How Charting Cervical Mucus Can Help You Get Pregnant Faster

Is your cervical mucus watery or dry? Clear and stretchy? Believe it or not, paying attention to your normal vaginal discharge can help you get pregnant.

You may have heard of the Billings Ovulation Method. It is a natural family planning method that relies heavily on understanding cervical mucus changes. Women use it both to conceive and to avoid conception. However, you don’t need to be using this method to gain benefits from tracking cervical mucus changes.

Many women who track their body basal temperature also pay attention to cervical mucus changes. Tracking these changes on ​your fertility calendar can provide extra information on when you might be ovulating. This can help you time sex for pregnancy.

Fertility and ovulation apps will often have an area to log your cervical mucus. But how do you know what you’re looking at? What do the abbreviations mean?

Your Fertility Chart: Menstruation

During your period, you can mark your cervical mucus on your chart with a B (for bleeding) or M. Depending on the fertility charting software you’re using, the section where you mark menstruation and spotting may be separate from the cervical mucus indicators.

If you’re spotting, that information is also important to mark on your chart. Spotting between periods can be normal, but sometimes it indicates a fertility problem. You should let your doctor know if you’re experiencing spotting at random times in your cycle. Spotting lightly on the day of your period can be normal, as can spotting that comes the last day of your period. Some women also spot lightly around the time of ovulation.

Generally speaking, you’re not fertile during your period, when you're actively bleeding. But don't assume you can't conceive if you have sex on your period. You can get pregnant if you ovulate early and have sexual intercourse towards the end of your cycle. If you’re trying to get pregnant, don't worry about having sex during this time (unless you want to). 

How to Track Dry Cervical Mucus

You may mark a simple X or D, for dry, on the days you do not notice much cervical mucus. The word "dry" is a bit of an exaggeration. Unless you’re experiencing low hormonal levels (which can lead to severe vaginal dryness), dry doesn’t mean “dry” as much as it means “not that damp.” You’re not very fertile during this time.

Sexual intercourse can be uncomfortable when your cervical discharge is dry. Even though sex during this period is not likely to lead to pregnancy, some women experience vaginal dryness even when they are about to ovulate. Possible reasons for abnormal vaginal dryness include hormonal imbalances, age, side effects of some medications, and previous surgery on the cervix.

If you don't ever seem to get fertile cervical mucus—vaginal discharge that produces a noticeable wet feeling around the time of ovulation, at about mid-cycle—you should speak to your doctor.

If you experience vaginal dryness when you should have natural lubrication, it's important you use fertility friendly sperm lubricants if you're trying to conceive. This will help make sex more comfortable, and may help keep sperm healthy and alive long enough to travel up into the cervix. Regular personal lubricants can harm sperm and may throw off the pH of your vagina.

How to Track Sticky Cervical Mucus

Use an S (for sticky) or SCM (for sticky cervical mucus) on the days you notice sticky cervical mucus. Sticky cervical mucus is a bit like children’s craft paste but less chunky. It’s not dry, but it’s not smooth and creamy either.

If you have sticky cervical mucus on your fingers and try to stretch some between your forefinger and thumb, it will break quickly. It is not considered fertile cervical mucus.

How to Track Creamy Cervical Mucus

Use a C (for creamy) or CCM (for creamy cervical mucus) on the days you notice creamy cervical mucus. This cervical mucus may appear white and 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. It may precede your fertile period. Ovulation is likely coming soon.

If you are trying to avoid pregnancy, do not have sex at this time without additional protection. If you do want to get pregnant, you should have sexual intercourse when you see creamy cervical mucus.

How to Track Watery Cervical Mucus

Use W (for watery) or WCM (for watery cervical mucus) to indicate when your cervical mucus has a watery consistency. This kind of cervical mucus stretches further than creamy cervical mucus, and it appears clearer. You may also notice more of it than during the creamy stage.

Watery cervical mucus is more likely to be felt on your underwear. You are also more likely to notice the difference in feeling in your vulva. You won’t necessarily need to check with your fingers.

The wet feeling you get when you have watery cervical mucus is part of why women feel more sexually turned on at this time of the month. (Nature wants you to get pregnant, and knows how to get you there!) While not the “ideal” fertile cervical mucus, watery cervical mucus is fertile. If you want to get pregnant, be sure to have sex now!

How to Track Egg-White Cervical Mucus

Use E, EW (for egg white) or EWCM (for egg white cervical mucus) to indicate when your cervical mucus is the consistency of raw egg whites. This is the most fertile cervical mucus. It is abundant and will stretch a couple inches between your fingers. It’s clear, stretchy, and mucus-like. It really does look a lot like raw egg white.

When you see this kind of cervical mucus, you need to be having sex now if you want to conceive. Ovulation is right around the corner.

When Your Cervical Mucus Sends Confusing Signals

Cervical mucus changes are not an ideal ovulation detection method for everyone. For example, some women experience vaginal dryness for a variety of reasons. They may never see more than creamy cervical mucus. This may lead them to think they aren’t fertile when they are. However, it is possible to ovulate and not ever see egg-white cervical mucus.

On the other hand, some women experience multiple patches of egg-white cervical mucus throughout the month. In this case, ovulation isn't necessarily going to happen soon. This is especially common in women with PCOS.

A Word From Verywell

Tracking cervical mucus changes can give you a better idea of when you're ovulating and when you're most fertile. After you learn the basics of checking and understanding your vaginal discharge, this may be the easiest and certainly least expensive method of ovulation detection.

That said, checking for cervical mucus is not for everyone. If trying to time sex for pregnancy is too stressful, don’t do it. Instead, have sexual intercourse three to four times a week. You’ll have sex on at least one of your fertile days. 

If you’re concerned about your cervical discharge—whether you're worried it's too little, too much, or just seems unusual—be sure to talk to your doctor. Talking about vaginal discharge can be embarrassing, but your doctor is not embarrassed by the topic. They want you to tell them your concerns, so they can help.

5 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Crawford NM, Pritchard DA, Herring AH, Steiner AZ. Prospective evaluation of the impact of intermenstrual bleeding on natural fertilityFertil Steril. 2016;105(5):1294-1300. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2016.01.015

  3. Weschler T. Taking Charge of Your Fertility (Revised Edition). HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2002.

  4. Goncharenko V, Bubnov R, Polivka J Jr, et al. Vaginal dryness: individualised patient profiles, risks and mitigating measuresEPMA J. 2019;10(1):73-79. Published 2019 Mar 2. doi:10.1007/s13167-019-00164-3

  5. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Fertility awareness-based methods of family planning.

By Rachel Gurevich, RN
Rachel Gurevich is a fertility advocate, author, and recipient of The Hope Award for Achievement, from Resolve: The National Infertility Association. She is a professional member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and has been writing about women’s health since 2001. Rachel uses her own experiences with infertility to write compassionate, practical, and supportive articles.