Getting Comfy with Cervical Fluid
If you had told me a year ago that I would be excited about my cervical fluid, I would have raised a serious eyebrow. In fact, I might have been slightly uncomfortable thinking about my cervical fluid at all. After all, we aren't really taught much about our cycles and what is normal. Actually, we are taught nothing. Then, most often, we are put on some form of birth control during our adolescent or early adult years which often masks the body's natural reproductive signs, including cervical fluid patterns.
So here we find ourselves, in our 20s through 40s, trying to conceive and learning, for the first time, about our body. Is that not crazy?!
For years I had an IUD, not realizing that through effective cycle tracking, I could actually be in control of my fertility without a foreign body inside of me.
As a health-savvy woman, just like you, I was shocked that no one had offered this as an option.
It wasn't until I was at my IUD removal appointment, discussing our desire to start a family, that my OB recommended a book that my circle of friends now refers to as the "Fertility Bible". The book is Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, MPH and it has been one of the most informative reads I've ever gotten my hands on.
This book, plus the must-listen podcast, Fertility Friday, led the way to getting comfy with my cervical fluid and taking control of my fertility.
In her book, Toni talks about three primary fertility signs to track:
Basal Body Temperature
For me, it was easiest to tackle one of these at a time. Since cervical fluid is as easy as taking a peek inside your undies every day while you use the lady's room, it is a good place to start. It is also one of the best predictors of when to have sex to maximize your chance of conceiving.
So what should you be looking for? Here's an overview of how cervical fluid changes throughout your cycle (adapted from Taking Charge of Your Fertility).
Nothing/Dry - After your period, you will likely have little to no cervical fluid for a few days.
Sticky - Like school glue ladies, tacky like a paste. Not great for sperm survival.
Creamy - Then it transitions to a lotion-like feel, wet and watery.
Slippery - Think egg whites. The perfect consistency for sperm travel and survival. It is time to get busy! On your most fertile day, your cervical fluid may even stretch a few inches between your fingers. Don't cringe, this is so cool! I promise when you start observing for yourself, there will be a bit of excitement at just how amazing your body is.
Dry/Sticky - After you ovulate (peak day for fertility), your cervical fluid will change quickly back to a school glue consistency, or become dry. This is a sign that estrogen has dropped and progesterone is on the rise (progesterone is important for building the uterine wall for successful implantation of the fertilized egg). If you didn't conceive, you will start your next cycle.
It is a big job learning about your body and can come with a lot of questions. If you recently stopped hormonal birth control, give your body 3-6 months to normalize before expecting consistent fertility signs and patterns. Trust your body.
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You were made for this.