Cervical mucus is an important part of the reproductive process. It helps protect and nourish a woman’s eggs, plays a role in helping sperm reach and fertilize the egg, and also serves as an indicator to help women identify when they are ovulating. Knowing what cervical mucus should be like before, during, and after ovulation can provide insight into healthy fertility and is beneficial for those trying to conceive.
Before ovulation takes place, cervical mucus tends to be thick and sticky in texture. In some cases it may even appear cloudy or white-ish in color. This type of discharge reflects that the body's estrogen levels are low leading up to ovulation. Low estrogen means that the uterus lining is not quite ready for implantation of a fertilized egg. It also means that the cervical mucus blocks sperm from entering.
As ovulation approaches, estrogen levels start to rise and cervical mucus becomes thinner and wetter. This type of discharge reflects higher levels of hormones and indicates that the uterus lining is preparing for implantation. The increased moistness also acts as a lubricant to help sperm reach their destination more easily.
During ovulation, cervical mucus will be at its most slippery, clear, and watery to form an ideal environment for sperm survival! At this time the cervix opens slightly more so that it can act like a passageway for the sperm to travel through. During peak fertility which typically lasts 1-2 days, it is important to note that the mucus may appear stretchy when pulled apart and clear like egg whites.
After ovulation, cervical mucus will start to dry up as estrogen levels decline. This thicker and stickier discharge acts to block sperm from entering the cervix again so that implantation of a fertilized egg cannot occur. It also serves as a sign that your fertile window has closed for the month and you are back into an infertile phase until your next cycle arrives.
It is important to remember that each woman’s body is unique and their cervical mucus patterns can vary greatly throughout their cycles. Paying close attention to changes in your cervical mucus can help you gain insight into your cycle, reproductive health, and fertility.