Charting Your Fertility Pattern-Cervical mucus method

Knowing when you re most fertile will help you plan a pregnancy. (Not useful as a birth control method). There are three ways you can keep track of your fertile times. They are: basal body temperature method, the calendar method and the cervical mucus method. Below is information on the cervical mucus method.

Cervical mucus method (also known as the ovulation method) - This involves being aware of the changes in your cervical mucus throughout the month. The hormones that control the menstrual cycle also change the kind and amount of mucus you have before, during and after ovulation. Right after your period, there are usually a few days when there is no mucus present or dry days.  As the egg starts to mature, mucus increases in the vagina, appears at the vaginal opening, and is white or yellow and cloudy and sticky. The greatest amount of mucus appears just before ovulation. During these wet days  it becomes clear and slippery, like raw egg whites. Sometimes it can be stretched apart. This is when you are most fertile.

About four days after the wet days begin, the mucus changes again. There will be much less and it becomes sticky and cloudy. You might have a few more dry days before your period returns. Describe changes in your mucus on a calendar. Label the days, Sticky,  Dry,  or Wet.  You are most fertile at the first sign of wetness after your period or a day or two before wetness begins. This method is less reliable for some women. Women who are breastfeeding, taking hormonal contraceptives (like the pill) using feminine hygiene products, have vaginitis or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), or have had surgery on the cervix should not rely on this method.

To most accurately track your fertility, use a combination of all three methods (BBT charting, calender & cervical mucus methods). This is called the symptothermal method.

Also print your own Basal Body Temperature Chart to track your ovulation. View a sample BBT chart.

This information is supplied by The National Women s Health Information Center. The National Women s Health Information Center is Sponsored by the Office on Women s Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.