The cervix produces a protective lubricant that is commonly termed, cervical mucus. This mucus changes slightly in colour, amount and texture throughout your cycle and is completely normal!
By normal I mean that it is a healthy representation of the secretions from the cervix (just a fancy name for the opening of your uterus) that fluctuate with changing hormone levels.
What is its purpose?
To protect and moisten the lining of your cervix and vagina. All the mucus membranes that make up the barrier between the external world and your body are lined with a fluid; the mucus membranes in your mouth are protected by saliva, your ears have wax, your nose has, well, more mucus!
Cervical mucus produced during the “infertile phase” of your cycle has another protective role, it creates a plug over the opening of the uterus, which apart from stopping nasties such as germs and dirt from getting up into the uterus and causing infection, it also stops sperm from being able to enter the uterus.
Imagine it is like a natural diaphragm! But not only is this natural diaphragm a barrier, it has an acidic pH that acts as a spermicide, rendering those little guys completely useless!
Cervical mucus produced during the “fertile phase” of your cycle however, is completely the opposite! It is more basic (alkaline) and therefore dissolves the acidic plug, exposing the entry point to the uterus and allowing the passage of sperm towards the egg.
It is much more fluid and slippery, which sperm love! They wriggle their tails around, exactly like a tadpole and within as little as 30 minutes can have swam up though the vagina, uterus and down a fallopian tube to fertilise a waiting egg!
What are the different types?
Basically when I teach my patients and NNP clients to recognise the different types of cervical mucus I break it down into 4 categories:
Infertile Cervical Mucus: As detailed above this mucus acts as a natural diaphragm and spermicide. It is usually thick, white, pasty and unchanging in amount. Some women describe it as UHU (the glue stick!) as it can be sticky and tacky, and dries as a white crust on your underwear.
You may notice this type of mucus in the couple of days after your period has finished and again after ovulation has occurred (see the green petals in the diagram).
Possibly Fertile Cervical Mucus: This mucus is the “change-over” mucus, it varies greatly for different women ranging from clear, thin and watery to creamy white and lumpy.
Remember, every woman is different and when you learn the NNP technique you are learning how to read your individual pattern of fertility.
Fertile and Very Fertile Cervical Mucus: These cervical mucus types should be treated with the utmost reverence!
For those who are wishing to fall pregnant it is the most desirable and exciting cervical mucus to discover.
But for those who are practicing the NNP technique it is a dangerous couple of days when barrier methods should be employed.
This type of cervical mucus is profuse, wet, slippery and may even be stretchy like egg-white. It is short lasting, from a couple of hours to 3 days (See the red petals on the diagram).
What about when you are on the pill?
Just as women taking the pill or any other synthetic hormonal contraception do not get periods because they are not ovulating (they simply have a what is called a withdrawal bleed) they also do not get fluctuations in cervical mucus types.
A woman taking synthetic hormones will only experience one type of cervical mucus, and that is the Infertile type.
Would you like to learn how to use this knowledge to prevent or facilitate pregnancy?
All NNP Programs teach:
- How to achieve contraception though monitoring changes in cervical mucus.
- More detail about the cervical mucus types.
- When you must use protection if you are interested in contraception (or when to have lots of sex if you want to have babies!)
- How to recognise hormonal imbalances such as low levels of cervical mucus. This can be remedied easily with herbs, nutrients and/or diet and lifestyle changes.
The NNP technique also employs Basal Body Temperature (BBT) recording and Lunar Phase Fertility for maximum protection.