What is cervical mucus and why should I track it?
Cervical mucus is a substance that forms in the cervix and is discharged through the vagina; it is also known as cervical fluid or discharge. The amount and consistency of cervical mucus changes throughout the menstrual cycle, and it's closely linked to fertility.
You can easily track your cervical mucus with the Natural Cycles app.
Does the Natural Cycles algorithm take cervical mucus into account?
While cervical mucus can be a fertility indicator, the Natural Cycles algorithm doesn't take it into account when calculating your fertility. The reason is that tracking cervical mucus to determine your fertile window can be hard to learn on your own as all our bodies are different, so it is best to learn this with the help of an expert, like a doctor, nurse, or a family planning counselor. It may take three to four months of daily checks to see ovulation patterns through cervical mucus tracking. Your cervical mucus consistency and appearance can also easily be affected by your lifestyle, for example, by medications, feminine hygiene products, douching, sexual intercourse, breastfeeding, and lubrication used during sex or pelvic exams. For this reason, and the fact that the analysis is subjective and may lead to user error, cervical mucus is not used by the NC° algorithm.
There are several other indicators in your body that signal what stage of your cycle you're in. The two main indicators that are taken into consideration by Natural Cycles are body temperature and LH (Luteinizing Hormone). Your temperature is the main indicator for detecting ovulation using Natural Cycles. You can read more about this here.
How to log cervical mucus in the app
Cervical mucus can be tracked in the Add Data page. You can select the amount (None, Light, Medium, or Heavy) and the consistency (Sticky, Creamy, Egg White, or Watery).
The cervical mucus section in the Add Data page when nothing is selected.
The cervical mucus section in the Add Data page when Medium amount and Sticky consistency are selected.
How to track cervical mucus changes, and what to expect throughout the cycle
You can check your cervical mucus by inserting a clean finger into your vagina and reaching toward your cervix or looking at the toilet paper after you wipe from front to back.
Right after your period, you will usually have no cervical mucus. If you do experience cervical mucus at the start of your cycle, it's likely to be a small amount as you are very unlikely to be fertile.
A little later in the cycle, you may have sticky cervical mucus. In this phase, cervical mucus has a sticky or glue-like consistency and is cloudy or white in color. At this point fertility is low.
As your fertile window approaches, you may have creamy cervical mucus. In this later phase, cervical mucus becomes creamy on consistency. It's also cloudy in color and maybe more plentiful and thicker than in earlier stages of the cycle.
Around ovulation day, at peak fertility, you may have cervical mucus that is egg white or watery in consistency. Cervical mucus in this stage is clear in color and very stretchy with higher water content. This is sometimes called egg white cervical mucus. An even higher water content can further dilute cervical mucus which is why it can sometimes be categorized as watery.
After ovulation, you may have less cervical mucus as it dries up again as the fertile window closes. The fluid is more sticky, with less water content than before ovulation. In some cases, there will be no cervical mucus.
This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your healthcare professional. Please consult your healthcare professional if you are unsure about how to track cervical mucus.