Fertility Focus: All About Cervical Fluid
This guest post is written by Andrea Grace, Community Manager at kegg. Created to empower you with knowledge about your body, the kegg Fertility Tracker and Kegel Ball senses cervical fluid to help you detect your peak fertility and plan ahead with confidence.
The term “mucus” might elicit an unpleasant thought for many, but the role of cervical mucus is actually vital when it comes to getting pregnant. In fact, without cervical mucus, conception would be nearly impossible. Cervical fluid can nourish and keep sperm alive for up to five days. While the egg is only viable for about 24 hours after ovulation, the cervical fluid that precedes ovulation can keep the swimmers alive and well as they await ovulation.
What is cervical fluid?
Cervical fluid, also known as cervical mucus, is a hydrogel produced by the cervix, composed mostly of water. More specifically, cervical mucus is made up of mucus molecules, protein chains, minerals, and of course, water.
How does it change throughout your cycle?
As the body approaches ovulation, and estrogen rises, the glands of the cervix secrete more abundant and changing compositions of cervical fluid. Before the fertile window, the cervical fluid may be more sticky or creamy in consistency. Then, during the fertile window, it becomes more liquidy and increasingly stretchy, egg-white-like, or wet. After ovulation, progesterone will begin to rise causing the cervical fluid to thicken, which serves as a barrier of protection at the cervix to help prevent foreign substances from entering the uterus.
These normal changes in cervical fluid can provide unique insights into your fertility. In addition, recognizing the normal course of your cycle can help you identify if there is something atypical that may indicate an underlying infection and/or reason to speak to your doctor.
How does cervical fluid assist sperm in meeting the egg?
- Typically the vagina maintains an acidic environment of a pH around 4.5, which helps prevent infection. However, delicate sperm require a pH between 7.2-8.4 to survive, and therefore during the fertile window, the cervical fluid shifts the pH of the vagina to match the sperm’s needs, becoming more basic during this timeframe.
- The unique composition of the cervical fluid provides sperm with the nutrients required to sustain them for up to five days as they await ovulation.
- The abundance of cervical fluid and high water content physically assists the sperm in traveling on the journey to meet the egg.
- In addition to helping the sperm travel, cervical fluid also assists in filtering out atypical sperm by creating channels that serve to limit the movement of abnormal sperm, such as those with two heads.
When is peak fertility?
There are about five days during a typical cycle during which time intercourse or insemination may result in pregnancy. However, the likelihood of conception varies slightly throughout this five-day window. Contrary to popular belief, there is a higher chance of getting pregnant from sperm present in the reproductive tract two to three days before ovulation, rather than ovulation day itself! Typically LH, or luteinizing hormone, surges 12-24 hours before ovulation. If you wait for the LH surge, you will likely miss the majority of this valuable fertile window time.
How can kegg help you track your cycle?
kegg is a fertility tracker that detects changes in cervical fluid to help you properly identify the fertile window to optimally time your TTC efforts in only two minutes a day. Since the cervical fluid composition changes with the hormonal fluctuations of the cycle, you'll see your full fertile window in real-time to confidently time intercourse or insemination to maximize chances of conception. While learning to track your cervical fluid typically takes six months, kegg users can begin to confidently track their cycles from day one.
Cervical fluid provides unique insights into your cycle, allowing you to recognize when to best time your conception efforts. In addition, cervical fluid plays a vital role in assisting sperm and making conception possible. With kegg, you can confidently identify your full fertile window, making this part of the trying to conceive journey just a bit easier.