In conception, cervical mucus is an essential element because it nourishes and protects sperm, keeping them alive for up to five days inside your cervix, until ovulation occurs and fertilization can take place. Slippery cervical mucus also provides channels, which help sperm swim through your cervix. Without enough fertile mucus, your cervix is blocked and conception can’t happen.
Whether your cycles are long, short, regular or irregular- charting your cervical mucus patterns (along with your BBT) is a great way to pinpoint your most fertile days and predict when you will ovulate, so you can be sure of which days lovemaking may result in pregnancy.
In charting the changes in your cervical mucus, you will be looking for changes in consistency, quantity and color. The consistency of your cervical mucus changes throughout your menstrual cycle based on the hormonal shifts that are associated with ovulation, caused by estrogen and progesterone.
Once your period has stopped, your cervical mucus is typically dry or it may feel dense, tacky, chalky or crumbly. The number of dry days after your menstrual bleeding ends, varies from cycle to cycle. Sperm are prevented from penetrating your cervix on days when there is no mucus. As you get closer to ovulation your cervical mucus will get thinner, because of increased levels of estrogen.
Eventually, your cervical mucus turns to a consistency similar to raw egg whites (about 1-3 days prior to ovulation), which helps sperm to penetrate your cervix. This cervical mucus is very slippery and stretchy, sometimes changing in color, appearing fairly clear or yellowish. It may feel abundant, wet (similar to what you feel at the beginning of your period) and can be stretched into a thread between your fingers. This type of cervical mucus signals that eggs are developing and indicates that you are highly fertile. You and your partner should make love every day that you see or feel this type of fertile cervical mucus, for the best chance of conceiving.
After ovulation you will notice that your cervical mucus typically gets thicker, sticky or dries up all together, becoming a protective barrier against sperm once again. This is caused by a decrease in your estrogen levels and an increase in your progesterone levels.
You should start checking your cervical mucus on the first day after your period, and check it several times during the day. You can check it externally by wiping downward with toilet tissue, while sitting on the toilet. It can be more accurate to insert your index or middle finger (making sure your hands are clean), and observe your cervical mucus by feeling it and recording your observations on your chart.
Read more on Fertility Charting