What does cervical mucus look like after ovulation if you’re pregnant?
Written by: Dr. Amy Beckley, PhD, Founder and Inventor of the Proov test — the first and only FDA-cleared test to confirm successful ovulation at home.
Medically reviewed by: Dr. Aimee Eyvazzadeh, MD, MPH
Written on 11/13/20
Cervical mucus monitoring is one of the best-known techniques used to track peak fertility. If you are trying to conceive, tracking the changes in your cervical mucus may help you identify your fertile window so that you can accurately time intercourse and get pregnant faster!
What is cervical mucus?
Cervical mucus is a fluid produced by the glands around the cervix and plays an important role in reproduction. Its color and consistency change throughout the menstrual cycle under the influence of hormones, giving you valuable information about your fertility.
As hormone levels fluctuate in different stages of your cycle, so does the amount and thickness of your cervical fluid. During the follicular phase, you may experience dry cervical mucus immediately following your period, but may notice a gradual increase in the amount of mucus as your follicles are growing and your estrogen levels rise.
As you approach ovulation, you should start to observe fertile cervical mucus: more abundant, with a clear, stretchy and slippery consistency that may remind you of egg-whites. That’s when you should have intercourse if you’re trying to get pregnant, as this type of discharge may be a pretty reliable ovulation predictor. To make sure you are indeed approaching ovulation, you may also test your LH with the help of urine strips. Once you ovulate, your cervical mucus will change again.
Why should I track cervical mucus?
Tracking your cervical mucus is a very inexpensive method of fertility management. Whether you’re trying to achieve pregnancy or just track your cycle, cervical mucus teaches you to identify the fertile and infertile stages of your cycle. When you identify fertile cervical mucus, you know you have reached peak fertility, which is when intercourse is most likely to result in conception.
How do I track cervical mucus?
First of all, you may want to keep a chart, so that you can actually see the progression and write down all the changes. Second, especially if you're new at this game, you want to start tracking immediately after your period, during the follicular phase, so that you can see how the consistency changes over time.
Here are some steps you can take:
- Thoroughly wash and dry your hands.
- Find a comfortable position, either by putting one leg up on the toilet seat/bathtub or by sitting on the toilet.
- Carefully introduce your index finger inside your vagina, taking care to not scratch your cervix, especially if you have long nails.
- Remove your finger from your vagina and notice the amount and consistency of the mucus. Slowly press your index and your thumb together, then slowly move them apart. Is your discharge clear and stretchy? That means you are approaching ovulation.
- Write down the results so that by the end of the month you can have a nice progression and a general picture of how your cervical mucus changed throughout the cycle. This will allow you to observe patterns of potential fertility or infertility, and will provide valuable information for your doctor.
While this approach is effective and very inexpensive, if you want help tracking cervical mucus, devices like the kegg, which is a 2-in-1 pelvic trainer + cervical mucus fertility tracker, can help.
What does cervical mucus look like after ovulation?
Immediately after ovulation, your estrogen levels drop, and you may have less discharge or even some dry days. A few days into the luteal phase though, your estrogen rises again and progesterone joins the show. The mucus is no longer clear and stretchy like a few days ago when your body was gearing up for releasing an egg and preparing a protective environment for sperm. What you may see now is a cloudy and rather thick discharge.
If you haven’t conceived, both your estrogen and your progesterone levels will drop again, and menstrual bleeding begins. If you do conceive, both estrogen and progesterone levels continue to rise, feeding your uterine lining so that it can nourish an implanted embryo. Along with this hormonal rise, an increase in blood volume that starts in the early stages of pregnancy may also boost the amount of discharge your cervix produces.
What does cervical mucus look like if I’m pregnant?
Life would so be much simpler if we could reliably detect pregnancy based solely on the way our cervical mucus looks during our luteal phase, wouldn’t it?
While cervical mucus alone is not a reliable indicator of pregnancy, we can safely say that it is pretty rare to have dry cervical mucus if you conceived since both estrogen and progesterone stay elevated during the luteal phase. However, the changes may be very subtle and can easily be overlooked.
The vaginal discharge encountered in early pregnancy is quite abundant and may have either a milky or a pale yellow look. Once fertilization has occurred, the volume of discharge increases as your vagina tries to get rid of bacteria that might damage the newly implanted embryo. Later on, this discharge is going to form the mucus plug, meant to act as a barrier between the vagina and the uterus, and protect the growing fetus from infections during pregnancy.
What if I don’t have enough cervical mucus?
A lack of cervical mucus can indicate a hormonal imbalance. But if your hormones were checked and are fine, you may want to make sure you are staying hydrated, as dehydration also has an impact on the quantity of fluids our bodies produce.
Also, you may want to keep in mind that for the cervical mucus method to offer you correct information on your cycle, you should avoid douching at any time. The vagina has the capacity of cleaning up itself and douching may not only disrupt the balance of bacteria in the vagina, but it can also diminish your chances of conception by washing away fertile cervical mucus.
Last but not least, the Cervical Mucus method may not apply to women who have suffered cervix surgeries like LEEP. These procedures can damage the glands around the cervix that produce cervical fluids.
It goes the same for women using certain medication meant to induce ovulation, like clomid. It has a tendency to dry up cervical mucus.
Using the cervical mucus method to track your cycle requires diligence and commitment, but daily monitoring can provide a reliable overall picture of your cycle and help you identify your fertile window! Cervical mucus monitoring is a great ovulation prediction method to try when trying to conceive.