended unless advised by your doctor)
- Poor diet
- Commercial lubricants
- Decreased ovarian function
- Recent cessation of birth control.
Cervical Mucus is 90% water.
Depending on the water content which varies during the menstrual cycle the mucus functions as a barrier or a transport medium to spermatoza.
Cervical Mucus contains trace elements different and various enzymes have been identified.
A major natural ingredient of human cervical fluid is glycerol. Studies have shown that the amount of glycerol in cervical fluid increases during sexual excitement.
This increase in glycerol has been postulated to be responsible for the lubricating quality of this fertile cervical fluid and may be biologically relevant during the early phase of reproductive events.
After a menstrual period ends, the external os is blocked by mucus that is thick and acidic. This "infertile" mucus blocks spermatozoa from entering the uterus.
For several days around the time of ovulation, "fertile" types of mucus are produced; they have higher water content, and are less acidic and higher in electrolytes.
These electrolytes cause the 'ferning' pattern that can be observed in drying mucus under low magnification; as the mucus dries, the salts crystallize, resembling the leaves of a fern.
Most methods of hormonal contraception work primarily by preventing ovulation, but their effectiveness is increased because they prevent the fertile types of cervical mucus from being produced.
Conversely, methods of thinning the mucus may help to achieve pregnancy.