Noticed some funny discharge in your underwear?
You may find it gross or embarrassing but the fact of the matter is, this discharge carries a wealth of information.
This discharge could be your cervical mucus after ovulation if pregnant or simply your cervical mucus during your menstrual cycle. It can tell you a lot about your health and is actually an important part of fertility.
Cervical mucus can help you understand what exactly is going on with your fertility cycle. What’s more, you can even use it to predict pregnancy.
But before we get into the finer technicalities, let’s have a look at the basics of what cervical mucus is.
What is cervical mucus?
Your cervix produces and releases the fluid known as cervical mucus. Think of it as having the consistency of a lubricant.
The key functions of cervical mucus include the prevention of foreign substances’ entry into the cervix and helping the sperm’s movement during fertilization.
Responding to changes in estrogen, the cervix controls the quantity of mucus produced. These changes also affect the consistency and color of the mucus. This is why the fluid looks and feels different at different points in your menstrual cycle.
Your vaginal discharge can fluctuate because of several things. Lubricants, vaginal sex, medications, and surgery can all change the quantity and look of your discharge. Monthly changes in discharge are mostly caused by hormonal changes.
Tracking the changes in your cervical mucus is fairly easy. You can do it at home, with no special equipment needed! All it requires is two fingers.
Wash your hands thoroughly. Then, insert two fingers into your vagina. No need to stick them too far up, just enough to collect some mucus.
When you hold this mucus between your fingers, pay attention to its consistency and color. Is it..
Even if you don’t want to touch your cervical mucus, it’s still possible to notice its fluctuations. You can also track your mucus by wiping your vulva before you pee, or looking at your underwear after a day.
After you assess your cervical mucus, make a quick note on it’s consistency and color in a calendar or notebook. That way you can refer back and notice trends over time.
Understanding what your cervical mucus looks like at different times in your cycle can help you predict your fertile window. Tracking changes through the cervical mucus method can also increase your chances of conceiving, so it’s a great tool if you’re trying for a baby!
How does cervical mucus change throughout your fertility cycle?
Your cervical mucus changes in response to estrogen fluctuations throughout the month.
The week after your period, you may not notice any mucus discharge. This is because estrogen is fairly low during this time. Any cervical mucus that you do have may be dry and sticky, and the color will be white and cloudy.
In the 10-12 days before ovulation, estrogen levels are rising and cervical mucus gets more liquidy. The color changes from cloudy to clear. This is a sign that your fertile window and ovulation are around the corner.
Right before and during ovulation, estrogen levels are extremely high. This causes the cervical mucus to be very liquidy and clear, resembling the consistency of egg whites. It’s why this discharge is sometimes called Egg-White Cervical Mucus, or EWCM. You will notice the quantity of discharge too may be higher than at other times of the month. This is a sign that you’re either about to ovulate, or you have already ovulated.
If you want to get pregnant, time to get to the bedroom!
What will my cervical mucus look like after ovulation if I’m not pregnant?
After ovulation, if an egg hasn’t been fertilized, estrogen levels fall. Your cervix slows down mucus production. Instead of preparing for pregnancy, your body is preparing to shed the uterine lining and any eggs you ovulated.
Cervical mucus typically goes from liquid and clear to scanty, sticky, or dry during this time. You’ll notice less discharge in your underwear in the week or so leading up to your period.
What will my cervical mucus look like after ovulation if I’m pregnant?
If an ovum was fertilized after ovulation, you’re pregnant!
Tracking your mucus can give you an early clue of pregnancy long before a missed period. That’s because, instead of decreasing, your cervical mucus may stay the same or increase if you’re pregnant. Instead of getting dry and scanty, it may remain slippery and clear.
You may notice this as a discharge on your underwear. While you may normally notice a decrease in discharge after ovulation, you could notice the same amount or more if you’re pregnant.
This is because estrogen continues to rise after implantation. This rise prevents another egg from releasing because one has already been fertilized.
Tracking cervical mucus is not a definitive test for pregnancy. You should still wait for a pregnancy test to know for sure. But if you’re in your post-ovulation phase and notice more cervical mucus than usual, it could indicate that you’re pregnant.
These signs are subtle and not everyone may notice them. In fact, most women don’t.
If you’re hoping to be pregnant this cycle and don’t notice changes in your cervical mucus, you could still be pregnant.
What color is cervical mucus in early pregnancy?
In early pregnancy, the color of your cervical mucus can also drop hints. .
During this time, cervical mucus may take on a pink tinge. You may notice light spotting or brownish discharge. This bleeding could come from implantation when a fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall. This subtle sign could be an early indicator of pregnancy, but know that it doesn’t always happen. Again, don’t rely on this as a definitive test for pregnancy.
If you notice bleeding between your periods on several cycles, ask your OBGYN about it. Women are used to seeing blood come out of their vaginas, so it’s easy to shrug this off. But vaginal bleeding outside of your period should be taken seriously.
Other Early Pregnancy Signs
The earliest days of pregnancy usually go by without us knowing it. But paying attention to these subtle signs can clue you into what’s going on with your body.
These symptoms result from early hormone changes as your body prepares to bring new life into the world.
- Implantation cramps or spotting – These come from the fertilized ovum attaching itself to the lining of your uterus. Cramping comes from blood vessels breaking and weaving together. This may cause tiny spotting.
- Temperature dip during implantation – Some women track their body temperature throughout their cycle, because it fluctuates due to hormone changes. Around implantation, body temperature may dip for a few days before rising back up. This sign is not always accurate, however.
- Mood swings – These come from hormonal fluctuations. You may find yourself crying at commercials or getting mad about small things your partner does. These mood changes may be hard on you and your partner, but they are a normal part of early pregnancy.
- Headaches or body aches – Increasing blood volume and hormone fluctuations can lead to headaches or dizziness and leave you feeling lightheaded.
- Changes in sense of smell or taste – You may find that you don’t like your favorite ice cream anymore or the veggies that you absolutely hated now taste better than they used to.
- Food cravings – You may not love your old favorite foods any more, or you may find a new obsession with random foods. Some women even find themselves craving ice chips and sweets at odd hours during pregnancy.
- Breast tenderness – This comes from the rise in progesterone levels. Expect sensations of soreness, tenderness, or pain. The shape of your breasts may change slightly as well.
Even with all of these changes, the definitive sign of pregnancy is still a positive pregnancy test. You can take a pregnancy test as early as the first day after your missed period.
- Cervical mucus is an important part of fertility, and it can reveal where you are in your fertility cycle.
- If you’re not pregnant, cervical mucus becomes more dry and scanty because estrogen falls.
- If an egg is fertilized after ovulation, then you may be pregnant. Your cervical mucus after ovulation if pregnant may stay liquid and clear. This is because estrogen stays high in early pregnancy.
- Cervical mucus isn’t the only sign of early pregnancy. Implantation bleeding, mood changes, and body aches are other signs that big changes are happening.