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Cervical mucus is a fluid produced by glands in and around the cervix or cervix. The characteristics of cervical mucus can change with changes in the amount of hormones throughout a woman's menstrual cycle, so it can be used as a marker of a woman's fertile period
Cervical mucus is naturally produced by cervical tissue to protect the vagina from bacterial infections and help sperm move towards the uterus. In addition, by observing cervical mucus, a woman can predict the fertile period or ovulation to help plan or prevent pregnancy.
The Characteristics of Cervical Mucus According to the Menstrual Cycle
The amount, color, and texture of cervical mucus in each menstrual cycle can vary from woman to woman. However, as the menstrual cycle progresses, cervical mucus changes as follows:
The period after menstruation
After menstruation, the production of cervical mucus will decrease so that the vagina feels a little dry. However, the amount of cervical mucus will start to increase again within a few days.
In this period, the color of cervical mucus can appear yellow or cloudy white and the texture is sticky like glue when touched. The mucus texture makes it difficult for sperm to move towards the egg. This indicates that the woman's body is not yet fertile.
The period before ovulation
Towards the time of ovulation, cervical mucus will become softer and watery. At this time, the vagina will also feel more moist. The color of cervical mucus will appear white or slightly yellowish with a texture that resembles cream.
Cervical mucus with this consistency indicates that the body is not yet in its fertile period because the texture of the mucus still restricts the movement of sperm.
At the time of ovulation, the hormone estrogen increases and the production of cervical mucus will reach its highest level. Cervical mucus at the time of ovulation looks clear white resembling egg white.
When touched with two fingers, the texture of the mucus can expand up to 2–5 cm. This condition of cervical mucus is very good for delivering sperm to swim towards the egg.
At this time, women usually feel a lot of discharge, even to the point that it flows through the vagina and wets the surface of the underwear. Such cervical mucus indicates that a woman is in her fertile period.
The period after ovulation
After ovulation, the hormone progesterone will increase. This will make the amount of cervical mucus begin to decrease with a sticky and thick texture. The texture of cervical mucus like this can prevent sperm from entering the uterus.
How to Check Cervical Mucus
You can check and observe cervical mucus independently by following these steps:
- Start by washing your hands with clean water and soap, then dry your hands using a towel or tissue.
- Find a comfortable position, whether in a sitting, squatting or standing position by placing one foot on the toilet.
- Put the index finger into the vagina until the finger feels wet, but do not need to insert it too deep.
- Take out the finger from the vagina and observe the texture of the vaginal mucus sticking to the finger. You can try stretching the mucus by placing your index and middle fingers together.
In addition to inserting a finger into the vagina, cervical mucus can also be observed by rubbing a tissue into the vagina, then pay attention to the mucus that sticks. Another way is to observe vaginal mucus stuck to the underwear.
Avoid checking cervical mucus after sexual intercourse because it will be difficult to distinguish from cervical mucus that has been mixed with sperm.
In addition, observing cervical mucus should also not be done when sexually aroused because the mucus that comes out is not part of the menstrual cycle, but the vaginal lubricating fluid.
Observing the characteristics of cervical mucus according to the menstrual cycle can help you plan pregnancy or prevent it. If cervical mucus appears clear like egg white, this is a good time to have sex because sperm can move better towards the uterus.
On the other hand, if you and your partner are not planning to become pregnant, you should not have unprotected sex during your fertile period.
In addition to determining the fertile period, changes in cervical mucus beyond the previously mentioned characteristics can also be a sign of certain he alth conditions, such as hormonal imbalance or fertility problems.
If you have difficulty determining the fertile period or are unsure about how to determine the characteristics of cervical mucus, you can consult a gynecologist for further advice.