This excerpt from The Cycle was written by Jennifer Aldoretta
Cervical mucus. Discharge. Cervical fluid. That fluid made by your cervix. The stuff you find in your underwear. Cervical fluid goes by many names, but being able to visualize how it changes throughout your menstrual cycle, what causes it to change, and what exactly that means is a powerful teaching tool. Shown below are images and videos of the cervical fluid changes that took place during a single menstrual cycle in one individual. Each body is unique, and so is each person’s cervical fluid pattern! The images and videos shown on this page cannot possibly represent every single type of cervical fluid, but hopefully it will make it easier to learn about your unique pattern and what that means about your body.
Ovulation is the release of a matured egg from your ovaries, and it typically takes place a few weeks after the first day of your period. Cervical fluid production is the result of hormone changes that occur during this time. Your fluid goes through many changes between the first day of your period and the day of ovulation, and your cervix can begin making it any time after your period ends (and even before your period ends if you have long periods). This section shows the cervical fluid changes that are common during the first few weeks after your period begins.
The first few days after your period ends may be “dry,” meaning that no cervical fluid is being produced by your cervix (as seen in the above image). During these “dry” days, sperm are unable to survive inside your reproductive tract due to the naturally low pH (and high acidity) of your vaginal environment. Even when cervical fluid is not present, a slight moisture will still be present in the vagina — this vaginal fluid is a natural secretion that helps keep your vaginal ecosystem healthy.
After your period ends, your cervix will begin producing cervical fluid, and this means that your body is ramping up to ovulate. The purpose of cervical fluid is to keep sperm alive and help it reach your egg — when cervical fluid is present, sperm can survive in your reproductive tract for up to 5 days waiting for an egg to be released. Cervical fluid typically starts out thick, tacky, sticky, or pasty, and it may even be creamy, milky, or lotiony. It may also be mixed with a small amount of slippery fluid, as is the case in the images and video above.
Day #1 of cervical fluid included mostly sticky and tacky fluid and a very small amount of slippery fluid. Today, however, cervical fluid has become mostly slippery, and only includes a small amount of sticky, tacky fluid. As ovulation approaches during the coming days, cervical fluid will continue to become increasingly wet and slippery.
Cervical fluid is continuing to become increasingly wet and slippery. Today, the fluid is cloudy, slippery, and very stretchy. The increasing water content of this fluid can keep sperm alive inside the female reproductive tract for many days, and it helps sperm travel through the reproductive tract to reach the egg.
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Today, the water content of the slippery, fertile cervical fluid has visibly increased. The fluid is less springy, more wet, and more slippery, making it very hospitable to sperm.
The water content of today’s cervical fluid is very high, making it clear, very slippery, and extremely sperm-friendly. As you can see in the images and video above, this fluid has a very slight pink coloration, which is common just before ovulation occurs. As you’ll see in the images and videos on Day 6 and Day 7 below, the cervical fluid begins to dry up after today. That makes today the last day of slippery cervical fluid for this menstrual cycle — the last day of slippery cervical fluid is called the Peak Day. Most medical experts agree that the Peak Day is the most fertile day of the menstrual cycle, and the day that ovulation (or the realease of an egg) most likely takes place.
Today, cervical fluid has returned to being sticky, tacky, and pasty. Since yesterday was the last day of wet, slippery cervical fluid before it began to dry up, it’s considered the Peak Day and the most fertile day of the menstrual cycle. After ovulation, hormone changes cause cervical fluid to dry up. The cervix still makes cervical fluid post-ovulation, but it will be sticky, tacky, creamy, pasty, milky, lotiony, and even stretchy. However, it will NOT be slippery or lubricative, and it will NOT be sperm-friendly.
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After ovulation, hormone changes cause cervical fluid to dry up, but your body may still produce cervical fluid until your next period begins. Post-ovulatory cervical fluid may be sticky, tacky, creamy, pasty, milky, lotiony, or even stretchy (as is the case today). However, cervical fluid produced after ovulation will NOT be slippery or lubricative, and it will NOT be sperm-friendly.
Tracking your cervical fluid can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. To learn more about the qualities and characteristics of cervical that you should be paying attention to (and which ones you should ignore), check out this blog post. Want to keep reading? Find out how cervical fluid is made, and learn how to check your cervical fluid.
Cervical fluid can tell you a lot about the state of your hormone health and the health of your periods. Having tons and tons of cervical fluid for weeks on end, for example, usually indicates abnormally high levels of the sex hormone called estrogen (and potentially low levels of the sex hormone called progesterone). On the other hand, too little cervical fluid, or cervical fluid that never becomes wet and slippery can mean the opposite. Healthy hormones and healthy periods are absolutely VITAL for good overall health.
Unhealthy periods (complete with cramps, acne, bloating, mood swings, food cravings, low libido, etc.) have a major affect on the health of EVERY system in your body — your mental health, your digestive health, your immune health, your skin (acne, anyone?!), and even your sleep. Bananas, right? If you struggle with period problems, you’re not necessarily sentenced to a lifetime of monthly misery. I personally healed my periods after more than a decade of horrible problems, and I want to help you do the same thing! I created Period Reset, Groove’s bomb-dot-com 30-day program, to help you fix your period problems once and for all. Healthy, pain-free periods are within reach, and I can show you how to make it happen! Learn more about Period Reset »