Cervical Mucus 101: What is it and Why Does it Matter?

At Blood & Milk, we support companies that are working on empowering women by increasing body literacy. One such company is Lady Technologies, a fertility company led by Kristina Cahojova, CEO & Founder and the mind behind kegg—a small, FDA-registered egg-shaped device that reads the electrolytes present in the cervical mucus to predict the full fertile window (up to seven days in advance), taking the guesswork out of charting your cervical fluid. No need to wear it: test for only two minutes per day and get instant fertility data on the mobile app. We chatted with the kegg team to better understand the importance of cervical mucus in tracking fertility and understanding overall health. 

Cervical Mucus 101: tracking your fertility with kegg

You’ve probably noticed vaginal discharge in your underwear before, and if you’ve ever wondered what exactly it is and why it’s there—don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. The discharge you see is actually cervical mucus and it can give you a glimpse into the complex orchestration of your reproductive hormones that fluctuate throughout your cycle, specifically around your fertile window. Many women learn to track their cervical mucus to predict when they will be fertile in their cycle and when they will likely begin to bleed, signifying the start of their next cycle. 

Cervical fluid is a mucus produced by the cervix, and is made up of mucus molecules, protein chains, minerals, and water. Cervical fluid has a unique electrolyte structure that changes throughout the menstrual cycle as a result of hormonal shifts. The consistency, quantity, and color can vary greatly throughout the cycle, and among women. However, in general, cervical mucus follows a trend that reflects what is happening hormonally in the body. There are many different methods for manually tracking cervical mucus, but it can take several months of practice. Don’t panic and keep reading for answers to some of your most burning cervical mucus questions.

Does cervical mucus vary day-to-day? 

Absolutely, yes. In the follicular phase, which occurs between the first day of your cycle and ovulation, cervical mucus slowly increases in abundance. After menstruation concludes, most women have very little cervical mucus, which ranges from sticky to creamy in texture. This mucus is not fertile, as sperm cannot survive in it for an extended period of time. As we near ovulation, the estrogen levels rise and the cervical mucus becomes more abundant. The consistency moves towards that of an egg-white or “wet” consistency, which is usually stretchy and clear. Don’t be alarmed if you have quite a bit of cervical mucus at this time! While some women experience enough to wear a panty-liner, others experience just the sensation of wetness. This fertile cervical mucus becomes more hospitable and nourishing to sperm as the egg follicle nears maturity.  Typically, women experience the most fertile mucus 2-3 days prior to ovulation. 

After the monumental moment (ovulation!), the ovary begins to produce progesterone. The release of progesterone results in thickening of the cervical mucus, which many women describe as tacky. The cervix remains closed, and this thickening of the mucus serves to help prevent any substances from entering the uterus. 

What if my cervical mucus does not follow a pattern?

There are many other fluid patterns that are possible, and every woman experiences a unique pattern of mucus. Atypical fluid patterns can occur, especially if you are experiencing increased stress, taking hormonal birth control or various other medications, have hormonal imbalances (such as PCOS), are breastfeeding, or in perimenopause. Infections, such as bacterial vaginosis and yeast can also impact your cervical mucus. Be sure to see your doctor if you suspect an issue.

Why is fertile cervical mucus important?

Without fertile cervical mucus, conception would be really challenging, as the egg needs to be fertilized within 12 to 24 hours after it is released. With fertile cervical mucus, sperm can survive for up to five days. This means intercourse that takes place in the days preceding ovulation can result in pregnancy, all thanks to the nourishing and sustaining qualities of fertile cervical mucus. 

In addition, cervical mucus can help prevent abnormal sperm, or those with curved or otherwise atypical movement patterns, from effectively swimming to this prized egg. Not only does fertile cervical mucus aid in the survival of sperm, but it also helps to filter out those that will not serve our egg well.

If I can see cervical mucus, does that mean I am in my “fertile window”? 

No. In fact, a woman is only fertile for approximately six days during the cycle, even though she may notice cervical mucus throughout the cycle. The unique composition of fertile cervical mucus is able to sustain sperm, while other cervical mucus cannot. By learning your cervical mucus patterns, you can learn to predict when you are fertile and when you are not, empowering you to make fertility decisions for yourself.

How do I learn to track my cervical mucus?

There are several methods for learning how to track your cervical mucus. On average, it takes 6 months or longer to confidently begin to chart your cervical mucus. Confounding variables, such as hormonal imbalances and limited cervical mucus make it even more challenging. Tracking cervical mucus requires careful daily monitoring.

Sounds challenging. Any other options?

Yes! kegg is a fertility tracking device which senses the electrolytes in the cervical mucus to help predict the fertile window. Instead of analyzing the quantity and consistency of the cervical mucus, kegg is able to predict the fertile window based on the unique trends of your cycle, associated with the hormonal shifts from estrogen dominance before ovulation to progesterone production post ovulation. kegg allows women to know their fertile window in advance without having to observe and track their cervical mucus on their own. In a sense, kegg “reads” the cervical mucus to determine which electrolytes are present, and uses the trends of your cycle to make its educated predictions.

Cervical mucus is much more than a “discharge” that women experience. Instead, it is a unique and ever-changing substance produced by the body that can allow women to understand their cycle. Although learning to track your cervical mucus can be challenging, there are several methods and courses available to help learn how to confidently chart their cervical mucus. Conversely, if learning to track your cycle isn’t your style, kegg is a convenient device that allows women to confidently predict their fertile window using a small, egg-shaped device, which doubles as a kegel exercise ball. 

Get real-time fertility insights in less than two minutes a day with kegg. Use code cora2020 to save $35 off your kegg today. To learn more visit: https://kegg.tech/

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