Cervical Mucus and Natural Contraception: What You Need to Know

Cervical mucus plays a big role in natural contraception, a method many people use to prevent pregnancy.

Our bodies produce cervical mucus in the cervix. It’s texture and amount change during the menstrual cycle due to hormonal fluctuations.

Right before ovulation, cervical mucus becomes clear and stretchy, similar to egg whites. This change helps sperm swim easily through the cervix, increasing the chances of fertilisation.

Here’s what you need to know about this vital bodily function and its connection to natural contraception.

Key Takeaways

  • Changes in cervical mucus, such as thinness, stretchiness, and a slippery texture, indicate peak fertility and the most fertile days for conception.
  • The cervical mucus method for natural family planning requires consistent and accurate tracking to be reliable.
  • Natural contraception methods do not protect against sexually transmitted infections, so additional protection may be necessary.
  • Lifestyle factors and irregular menstrual cycles can change how natural contraception methods are used, so personalised advice from someone trained in Natural Contraception & Fertility Awareness Education is recommended.

What Is the Cervical Mucus?

Cervical mucus refers to the fluid produced by the cervix of a female reproductive system. It changes in consistency, texture, and colour throughout the menstrual cycle.

People can figure out when they are most likely to reach peak fertility in their cycle and if choosing to potentially fall pregnant by learning to recognise these simple cervical mucus changes throughout their cycle.

The Cervical Mucus Method for Natural Family Planning

Cervical mucus can be a helpful tool for natural contraception.

Paying attention to the changes in your cervical mucus throughout your menstrual cycle can help you gain insight into your fertility and make informed decisions about contraception.

How to Observe and Track Cervical Mucus

To track cervical mucus effectively, you can start by checking it daily. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start recognising what you notice in your underwear and/or on toilet paper daily.
  2. Document what you see.
  3. Pay attention to the colour, texture, and consistency of the mucus — or if there is no mucus at all.
  4. Document your sexual activity; arousal fluid can often be mistaken for cervical mucus so tracking this also supports identifying observation changes.

Here is a table that will guide you on the changes in your cervical mucus and what it means:

Phase

Cervical Mucus 

Description

Menstrual phase

  • Little to no cervical mucus is present because of blood flow
  • After a period, you may experience dryness (also known as “dry days”)
  • Hormone levels are low
  • May be unsafe, contraceptives are needed

Follicular phase (before ovulation)

  • Moist or wet sensation that last throughout the day
  • May be white or cloudy in colour
  • May feel sticky or tacky in texture
  • The body starts preparing for ovulation
  • Oestrogen levels rise, causing the cervix to produce more cervical mucus

Ovulation

  • Same as follicular phase or moving towards thin, stretchy, and slippery
  • Clear cervical mucus
  • Resembles “raw egg whites”
  • Not everyone experiences “slippery” mucus
  • Increase in luteinising hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone levels
  • Oestrogen levels decrease, and progesterone levels increase
  • Most fertile days. Best time to conceive

Luteal Phase (after ovulation)

  • Post ovulation dryness once the cervix has closed
  • May experience post ovulation discharge that can appear cloudy and sticky
  • You can experience “dry days”
  • Ovaries release progesterone and a small amount of oestrogen
  • Uterus lining thickens in preparation for pregnancy
  • If pregnancy occurs, more progesterone is made to maintain the lining
  • If no pregnancy occurs, progesterone drops, the uterine lining sheds, and you start your period

Limitations of the Cervical Mucus Method

When used correctly, the cervical mucus method can be up to 98% effective in preventing pregnancy. However, it requires consistent and accurate tracking to be reliable.

Here are some limitations to keep in mind:

Lack of Protection Against Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Natural contraception methods do not offer any protection against STIs. If an individual is at risk for STIs, they should consider using barrier methods, such as condoms, in addition to natural solutions.

Dependence on Regularity of Menstrual Cycle

Natural methods are typically dependent on the consistency and regularity of the individual’s menstrual cycle. Irregular cycles or variations in ovulation patterns can make it difficult to accurately predict the fertile window, increasing the risk of unintended pregnancy.

Learning Curve and User Errors

Natural contraception methods require menstruators to have a thorough understanding of their fertility signs and consistently monitor them.

Learning to accurately interpret these signs and identifying changes in the body can take time and practice, making it more prone to user errors.

It’s recommended to track your cycle for 3-6 months (approx. 3-6 menstrual cycles) to gain  an accurate chart and understanding of your own individual cycle. Failure to accurately track fertility signs and use natural contraception methods can lead to unintended pregnancy.

Lifestyle Factors

Some lifestyle factors, such as stress, illness, travel, or shift work, can affect the predictability of fertility signs and make natural contraception methods less reliable. These methods may not be suitable for individuals with inconsistent routines or who face frequent disruptions in their daily lives.

Seeking Support

For better results, it’s advisable to seek personalised advice from a training Natural Contraception & Fertility Awareness Educator regarding your own cervical mucus method.

An educator who is trained in fertility awareness and the menstrual cycle can also support  you in understanding yourself and your cycle better, providing the appropriate support you need.

Most importantly, your sexual partner’s involvement in natural conception is appreciated. Open communication and cooperation with your partner help increase the effectiveness of natural conception.

Remember to prioritise your reproductive health by staying informed and making choices that align with your needs and preferences.

Fertility Awareness for Natural Conception

Fertility awareness is a method of natural family planning that involves closely monitoring and understanding the changes in cervical mucus, menstrual cycle, and ovulation to determine the most fertile period for conception.

This method allows couples to effectively understand and track their fertility, making it a reliable and hormone-free method of birth control or achieving pregnancy.

Charting and analysing the slippery texture of cervical mucus can help couples identify when they are most fertile and plan intercourse accordingly.

It is important to remember, though, that being aware of your fertility does not protect you from sexually transmitted infections.

You should still use extra forms of birth control, like condoms, to stop the spread of infections and make sure you have safe sexual practices.

FAQ

The cervical mucus method is a type of fertility awareness method used as a natural form of contraception. It involves tracking changes in cervical mucus to determine the fertile and non-fertile phases of your menstrual cycle.

The cervical mucus method works by identifying the changes in cervical secretion throughout the menstrual cycle. During the fertile phase, the cervical mucus becomes clear, slippery, and stretchy, indicating peak fertility. Couples can avoid sex or partner cervical mucus knowledge with other birth control methods (such as condoms or BBT) during these fertile times to prevent pregnancy.

The effectiveness of the cervical mucus method for birth control varies based on individual use and diligence. When used correctly, it can be pretty effective.

Besides the cervical mucus method, other fertility awareness methods include the temperature method, symptothermal method, ovulation method, Billings ovulation method, and calendar method. These methods also rely on tracking different signs of fertility to prevent pregnancy.

The cervical mucus method may not be suitable for everyone, especially those with irregular menstrual cycles, certain medical conditions, or menstruators who find it challenging to consistently track their cervical mucus changes.

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