Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Cervical Mucus

What's the Most Fertile Mucus, What's Too Much, What's Too Little

Cervical mucus is one of many ways to track ovulation and time sex for pregnancy. Cervical fluids change throughout your cycle and your lifetime. You can learn not only where you are in your cycle by paying attention to your vaginal discharge, but you may also detect symptoms of a possible problem.

Learn everything you need to know about cervical mucus, from how to track it to what's normal and what's not.

moving oil side view, metaphor for cervical mucus
Egg white cervical mucus is your body's most natural lubricant, perfect for sex and fertility. Yuji Sakai / Getty Images

EWCM is an acronym for egg white cervical mucus.

While cervical mucus changes throughout a woman's cycle, EWCM is the most fertile and signals the best time to have sex for pregnancy. This stage of mucus is the ideal viscosity and pH for sperm. 

What does EWCM look like? Just like its name, it looks a lot like raw egg white. If you get some on your fingers and try to move your fingers apart from each other, it should stretch a few inches. The mucus should appear cloudy to clear in color. 

You should see this kind of mucus for just a few days, just before you ovulate.


washing hands before checking cervical mucus
You should always wash your hands before checking your cervical mucus. Shuji Kobayashi / Getty Images

Assuming you can get over the ick factor, checking cervical mucus isn't difficult at all.

You can do so by simply placing a clean finger inside your vagina or by wiping tissue paper over your labia. You don't want to do this just before or after sexual intercourse. You could try making it part of your daily routine when you shower.

You'll notice that the mucus changes in color, consistency, and amount throughout the month.


Water splashing on white background, metaphor for changes in cervical mucus through cycle
It's normal for you to have more or less cervical mucus at different points in your menstrual cycle. JGI/Tom Grill / Getty Images

Egg white cervical mucus should only appear near ovulation.

At other points in your cycle, you may notice different consistencies, including...

  • dry
  • sticky
  • creamy
  • watery

Once you understand the different kinds of cervical mucus, you can mark them on your body basal temperature chart.


Box covered in red fabric on salt flats, metaphor for dryness
Vaginal dryness is not only uncomfortable, but it can also be a symptom of a hormonal imbalance. Andy Ryan / Getty Images

Perhaps you've been looking for fertile cervical mucus but never notice any. Or you only notice sticky or creamy cervical mucus and nothing that resembles egg whites.

There are a number of reasons that you may lack fertile cervical mucus. Possible reasons include hormonal imbalances or medication side effects.


Clear liquid stopped in motion, metaphor for having too much cervical mucus
If you have egg white cervical mucus all through the month, this is not normal. Don Farrall / Getty Images

Just as some women lack fertile cervical mucus, other women seem to have too much. If you notice abundant discharge around ovulation but not at other times, this can actually be normal.

However, if instead of having only fertile cervical mucus for a few days, you notice it on several days throughout your cycle, this can be a sign of a hormonal imbalance. 

This is one possible symptom of PCOS.


Shower head, douching is not good for your fertility
Douching isn't good for your fertility. Your vagina cleans itself naturally. julichka / Getty Images

It's highly unlikely that you'll remove too much cervical mucus simply by checking it.

However, douching could lead to less cervical mucus and decrease your chances of getting pregnant.

You should not douche, especially if you're trying to get pregnant!


woman holding a pregnancy test
A pregnancy test will tell you if you're pregnant or not way earlier than changes in your cervical mucus. moodboard / Getty Images

Don't we all wish there was a way to know if we're pregnant before our period is late?

Those tracking cervical mucus in order to time pregnancy tend to be more aware of any changes. You may be wondering if you can detect early pregnancy by your cervical mucus.

So, here's the story: you can't really tell. While your vaginal discharge will eventually change during pregnancy, those changes aren't noticeable until much later.


woman's red underwear hanging from line
When using the Billings Method, you are supposed to pay close attention to the vaginal discharge on your underwear. ballyscanlon / Getty Images

The Billings Method, also known as the Billings Ovulation Method or the Ovulation Method, was developed by Dr. John and Evelyn Billings of Melbourne, Australia, in the 1950s.

It is a form of natural family planning used by some couples to prevent pregnancy. Other couples use it to achieve pregnancy. 


Body basal temperature chart used to detect ovulation
You're only fertile for one week out of every month. Blair_witch / iStock Photos

Fertile cervical mucus is typically a sign that ovulation is coming. On a body basal temperature chart, you know that ovulation has occurred after a three-day rise in temperature occurs.

So what does it mean if you get egg white cervical mucus, but never see the rise in temperature?

There are a few possible answers.


Illustrations of cervical opening in woman who has given birth and who has never given birth
Yes, you can learn how to check your own cervix and detect ovulation this way. Morphart Creation / Shutterstock

While you're checking for fertile cervical mucus, you might as well reach a bit further and check your cervix.

It is much easier to do than it sounds, and you can learn so much about your amazing body by doing so.

Plus, it's one more free way to detect ovulation.


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