Cervical mucus is the second, after basal body temperature, most important indicator of fertility, and is key to ensuring the correct interpretation of your cycle. Hormones cause changes in mucus during the course of your cycle (What are the different types of mucus and how can I recognize them?). It's important to check your mucus every day, following these simple rules:
- Start checking the mucus on the first day after menstruation.
- Check your mucus throughout the day (not just in the morning), preferably every time you go to the bathroom, three times a day at a minimum (in the morning, during the day, and in the evening.)
- You may check your mucus in two ways: with your fingers or using toilet paper. If you prefer to check it with your fingers, run a clean index finger along the outer side of the vaginal opening. Next, touch your thumb with the index finger and check the consistency of the mucus (slippery, stretchy, or maybe dry, sticky, or whitish like body lotion?) If you prefer to use toilet paper, just wipe the vaginal opening and observe the mucus collected on the paper. Alternatively, you may observe the mucus left on your underwear.
When observing the mucus, pay attention to the following:
- How does your vagina feel (dry, moist)?
- Are you able to observe any mucus at all? If so, what does it look like?
- What is its color, consistency, how does it feel when you touch it? Can you expand it between your fingers? (What to pay attention to while observing cervical mucus?)
Avoid checking the mucus just before or after intercourse, because arousal and sperm may distort its consistency.
If you notice a small amount of mucus, try to make the observation just after a bowel movement, or use your Kegel muscles to push out more mucus. If, despite all this, you still have difficulty observing the mucus externally, you can learn how to observe it internally.