Trying to conceive can suddenly make everything feel more like a science lab rather than the often typical, sweaty thing that happens between two people. With all of the ovulation tracking, questions, and data mapping, it can all get confusing, so it's crucial to be able to suss out what's important — you know, like the whole egg meeting the sperm shenanigans — and what's not. Like, what's all this talk about cervical mucus? Wondering, "Can I improve my cervical mucus to get pregnant?" It's a pretty big deal for trying to conceive, so it makes sense that you want your cervical mucus to be as beneficial to the process as possible.
First of all, why is cervical mucus so important? According to the American Pregnancy Association, cervical mucus plays a key role in the trying to conceive process by nourishing and protecting sperm as it makes the long journey to meet your eggs. The amount and quality of cervical mucus will vary throughout your menstrual cycle, making certain days better options for getting pregnant than others.
So, basically, you want to have this stuff around when you are trying to make a baby. The good news is, Dr. Vasiliki Moragianni, OB-GYN and reproductive endocrinologist with Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine in Northern Virginia, tells Romper in an email interview that there are a few steps women can take to increase cervical mucus in order to get pregnant.
“[A woman should] increase hydration by drinking more water and eating more vegetables,” she says. “And avoid antihistamines or decongestants, as these medications are designed to dry out your mucus membranes.”
Moragianni also recommends using a water-based, non-spermicidal containing lubricant for intercourse (if you are using a lubricant) and to check with your healthcare provider before using any supplements that claim to help increase cervical mucus. Some of the supplements that have been associated with increased cervical mucus are evening primrose oil, borage seed oil, L-arginine, as well as the shatavari, dandelion, licorice, and marshmallow roots, Moragianni says.
“The evidence on most herbs and supplements is not based on large, well-designed studies,” she says. “Therefore, you should always check with your healthcare provider before using any of them, especially if you are trying to conceive or you are pregnant.”
In terms of food, Monique Prince, a New Hampshire-based Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) clinician, tells Romper via email that nourishing the body with nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, wild rice, sprouted grain bread, and other nutrient-dense foods can help things running smoothly in the body. Avoid snacks and foods made from grain products, processed sugars, farm-raised fish, soy, and other foods that might cause inflammation and hinder the production of cervical mucus.
All in all, remember that, on average, your body knows what to do in order to make a baby. Tracking your ovulation, perfunctory sex, and fertility apps are not musts and can sometimes make the trying to conceive process more stressful. In fact, I've heard giving yourself a break can make it all a bit easier, so hop to it.