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What It Is

Have you ever noticed that at certain times of the month you have a lot of discharge, and at others practically none?  That’s totally normal—in fact, that’s exactly how it should be.  Cervical mucus, a fluid secreted by—you guessed it—the cervix, is regulated by estrogen.  When you’re approaching ovulation, your estrogen skyrockets, telling your cervix to produce more, and more “fertile,” cervical mucus.  This is called “egg white cervical mucus” (EWCM)—it’s named because of its look and feel.  You might notice this extra gooey mucus when you wipe after peeing, or in your underwear.  The presence of this extra gooey mucus helps you know when you’re at your most fertile time of the month and will have the best chances of conceiving.

Why We Have It

Having a lot of “egg white cervical mucus” (EWCM) during ovulation boosts fertility because it helps sperm travel through the cervix to fertilize the egg in your fallopian tube.  So, EWCM = perfect traveling condition for sperm = better chances of conception.

Using The Cervical Mucus Method to Promote or Prevent Pregnancy

The cervical mucus method, which is also known as the ovulation method or Billings method, is a type of natural family planning.  Basically, with this method, you monitor the amount and appearance of the mucus you’re secreting throughout the month.  

Trying to make a baby?  The best days to try for a baby are those when you have plenty of EWCM.  Tracking your cervical mucus can help you pinpoint exactly when you’re producing baby-making cervical mucus.  

Trying to avoid pregnancy?  Paying attention to your cervical mucus can also help you avoid intercourse on those days when you’re at your most fertile, but proceed with caution when substituting this for other forms of birth control like condoms or the pill!  Formal training is usually required to master the cervical mucus method, and if you don’t do it correctly the failure rate is as high as 23% in the first year.  However, with correct use, the failure rate can be as low as 3%. When you use the cervical mucus method, abstinence (or use of another type of contraception) is typically needed for 10 to 17 days of each cycle.

Want to learn how to check your cervical mucus?  Click here to get a step by step guide.  

What You Can Do To Improve Your EWCM

Trying out the cervical mucus method but finding that you don’t produce a lot of the good gooey EWCM at ovulation time?  

  • Drink water!  Staying hydrated helps keep all your body fluids at optimal levels, and it does the same for cervical mucus.  
  • Avoid stress.
  • Eat healthy.  
  • If drinking water, avoiding stress and eating healthy don’t help, ask your doctor if it could be related to other issues—hormones or prescription medication, for example.  
  • Also, there are supplements and other over the counter remedies that claim to battle low quantities of EWCM.  Ask your doctor for recommendations, and remember to avoid lubricants with spermicide.

Bottom Line

Your cervical mucus can give you clues about your fertility.  Whether you’re hoping to conceive or adding it to your birth control routine, tracking the secretion of cervical mucus through your menstrual cycle can be helpful.  If you’ve been having trouble getting pregnant, perhaps your cervical mucus is a factor.  However, remember that even with “perfect” EWCM, there are plenty of other reasons you might be having trouble conceiving.  Cervical mucus is just a piece of the puzzle.  Your doctor can help you determine the best treatment plan.  Whether you want to promote pregnancy or prevent pregnancy, I hope this blog post helps!  #DrNita

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