Cervical mucus1Why does cervical mucus matter?

No matter whether you are trying to conceive through intercourse or through insemination, the quality and quantity of cervical mucus matters.  Fertile cervical mucus, usually produced around the time of ovulation, helps sperm move more easily towards the opening of the cervix and into the uterus.  This mucus helps protect sperm from the acidic environment of the vagina and acts like a ladder that sperm “swim” up from the vagina to the cervical opening and then into the uterus.

Egg white cervical mucus = fertile window = better chances of conceiving

Poor quantity and/or quality of mucus may be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, diet, hormonal issues, vaginal infections, auto-immune factors, and certain medications (e.g. antihistamines and ovarian stimulation drugs).

So how do you make better cervical mucus to make a baby?

  1. Check your cervical mucus

First, get to know your body.  Understanding the natural changes in cervical mucus throughout your cycle will help empower you to take control of your fertility.  Observing your cervical mucus every couple of days is a great way to get to know your menstrual cycle and when you ovulate.  Using a clean finger, reach inside your vagina to collect a little fluid.  After removing your finger, take a look at the colour and consistency of the fluid.  Roll the fluid between two fingers to check for that stretchy, thin, fertile cervical mucus.  Keeping notes in a chart over the course of one or more months may be helpful to time intercourse or insemination.

Plus, studies have shown that women who check their cervical mucus consistently are 2-3 times more likely to get pregnant over a six month period than those who don’t.

  1. Talk to your doctor

Determining the possible causes for poor quantity or quality of cervical mucus is key.  Your naturopathic doctor or other primary care physician may recommend testing for vaginal infections or the presence of anti-sperm antibodies.  They may also consider altering medications if necessary.

  1. Drink enough water

Staying hydrated means that your body has enough fluid to make fluids.  If you are dehydrated, your body will conserve water and use it for more vital functions than making a baby.  Since cervical mucus is made up of around 90% water, drinking enough water is essential.  Make sure you are drinking at least 8 glasses a day.

  1. Regulate hormones

Cervical mucus changes and shifts throughout the normal menstrual cycle, depending on hormone production.  Just after menses, the cervix produces very little mucus.  Leading up to ovulation, the cervix produces mucus that is often thicker, white or cloudy, and somewhat sticky.  During your most fertile days, cervical mucus becomes clearer in colour, more pliable and stretchy.  Most people compare fertile cervical mucus to raw egg whites in terms of their consistency.  After ovulation, cervical mucus becomes thicker again.

If you aren’t producing fertile cervical mucus, it may be caused by low estrogen or low progesterone.   It may also be a sign that you aren’t ovulating, a relatively common cause of difficulty conceiving.  Regulating hormones through diet, exercise, stress management, herbs and supplements can help address the root causes of hormonal imbalance.

  1. Use a cervical fluid-friendly lubricant

Many drugs used in fertility treatments (e.g. clomiphene/Clomid) are great for stimulating ovulation but unfortunately have negative effects on cervical mucus, making it thicker and less like the optimal fertile cervical mucus.

Add to that the fact that many lubricants have ingredients that may actually harm sperm rather than help.  Thankfully, there are a few lubricants specifically designed to be sperm-friendly.  They provide lubrication for sexual activities without disrupting the fertile cervical mucus you’ve worked so hard to produce.  Look for a natural, water-based lubricant without any petroleum by-products, glycerin, or parabens, all of which have been shown to disturb a healthy, vaginal environment.  Products like Pre-Seed are specifically designed to match the acidity and viscosity of fertile cervical mucus.

  1. Supplement if needed

N-acetyl cysteine has been shown to improve the pregnancy rates of women with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and increase pregnancy rates when taken with Clomid during IUIs.  L-arginine, an amino acid, helps to increase cervical mucus by increasing nitric oxide production, which dilates blood vessels and ensures proper circulation to the reproductive organs.  Evening primrose oil, high in omega 6 fatty acids, helps to increase cervical mucus by ensuring adequate fatty acids (cervical mucus is 10% free fatty acids) as well as aiding in hormone balance.

  1. Have fun having sex

Having fun sexy time is not going to improve cervical mucus.  Nonetheless, having fun while you’re working on making a baby is important.  It might even be more important if you’ve been trying to conceive for some time, or if you’re using not-so-sexy methods or technologies to get pregnant.