Let’s Talk Mucus!
Let’s talk mucus, specifically cervical mucus. Historically, “periods” were not openly discussed and whatever many of us learned about the menstrual cycle, or rather the ovulation cycle, came from our peers and Judy Blume books and less from our families and health care providers. It is essential that as girls are entering menarche and starting to have cycles, that they understand what is actually happening to their bodies. Times have definitely changed and women are becoming more familiar with their menstrual cycles; however, there is a definite need for more education and understanding of this monthly event.
When couples are trying to achieve pregnancy, it can be challenging to consider the optimal time for conception to occur. Tracking one’s ovulation cycle is an effective way to optimize conception. It is also a method for determining optimal times to take extra precautions when conception is not desired. The ovulation cycle is reflective of the health and overall vitality of a woman, so when there are irregularities or dysfunctions in the ovulation cycle, it points to issues or imbalances that need to be addressed to improve one’s overall wellness and health.
What is a “Normal” Menstrual Cycle
The ideal length of the menstrual cycle is a total of 24-32 days, menstruation itself is ideally 3-6 days, a cervical mucous phase which is 4-8 days, and a luteal phase lasting ideally 13-15 days. The fertile window is a narrow window during the cervical mucous phase each month. An effective way for a woman to track her cycle is becoming familiar with her cervical mucus phases and patterns. The environment for sperm health is optimal when a woman’s estrogen levels are higher and her cervical mucus is thin and clear, having a raw egg white consistency. Once a woman ovulates and her progesterone levels rise, the cervical mucus becomes thicker and more opaque and therefore less hospitable to sperm. After ovulation occurs, chances of conception can quickly drop to zero, as the fertile window closes. Given that sperm can survive in a hospitable cervical environment (thin and clear mucus), the fertile window can last up 5-6 days before ovulation and 1 day after ovulation. The optimal time to have intercourse is actually 1-2 days before ovulation occurs. This means couples are only fertile for less than 1 week during each monthly cycle. Having this knowledge and becoming familiar cervical mucous patterns allow women and couples to have a better understanding of their health, vitality, fertility as well as optimize their chances of conception.
As Always-Be Well,