Sperm has many needs:
- an alkaline environment in which to live,
- and ease of mobility.
A woman’s healthy cervical fluid supplies it with these three things.
During the follicular phase, the increasing amounts of estrogen in the body affect the consistency of your cervical fluid. Beginning with day one of your cycle (when you have the lowest amount of estrogen), you should have little to no cervical fluid even though you’d be menstruating. Five to seven days later, if you were to touch the inside of your vagina, it may be damp, but you wouldn’t notice anything on the outside of the vaginal opening at all. At this point, an egg is not waiting to be fertilized, so there is no need to keep the sperm alive. Speaking of the sperm, they can only live about 3 to 5 hours in this environment.
As the levels of estrogen continue to rise, your cervical fluid becomes rather sticky and is usually white or slightly yellow. This is completely normal and not a sign of infection. You may even notice this fluid in small amounts on your underwear. While sperm may be able to live a bit longer, this particular fluid is too “sticky” for them to move with ease.
In the days before ovulation, the fluid becomes smoother and you may start to feel “wet.” It’s rather creamy, or lotion like, and a good clue that ovulation will happen shortly and you are becoming fertile. Usually, the day before ovulation occurs your cervical fluid will go from creamy to very wet and stretchy. It’s normally clear and is about the consistency of a raw egg white—even commonly referred to as the “egg white cervical mucus.” During this time you may find an increased amount of fluid outside the vaginal opening and feel chronically wet. This means you now have an environment hospitable for the sperm, where they will thrive and move freely to the awaiting egg.
After ovulation, the amount of estrogen drops as the levels of progesterone rise, signaling your body to stop producing this fertile fluid. It normally becomes dry within just a day. To check your cervical fluid, use a tissue to wipe your vaginal area before you use the restroom. If you close the tissue and re-open it, you’ll be able to notice if it is sticky or stretchy; and of course, if there is nothing there at all, you may be in your non-fertile time of the month.
Things that can inhibit fertile fluid production:
- Vaginal infections
- Medicines containing antihistamines (if it dries up mucous, it dries up cervical fluid)
- Caffeine consumption
- Being too thin – you may not be able to produce enough estrogen to either ovulate or produce enough cervical fluid.
- Clomid – while it’s used to increase the chances of ovulation, it can also dry up cervical fluid, actually making it harder to become pregnant, especially after a few cycles.
- Avoid overindulging in acidic foods. In our western diet, our body’s have become quite acidic and this bodily PH actually affects the sperm. When a woman’s vagina and mucus becomes too acidic, it can actually attack the sperm instead of feeding it. High acidic foods include coffee, pop or soda(depending on what part of the country you live in!), beer, artificial sweeteners, sugar (both white and brown), and white bread and pasta. Other acidic foods actually include eggs, yogurt, and even whole wheat bread. While these last 3 are truly healthy foods, it’s recommended to make sure you are eating a well-rounded diet including many different types of fruits and vegetables to help your body balance its own PH to a neutral state.
To Increase the Quality of the Cervical Fluid
Since healthy cervical fluid helps to feed the sperm until it meets up with the egg for fertilization, we want to make sure we’re doing what we can to increase the quality of the mucous itself.
- Drink plenty of water. When we have a cold we’re told to drink fluids to clear up our sinus’, would it not be the same for other bodily fluids? Staying hydrated is a great way to ensure the correct consistency and make it easier to judge when you are fertile.
- I’ve also heard it suggested to drink a cup of green tea each day. And while I don’t know the science behind it, it can’t hurt either. Plus it helps with overall fluid consumption.
- Taking Evening Primrose oil (available on Amazon) from the start of your cycle until ovulation can also help increase the quantity and quality of cervical fluid.
- Focus on eating foods that nourish your body; good fats, no refined sugar, plenty of produce and variety.
Checking your cervical fluid along with your basal body temperature gives you a great idea when ovulation happens. You’ll soon begin to see the patterns your body follows and increase your understanding of how your body works.
More articles of interest about charting for fertility:
any natural ideas for what to do when you get terrible colds? i would normally take something, but am now doing some more research after reading your post. sorry to ask so many questions… i’m just trying to do everything i can to be as fertile as possible! thanks for your blog, i enjoy reading it!
For me natural cold remedies really don’t alleviate the symptoms near as much as some good old nyquil, so I always have to remember that when dealing with a cold. otherwise I get frustrated that nothing seems to work.
Things that I normally do to help cope:
1. Drink plenty of water, at least 8 glasses a day.
2. Drink hot beverages. Since I stay away from caffeine this limits me to either herbal teas or hot water.
3.Take a shower, or two a day. nothing helps clear you up like a hot steamy shower.
4. Place a steamy washcloth over your sinuses.
5. Gargle w/ salt water a few times a day.
6. Use a vaporizer if you have one to keep the humidity up in your home.
7. Blow don’t sniff. The more sniffing you do, the longer it takes to clear up your chest.
8. I usually sleep propped up to aid in drainage.
9. Sleep, sleep, and more sleep.
10. And of course, good old fashioned chicken noodle soup. If you have the energy to make it or can get someone else to do it for you, it’s the best. Otherwise make sure you stay away from any canned stuff with things like MSG in it.
11. I also use all natural and organic throat drops to sooth a sore throat.
12. I’ve also heard of folks who boil either a couple chopped onions or garlic cloves and then remove from heat source and place a towel over there heads to create a “tent”. It’s supposed to help relieve congestion. Although it seems the onions may just make you cry too! But it’s worth a shot.
13. I also recently heard about “nettle pot” that you can buy at local pharmacies. It basically looks like a childs tea pot that you fill with warm water and you then pour it into your nose. Looks hysterical, but Shannon over at RocksinmyDryer.com says it worked pretty good!
14. And lastly, if you like garlic, you’ll like this one. Seems that garlic has some properties in it that may help your body heal a bit quicker. Although it needs to be raw, so you may just want to stay away from the general public if you go around chomping on raw garlic. 🙂
Now, most of the time I do try and stay away from meds, but when I do have a terrible, terrible cold, sometimes I’ll just take nyquil on the nights I know are going to be really bad to help me sleep (this is when I know for SURE I’m not pregnant)but take it only for one or two nights. (and if you’re not in your fertile time of your cycle yet, this should have minimal effect)During the day if I get a headache that so commonly accompanies a cold, I’ll take regular tylenol. Hope this helps!
we used natural family planning by monitoring mucus. It works amazingly well, both for preventative and achieving pregnancy. we got pregnant the first month that we wanted too with our last. 🙂 I never connected the cold medicine connection though. Thanks for sharing that!!!
I really enjoyed this blog! My husband and I are trying to have a baby (this has just been in the last month) and I really didn’t know what exactly to do. My cycle has been messed up since I got off the pill but the temp chart is a great idea! I never knew how to do all the tracking so this is going to help me tons! Thank you so much! I’ll be keeping up with your blog!
Great blog about NFP, My husband and I have been using it for years and I really love it. Great blog!
Great article. I’ve been an infertility patient for about 25 years (we do have 3 children) and there were things in the article even I dind’t know!
I just realized in the last couple weeks that my allergy medicine might be contributing to the lack of fertile cervical fluid… UGH. So… no more allergy pills for me, even in the first two weeks of my cycle. I’ve also ordered Pre-Seed since its the only sperm “friendly” lubricant out there. Caffeine is a hard one for me… I’ve cut down to 1/3 caffeine and 2/3 decaf in my morning pot… so even if I drink a couple cups I’m getting significantly less than I used to! When I just “have to” have that coffee shop mocha, I order it with 1 shot caffeine and 2 shots decaf… I had some major headaches at first (can you say WAAAAAY addicted?) but that seems to be improving so I am going to cut the caffeine even more in the next couple of weeks.
you can try buried treasure it is a liquid vitamin they have an allergy ease product you can get at any local healthfood store 🙂
Another thing that really increased both quality and quantity of cervical fluid (for me at least–I’m 40, and have been “drying up” these past years…) is to consume coconut oil. I take a spoonful several times throughout the day. Since it’s thermogenic, it also upped my basal temps (esp if taken right before bed) and made me have fewer chills during regular waking hours, so just be aware if you’re charting temps.
I SWEAR by my coconut oil–I use it for everything!!!
@Dani, I have read that O blood types shouldn’t use coconut oil. How reliable is the blood type diet? I personally think coconut is awesome 🙂 But have refrained cause I thought maybe coconut is not so good for me.
Do you have any recommendations for those who have little cervical fluid at any time of the month? I’ve just always been dry and only notice a slight difference during my fertile time of the month (I never get egg white consistency). Is there something I can do about that? If that is normal for me, will it have any effect on sperm (shorter life, harder to swim)?
I do chart temps, cervical position, and OPK, so I know when I’m about to ovulate, but I hate missing a critical sign and not knowing if it hurts our chances. Maybe I should use th coconut oil! (I cook with it and use it for body products, but never just ate it!)
@Amanda, Consuming enough good fats is definitely essential in your body creating enough cervical fluid. Coconut oil, butter, extra virgin olive oil – all are great choices as is fat that contains omega 3’s like cod liver oil. When I stopped eating processed foods, vegetable fats, low fat foods, and sugar – added in fish oils and butter along with full fat dairy and meats I definitely noticed a difference within a few months.
I have the same issue… Just generally dry. I’m thinking it’s due to low estrogen.
What I’m doing is: cutting caffeine, increasing water intake dramatically, using PreSeed lubricant and now I’m going to add coconut oil.
I’ve read that Mucinex (sp?) five days before ovulation (200mg 3x daily) helps thin cervical mucous but since it’s a drug, I’ve decided not to use it.
Raspberry leaf is also suppose to be helpful.
being trying for a while now maybe I should skip clomid and actually drink more water and coconut oil
its said that ovulations last long for five days, and the fifth day is when the egg Fertilized most, but I used to get dry after the 2nd day. could this be my body or what?
Ovulation itself doesn’t last 5 days, it’s just possible to have the fertile fluid for up to 5 days before ovulation. The last day of fertile fluid is usually when you ovulate.
What normally happens is that it gradually goes from stickier cervical fluid to the thin stretchy fluid over the course of about four to five days preceding ovulation, but many women don’t follow that “norm”. Sometimes it’s just how their bodies work, other times it’s due to an imbalance somewhere. The best thing to do is chart both temperature and cervical fluid for a couple of months so that you can get an idea of what’s going on and whether or not the cervical fluid matches up with when you ovulate.
I have been following FAM to help get pregnant. What I found out is I have plenty of great cervical fluid egg white and stretchy BUT due to an internal ultrasound found out that I ovulate 3-4 days after the last day of egg white fluid. During the ovulation I am dry! I can’t find an answer to this anywhere except I am fertile with egg white fluid except that I’m not- any suggestions? I’m 37 have a VERY healthy weight diet and lifestyle. Any suggestions greatly appreciated.
@Rebecca Johnson, That is unusual! Hmmm…Have you have hormone tests done during that time? I just wonder because estrogen is what helps create the EWCM and progesterone helps to stimulate progesterone. So I wonder if for some reason your body is having problems getting the progesterone high enough right as the estrogen drops. It would be interesting to run a hormone panel on a day you see quality cervical fluid and then again right as it disappears but when you haven’t ovulated.
Unfortunately the NHS just doesn’t work like that, it’s been a battle to get any tests done let alone around ovulation time! I had oestrogen levels and FSH etc at day 7 and apparently they were fine. I am going back next week to see if I can get my progesterone done around day 21 maybe a bit later for me. But it is bizarre!
I am 37 with 2 children already trying for a 3rd i havent noticed any egg white signs but this month I noticed a lot of white milk like discharge during my time the charts state i am fertile. Do you think I am still ovulating?
Temperatures are really the best way to see if you’re actually ovulating as cervical fluid can change due to estrogen surges even when ovulation doesn’t occur. So if you look at your charts and can see a temperature shift, most likely you’re ovulating.
Thank you so much.. I am going to start charting next month if no luck this month 🙂