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FAQ Cervical Mucus/Fluid Info and How to tell if it's semen or CM

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heyjen Posted: Thu, Oct 20 2005 11:52 AM

When you are charting, you need to be aware of your symptoms. Your cervical fluid or mucus is one of the most important clues to your body's approaching ovulation. Temping is helpful in recognizing when you have Nest, but not when you are about to. Cervical fluid observation is necessary if you are TTA. If you are seriously TTC, you need to know this too. There is about a 5-6 day fertile window a cycle where you need to aim to have Heart. For more information on the fertile window you can read this article Timing Intercourse to Achieve Pregnancy: Current Evidence. Fertile CM acts like a ladder helping sperm migrate through the cervix. From the Pre-seed forum...

After ejaculation, sperm have to be able to swim through the cervix to reach the Fallopian Tube where fertilization of the egg occurs. The sperm that can fertilize the egg begin leaving the ejaculate within 1 min after deposition, and no sperm that get to the Fallopian Tube have ever been proven to do so after 30 min of ejaculation. The "cervical reservoir" of sperm is not an actual pool of fertilizing sperm.
From TCOYF p 57: (my bold)
Cervical fluid is to the woman what seminal fluid is to the man. Since men are always fertile, they produce seminal fluid continually. Women on the other hand are only fertile the few days around ovulation, and therefore only produce the substance necessary for sperm nourishment and mobility during that time. It is fairly intuitive. Sperm require a medium in which to live, move and thrive-otherwise they will die. Once sperm travel from the penis to the vagina, they need an analogus substance to sustain them....In essence, the fertile cervical fluid functions exactly like the seminal fluid. It provides an alkaline medium to protect the sperm from an otherwise acidic vagina. In addition, it provides nourishment for the sperm, acts as a filtering mechanism and functions as a medium in which to move.
So to help you understand your body... Sister Zeus Mucus Observation Sister Zeus has more info on TTA, but this is so helpful...
Mucus is one of the signals your body sends out to let you know ovulation is approaching. You can learn to tell the difference between the different types of mucus your body produces each month and interpret these signals. Mucus production begins a few days before ovulation. At any sign of mucus, especially stretchy, clear or watery mucus be sure to use protection. Ideally, you should be using protection before any fertile mucus appears, since it is present in the vagina before being visible on the outside. The earliest way to detect the status of your mucus is by observing your cervix with a speculum or by reaching inside with two fingers and scooping some of the mucus off the face of the cervix and examining it. Estrogen is the hormone which regulates the condition and consistency of vaginal mucus. At the beginning and the end of the menstrual cycle when estrogen levels are low, there will be very little mucus. What little there is tends to be sticky, clumpy and whitish in color. As the fertile time approaches estrogen levels increase as the body prepares for ovulation. The quantity of mucus increases in relation to the estrogen levels, becoming thinner, somewhat milky. The level of estrogen continues to rise, causing the mucus to get clearer and more watery. When the estrogen level peaks, right before ovulation, the mucus gets slick, slippery and you may be able to stretch an unbroken strand between your fingers. Fertile mucus helps the sperm find its way into the cervix, away from the dangers of the acidic vagina. The drawing to the left is what the sperm and mucus would look like magnified many times. Look for mucus on the toilet paper. Check before urination and after. Touch it, how does it feel? Does it look clear? Is there any stretch? After ovulation the hormone progesterone causes the mucus to change to an infertile type within a day or two. The mucus again diminishes in quantity, becoming thick, sticky and opaque white or yellow from cellular matter and protein content. Often collecting in the opening of the cervix, forming an impenetrable barrier, preventing sperm or anything else from entering the uterus. HELPFUL HINTS Check your mucus at times when you are not ready to make love, during sexual arousal your body will supply extra lubricating juices. You will probably be wet the day after making love and determining the condition of your mucus may be difficult. Also using foam, spermacides or a lubricant inside the vagina will change the texture and consistency of the mucus. As you become more experienced, you can learn to tell the difference between fertile mucus, your body's juices, and semen. The use of antihistamines dries up the cervical mucus, which could be confusing for a woman who is using the mucus method as her warning for approaching ovulation. Any mucus may mean ovulation is approaching, so take precautions, use protection! Women have been known to ovulate twice during one cycle, this usually happens within 24 hours of the first egg. And get pregnant while having their period, however, this may be due to a short cycle that month. Fertile mucus may be present during the time of menstruation and be masked by the menstrual blood, so that she does in fact become pregnant from having unprotected sex during her period. The sperm are there waiting when ovulation occurs days later. It is unlikely that an egg will actually be released during menstruation because the hormones are not present to allow this to happen.
Recognizing Your Fertility Signs~Cervical Fluid
Cervical Fluid Cervical fluid is the more evident sign of impending ovulation. Estrogen is responsible for producing cervical fluid. When your period is over, you will be dry for a few days. The dry days will turn to sticky days. Dry and sticky days are known as "sub-fertile" days- or a time when your fertility is very low. After the dry or sticky days, normal cervical fluid usually changes to watery or creamy- whitish or clear in color and very thin. This is an indicator of rising fertility- or rising estrogen in your system. Some women may only get watery or creamy cervical fluid during their peak fertility. A few women may never notice cervical fluid at all. It is a good sign if you are producing cervical fluid because it is the medium that sperm need to swim up through your cervix and into your uterus. Sperm can survive days longer in good cervical fluid. After the watery/creamy phase, most women will start to produce a new kind of cervical fluid called "Egg White" because it resembles the color and consistency of raw egg whites. This is the most fertile kind of cervical fluid. Egg White cervical fluid is stretchy and clear, or it may have white streaks or even streaks of blood in it. Sperm live the longest in Egg White cervical fluid and the more you have the better! Abruptly after ovulation, or even the day of ovulation, you will become dry again, or back to sticky cervical fluid. You should remain this way until your next period arrives. Many women notice a lot of creamy or watery cervical fluid before their period arrives. This is completely normal. StarSticky/Dry= Not fertile (Intercourse is not likely to increase your chances of pregnancy) StarCreamy/Watery= Fertile (Intercourse will increase the chance of pregnancy) StarEgg White= Very fertile (Intercourse greatly increases the odds of pregnancy)
Fertility UK ~Recognizing the Changes in Cervical Mucus Take a look. There is a chart with sensation at vulva along with the corresponding finger test and appearance.
Sensation Sensation is very important and often the most difficult to learn. Throughout the day the presence or absence of mucus will be recognised by the sensation at the vulva (the vaginal lips), the way the beginning of a period is noticed. The sensation may be a distinct feeling of dryness, of dampness or moistness, stickiness, wetness, slipperiness or lubrication. Appearance Soft white toilet tissue should be used to blot or wipe the vulva. There may be dampness only on the tissue resulting from vaginal moistness. This moistness soaks into the tissue and any cervical mucus will appear raised as a blob on the tissue. The colour should be noted. It may be white, creamy, opaque, or transparent (clear). Mucus is often noticed on underclothing, where it will have dried slightly causing some alteration in its characteristics. Finger Testing A finger-tip can be lightly applied to the mucus on the tissue and then pulled gently away to test its capacity to stretch. It may feel sticky and break easily, or it may feel smoother and slippery like raw egg white and stretch between the thumb and first finger, from a little up to several inches before it breaks. This stretchiness is described as the Spinnbarkeit or Spinn effect, and shows that the mucus is highly fertile. The fertile phase As the oestrogen levels rise, cervical mucus will be felt at the vulva. At first it will give a sensation of moistness or stickiness and will appear in scant amounts - white or creamy-coloured. On finger testing the mucus will hold its shape and break easily. StarThe mucus goes through a transitional phase where increasing amounts of cloudy mucus secretion may be observed. It may be slightly stretchy on finger testing producing a wetter sensation at the vulva. StarAs the oestrogen levels continue to rise with approaching ovulation, the mucus will become more profuse, and there may be up to a tenfold increase in volume. It will give a sensation of lubrication or slipperiness at the vulva. The appearance will be similar to that of raw egg white, thin, watery and transparent. On finger-testing this highly fertile mucus may stretch for several inches before it breaks. StarFertile mucus maintains the life of sperm, nourishes it and allows it to pass freely through the cervix. In fertile mucus, sperm may live for up to three days, in rare circumstances for five days or even longer. Peak day Peak day denotes the LAST day on which this highly fertile-type slippery, transparent, stretchy mucus is either seen or felt.
Fertility UK ~Interpretations
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: StarDry 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. StarIntercourse should be restricted to evenings to allow time for observation of mucus symptom during the day. StarIt is unwise to have intercourse on consecutive evenings to avoid confusion between cervical mucus and seminal fluid. StarSafe on alternate dry evenings Post-ovulatory infertile phase StarIf 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 Billings Method is symptom observation only. It is possible to chart your entire cycle using this method. If you are using the TCOYF program, then change your calculation preference to CF only. The Rules of the Billings Ovulation Method This page has information on pregnancy avoidance and pregnancy achievement. Billings ~Cervical Mucus and Related Vaginal Discharges This section is oriented in the science of how Nest happens.
Oestrogen produced by the ovaries during ovarian activity causes production of mucus by the cervix and it also causes growth and shedding of the epithelial cells lining the vagina, the responses depending on the degree of ovarian activity and on the amounts of oestrogen being produced...... Before ovulation can occur a follicle containing an egg must commence and complete its rapid growth phase and this causes marked changes in the vaginal discharges. The oestrogen output rises from a base line corresponding to minimal or absent follicular activity and increases during the rapid growth phase at a rate of approximately 1.5 times per day over a period of 5-6 days.....Thus any change in the BIP can herald either the beginning of another BIP associated with another phase of infertility or, more usually, the beginning of the rapid growth phase of a follicle associated with the fertile phase of the cycle and impending ovulation...... The LH surge which initiates ovulation of the developed follicle, also causes the second ovarian hormone, progesterone, to be produced by the follicle. This production is small but significant at first and then increases rapidly after ovulation. This progesterone strongly reverses the action of oestrogen on the cervix and vaginal epithelium and causes the discharges to rapidly lose their fertile characteristics. This change due to progesterone (the "progesterone change" or "PC") is readily recognized. It is a very important symptom because it shows definitely that ovulation is occurring and is closely related in time to ovulation
The Billings Ovulation Method Very interesting info if you can look past the charting method. Finally in the Ovusoft Library How to Observe and Identify Your Cervical Fluid [white]

Jen

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O.B. Nurse replied on Sat, Nov 19 2005 10:06 AM
thanks JEN..that was very helpful Smile

BTW: I PM'ed you...
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zzDeleted_52954 replied on Fri, Mar 10 2006 8:46 AM
Thanks for this!

Sandra[f]
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heyjen replied on Thu, Apr 27 2006 11:17 PM
This is a series of illustrations from the Billings Method site.

The Behaviour of the Cervix over the Phases of the Ovarian Cycle

Animation of above info

The Cervix ~ mapped lateral wall[white]

Jen

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Fawn replied on Wed, May 3 2006 2:16 AM
Jen -- I was just wondering if you had any good info on determining CF vs semen. It always says that once you become accustomed to checking CF you'll know the difference but what about when you've forgotten? [bl]

Thanks![f]
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heyjen replied on Wed, May 3 2006 1:52 PM
Glass of Water Test

From the book:
cervical fluid and basic vaginal secretions.

p. 87, point 13.

If you find it hard to differentiate between cervical fluid and basic vaginal secretions, remember that cervical fluid is insoluble. A little trick that can help you initially learn to tell the difference is the glass of water test. Take the sample between two fingers and dip it into a glass of water. If it is true cervical fluid, it will usually form a blob that sinks to the bottom. If it's basic vaginal secretions, it will simply dissolve.
[white]

Jen

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heyjen replied on Wed, May 3 2006 2:44 PM
Semen v. Cervical Fluid

The glass of water test works here too.


Source Make sure not to confuse semen with cervical fluid. They look and feel very similar. Semen will dry up very quickly upon your fingertips and is more rubbery is consistency. It may also tend to be foamy. Semen is little more white in color rather than clear like eggwhite fluid. To help you identify the difference, when urinating eggwhite cervical fluid will often hit the water and form into a ball while it sinks to the bottom .


Source If you find that you have more watery or eggwhite days than you would expect and that these often follow days or nights that you had intercourse, then you may be mistaking seminal and cervical fluid. They are quite similar but you will find that fertile cervical fluid (eggwhite) is clear and stretchy and shiny. It will stretch a couple of inches without breaking. Semen may be more whitish and will break when pulled.


Source Be aware that semen can mask true cervical fluid. Semen at a glance looks a lot like the egg-white type fluid - it's fairly clear and it stretches. However semen will "break" easier that cervical fluid, and semen will evaporate much quicker than cervical fluid. Be sure to mark on your chart when you have intercourse, to help in determining the type of cervical fluid you find.


Mark your chart Semen Obscured. It will show a [?] [white]

Jen

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DarcyJ replied on Wed, Jul 26 2006 6:18 PM
Awesome info. Thanks!
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sci_girl replied on Thu, Jul 27 2006 8:46 PM
Okay, but what about CM and juices? I never notice EWCM in my cycle. This last time, I thought I'd finally gotten it (I was taking Mucinex that cycle, so it seemed plausibe), but then recalled that hubby and I had had some pretty good kissed right before I went to the bathroom, and suspected it might be arousal fluid. But it was clear, and it did stretch an inch or more. I'm still confused about whether I got it or not, esp. since it was right around the time it should appear.
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heyjen replied on Sun, Aug 27 2006 10:26 PM
It may have been. Are you aware of your vaginal sensation throughout the day? EW days for me are pretty slippery feeling and humid.

You should always mark your most fertile for the day. If you aren't noticing it externally, you can check internally. Two fingers to sweep, not just one. Don't look at it yet, feel it. If it dries pretty quickly it's probably just vaginal moisture, for instance.

Have you got a copy of TCOYF? I've got the revised edition. Observing Cervical Fluid begins on p 85.

5. Be sure to check when you are not sexually aroused, since sexual lubrication can mask cervical fluid.


8. Glance away before looking at the cervical fluid. Focus on the quality as you rub your fingers together. Does it feel dry? Sticky? Creamy? Slippery or lubricative (like eggwhite)?


You can do the water test, like above.

13. If you find it hard to differentiate between cervical fluid and basic vaginal secretions, remember that cervical fluid is insoluble....If it is true cervical fluid, it will usually form a blob that sinks to the bottom. If it's basic vaginal secretions, it will simply dissolve.


I also recommend reading about cervical fluid starting around p 57.

Jen

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jadesemi215 replied on Tue, Oct 3 2006 3:36 PM
Wow, thank you for the information, I greatly appreciate it.[f]
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onlybyhisgrace replied on Mon, Apr 16 2007 1:47 PM
Bump for you Amber[f]
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3scompany replied on Mon, Apr 30 2007 9:59 AM
This is great info!
Question: If you have a lot of creamy CM after Time (as well as a fair amount of it before), does that indicate insufficient progesterone levels?
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cindyw41 replied on Mon, May 21 2007 12:40 PM
bump
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CanadianMaple replied on Fri, Jul 20 2007 10:01 PM
I was just wondering about this tonight, it's been well over 24 hrs since we BD. We've always used condoms or WD before now. It seems early for EWCM but it passed the water test. [tu]

How long does the semen stay in your vagina after BD?
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wannaadd#2 replied on Mon, Jul 30 2007 1:59 PM
Thanks, Jen! You are a great moderator!
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tyl replied on Tue, Jul 31 2007 8:24 PM
Great Post.
When I check my CM during the day at work, I don't have the ability to do the water test to tell if it's regular vag fluid or CM. Any other ideas? I'm completely confused. IndifferentPlease feel free to go into as much detail as possible!! Big Smile

Also, if you have a chance, could you explain how your vag sensation can be cold? Am I not understanding it or is it possible I just don't have that symptom.

Thanks so much!
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kfuller replied on Mon, Sep 17 2007 8:51 AM
Thanks for finding this and the bump- this was really helpful info.[f]
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lilredpumpkin replied on Tue, Oct 23 2007 11:31 PM
Bump
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gerelee replied on Wed, Dec 5 2007 8:07 PM
I had an interesting experience at work today. Being on the toilet in a well-lit bathroom made it very easy to see a big blog of clear mucus sink to the bottom of the bowl.

What made it interesting was how fast the blob flew out of me.

I sat on the toilet for a minute or two, doing my business, and then proceed to wipe, then check my CM, and before I could get a good sample, a blob of mucus quickly slid out of me!

Slippery bugger, isn't it?!

Sorry, I'm just pretty excited. It's my first slippery EWCM since being off the pill!
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