Throughout your menstrual cycle, your cervical mucus will change in its amount, appearance, and consistency. Tracking these changes can help you time sex for pregnancy, and may help you pinpoint ovulation. This is also known as the Billings Ovulation Method for tracking ovulation, used by couples to either get pregnant or avoid pregnancy.
(Note: this article focuses on those who want to get pregnant with this method.)
Ideally, you should track cervical mucus changes along with changes in your body basal temperature, though some women just track cervical mucus changes. While fertile cervical mucus can be a sign of ovulation and help you time sex for pregnancy, seeing fertile cervical mucus does not guarantee that you have or will ovulate. A rise in your body basal temperature will let you know for sure whether or not ovulation occurred, which is why tracking both is recommended.
You can track your cervical mucus changes along with your body basal temperature on a BBT chart, either by hand or with a computer program. Or, you may just note on a regular calendar your cervical mucus changes.
In either case, using easy-to-remember abbreviations will help.
B or M - B (for bleeding) or M (for menstruation) may be used to indicate the days you are menstruating.
X or D for dry - You may mark a simple X or D, for dry, for the days you do not notice much cervical mucus.
S or SCM - S (for sticky) or SCM (for sticky cervical mucus) can indicate the days you notice sticky cervical mucus. This cervical mucus will break quickly when stretched between your forefinger and thumb, and is not considered fertile cervical mucus.
C or CCM - C (for creamy) or CCM (for creamy cervical mucus) can be used on the days you notice creamy cervical mucus. This cervical mucus may appear white, creamy, and stretch just slightly more than sticky cervical mucus. It looks a lot like lotion. It’s not considered fertile cervical mucus, though some women may only get creamy cervical mucus before ovulation.
W or WCM - W (for watery) or WCM (for watery cervical mucus) may be used to indicate when your cervical mucus has a watery consistency. This kind of cervical mucus will stretch further than creamy cervical mucus, and appear clearer. You may also notice more of it than during the creamy stage. While not the “ideal” fertile cervical mucus, watery cervical mucus is fertile, and when you notice it, it’s a good time to have sex for pregnancy.
E or EW or EWCM – E or EW (for egg white) or EWCM (for egg white cervical mucus) may be used to indicate the most fertile of cervical mucus. This kind of cervical mucus will stretch a couple inches between your fingers, is clear, stretchy, and mucus-like. It resembles the consistency of raw egg whites.
When you see this kind of cervical mucus, ovulation is right around the corner. This is the ideal time to have sex if you want to get pregnant.
More on how to get pregnant:
- All About Cervical Mucus
- Signs of Ovulation
- How to Get Pregnant: For Beginners
- How to Have a Baby When You've Been Trying for Awhile
- How to Get Pregnant Faster
- A Complete Guide to Baby Making Sex
- How to Cope When Trying to Conceive Overwhelms You
- Take a Fertility Quiz
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Weschler, T. (2002). Taking Charge of Your Fertility (Revised Edition) . United States of America: HarperCollins Publishers Inc.