INTERPRETING CHANGES IN CERVICAL MUCUS
DURING THE FERTILITY CYCLE


The following charts illustrate variations in individual mucus patterns.

The period and dry days in a 28 day cycle
The first day of menstruation (fresh red bleeding) is the first day of the cycle.

A variable number of dry days marked D may follow the period.



Onset of mucus immediately after the period in a 25 day cycle
Days marked M indicate the presence of mucus
and the absence of pre-ovulatory dry days.

This is more common in short cycles.



Onset of mucus after dry days in a 27 day cycle
Dry days marked D are followed by the onset of mucus on day 8.

It is important to recognise the change in sensation at the vulva
from true dryness to moistness.

Days of moist or sticky sensation or appearance of sticky white or cloudy mucus
are marked with an M and described appropriately.



Recording a wet day the day after intercourse in the pre-ovulatory phase.
During the learning phase the day after intercourse is marked as wet (M)
because of the difficulty in distinguishing mucus from seminal fluid.

Note: Intercourse during the early dry days is unlikely to lead to pregnancy,
although there is always some risk in the pre-ovulatory phase.



Mucus pattern approaching peak day.
Any days of highly fertile clear stretchy mucus giving a wet or
slippery sensation are marked with an F.

The last F day is peak mucus day and is marked with a cross through the F.



Peak day and the change after peak.
After peak day, there is an abrupt change to sticky mucus or dryness.

If relying on mucus symptom alone, four days marked 1,2,3,4, must elapse before intercourse can be resumed on the fourth day



Mucus changes throughout the cycle.
Complete cycle showing typical pattern of menstruation, pre-ovulatory dry days,
mucus days with increasingly fertile characteristics approaching peak day,
the abrupt change back to less fertile characteristics,
the count of four after peak day and post-ovulatory dry days.



Guidelines for achieving pregnancy - Using mucus symptom only
  • Couples wishing to achieve pregnancy should have intercourse on any day when highly fertile-type mucus is present.

  • Frequently the day of maximum amount of highly fertile mucus precedes peak day by one or two days.

    Peak day and the two days preceding peak
    are the days of maximum fertility
    .



Guidelines for avoiding pregnancy - Using mucus symptom only

Pre-ovulatory relatively infertile phase:
  • Dry days following the period are relatively infertile. Any change from the sensation of true dryness or any visible mucus warns of approaching fertility and should be regarded as fertile.

  • Intercourse should be restricted to evenings to allow time for observation of mucus symptom during the day.

  • It is unwise to have intercourse on consecutive evenings to avoid confusion between cervical mucus and seminal fluid.

  • Safe on alternate dry evenings


Post-ovulatory infertile phase
  • If a woman is relying on the mucus symptom alone, the post-ovulatory infertile phase starts on the fourth day after peak day.

    (This interval allows for the fact that peak day does not coincide precisely with the day of ovulation. It allows for the life of the ovum and makes provision for a second ovulation.)





The First and Second Indicators of Fertility (temperature and cervical mucus)
can now be combined to allow a double check.

Combining the temperature and mucus recordings
This is a 28 day cycle with a five day period.

The first mucus is recognised on Day 9 as a moist sensation.

Peak day is Day 14 (the last F day).

The temperature shift is observed on day 15.

The mucus on days 27 and 28 is related to hormonal fluctuations prior to the next period.
Any mucus observed during the post-ovulatory infertile phase can be disregarded.

The couple are using Fertility Awareness to avoid pregnancy.
They had intercourse on alternate dry evenings 6 and 8 and then abstained
from the onset of the mucus symptom
until the post-ovulatory infertile phase was confirmed by
the third high temperature past peak day on day 17.

The rest of the cycle was then available for unrestricted intercourse



Where double check of temperature and mucus is used:
  • The beginning of the fertile phase is recognised by the first mucus symptom

  • The post-ovulatory infertile phase starts after the third high temperature has been recorded provided all three temperatures are past the peak mucus day.



Return to 'Cervical Mucus - an Indicator of Fertility'




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