The thickness and consistency of cervical mucus is affected by hormonal changes
Cervical mucus may appear thick, gummy, and clear after conception. Changes in cervical mucus vary, however, and may be barely visible or subtle for some women. Moreover, a slight increase in cervical discharge may be noted.
Some women may experience implantation bleeding or spotting, where the mucus appears tinged with brown or pink. This typically occurs 6-12 days after conception.
What is cervical mucus?
Cervical mucus is fluid secreted and released by the cervix. Functions of cervical mucus include the following:
- Helps sperm move through the cervix to fertilize the egg during ovulation
- Prevents sperm or other substances from getting into the cervix
The thickness and consistency of cervical mucus is affected by hormones. For example, hormonal fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle can lead to changes in the color and thickness of the mucus. During early pregnancy, cervical mucus may appear sticky, white, or pale yellow and continue to change throughout different stages of pregnancy.
How does cervical mucus help with conception?
Cervical mucus has a vital role in conception. Because the hormone estrogen drops and peaks during the menstrual cycle, the thickness of the cervical mucus varies accordingly.
During the ovulation period, the cervical mucus becomes clear and slippery, making it easy for sperm to travel through the vagina to the uterus and fertilize the egg. When the cervical mucus becomes thick and cloudy, it becomes difficult for the sperm to swim and fertilize the egg.
What causes cervical mucus changes?
Reasons why pregnancy causes changes in the cervical mucus include the following:
- Hormone levels increase dramatically to help prepare your body to grow and provide nourishment to a baby.
- Hormonal changes can cause increased vaginal discharge, which is secreted to prevent vaginal infections, especially during later stages of pregnancy.
What should my cervical mucus feel like?
- During menstrual period:
- Because the blood flow covers your mucus, you may not notice any mucus.
- After menstrual period:
- You may notice less cervical mucus during this time, but other symptoms such as dryness and itchiness may be present.
- These days are the safest for sexual intercourse if you are not planning for a baby.
- Before ovulation:
- Cervical mucus may appear yellow, white, cloudy, stretchy, watery, or slippery
- Mucus can be seen at the opening of your vagina for 3-5 days.
- Eggs start to ripen during this time, and you are more fertile.
- During ovulation:
- Mucus secretion is increased, may appear clear and slippery like a raw egg white, and can be stretched between your fingers.
- This period of time is when you are most fertile and likely to become pregnant, lasting for about 4 days including your ovulation days.
- After ovulation:
- Mucus production gradually declines and gets cloudy and sticky again until it disappears, and you have more dry days.
- This stage lasts for about 11-14 days.
Medically Reviewed on 6/22/2022