The art of TTC (Trying to Conceive), TTA (Trying to Abstain) or even simply Trying To Track Your Cycle – (for other purposes) can be tricky, and have a lot to do with how you Chart your cycles each month. There is so much more to it nowadays than simply counting up 4 weeks from the first day of your Menstrual Period – (which is what I used to do before the Internet came out!) Ha Ha
Aside from The Charting Basics, one of the main things you’ll need to learn about is your CM (Cervical Mucus) and CP (Cervical Position). Whether you’re TTC or TTA from Pregnancy, you’ll need to know about this thing called Cervical Fluid! Much like CP, CM changes color, consistency, and texture throughout each part of our cycle. Those changes essentially can give us many clues and insight into where we are, and when we can expect our Fertile Window!
The first part of our cycle is known as, “The Follicular Phase,” which is the first day of our Menstrual Flo until Ovulation occurs. A Hormone called Estrogen is responsible for the things that change, and take place just up until that point. Estrogen more or less gears our bodies up in preparation for Conception. Your Cervical Fluid plays a very important role in achieving that! Here’s an illustration to depict the different stages your CM goes through, throughout this wonderful (or not so wonderful) thing we call a cycle!
As you can see, there are many different colors, consistencies, and textures. If you’re only tracking your Period, then you may miss out on a potential opportunity to successfully Conceive! (Same thing if you’re actively trying to PREVENT Pregnancy) fertile CM plays a huge role in that!
AFTER MENSTRUATION: Your CM may be a bit dry, or Scant. Immediately following, you may notice a slight moisture, but that in itself is considered to be infertile if there’s not a higher volume of it!
NEARING OVULATION: You may notice that you have a wet spot on your panties, wetter consistency, milky, clearer CM. Estrogen is responsible for making your Fluid thinner and more fertile.
TIME OF OVULATION: Cervical Fluid tends to be thinner, slippery, and can stretch 1-2 CM! It may also have the consistency of raw Egg whites! It can also be tinged with Pink or Blood. This would be considered your most highly fertile CM! Sperm can live up to 5 days in this type of Cervical Fluid. This type is very alkaline.
Post Ovulation: It can be a bit dry, if nothing at all. Sometimes your cervix may appear to be somewhat moisture BUT any Cervical Fluid once Ovulation has occurred should be considered Infertile.
WHEN EXPECTING MENSES: Your Cervical Fluid can go from dry/moist to a thicker, Creamier, Lotion-Like consistency that is extremely acidic unlike EWCM and will make it difficult for sperm to swim through.
POSSIBLE PREGNANCY: Your CM will generally get thicker, white, or even yellow. It gets extremely thick to form what is known as a Mucus plug.
The absolute, most fertile CM prior to Ovulation is EWCM! You may notice this specifically the few days before, and/or the day of. You may also know it to appear Blood tinged, or brown. Mid-cycle spotting is not uncommon. If you’re not familiar with this, crack open an Egg and look at it, feel it, stretch it. Your own is very much like this!
You may not always produce this type of CM, so even if you only see Watery CM, take advantage of it! There are always ways to increase and improve your CM. (Another story for another day!) But in the meantime drink plenty of water, take Evening Primrose Oil from the start of Menses until Ovulation, Mucinex and/or Robitussin Guafenesin can help aide in that!
Post Ovulation, you may notice abrupt dryness and your cervix may exhibit slight moisture. That is very common, and if your charting you may see a Temperature rise to confirm it! Progesterone is responsible for the Luteal Phase, which is the day after Ovulation until we either Test positive with a HPT (Home Pregnancy Test) or the dreaded AF (Aunt Flo) rears her ugly head if you’re TTC (Trying To Conceive). As we approach the latter part of our cycle – our CM tends to get a bit thick, Creamy, and Lotion-Like which is very acidic and considered non-fertile. If our Menses is due within a couple days, you may notice another dry spell. (Again, very common!)
So whether you’re actively TTC or actively TTA – Cervical Mucus, Cervical Position and charting your BBT (Basal Body Temperature) can play a major role in your success!
If you’re trying to abstain from Pregnancy, you’ll want to avoid intercourse on the days you notice any type of fertile-quality CM!