Cervical mucus (CM) is a major part of trying to conceive (TTC). It helps you chart your fertility during your cycle, and it helps those little swimmers get to where they need to go to fertilize those eggs. The texture and amount of your CM determines how fertile you are and when you are potentially ovulating. As a woman who has been TTC for some time now, I want to do everything possible to make sure my CM is as close to perfect as it can be for conceiving, but can you make your cervical mucus more fertile? I don't want anything to get in the way of my husband's swimmers getting to where they need to go, even if that means eating or drinking weird concoctions.
I have heard a lot of these different tips and tricks from the good ol’ internet and in the TTC groups I’m in on Facebook. Over-the-counter medications like Robitussin and Mucinex get thrown around quite a bit, as well as green tea, pomegranate juice, and even garlic. To bust the myths, I spoke with a holistic women’s health and fertility specialist to see what she has to say about these recommendations, and whether there was any truth to them. I’m willing to drink all the green tea and pomegranate juice and scarf down all the garlic if it will help me get that BFP on a pregnancy test, and I know I'm not the only one. But what really works? What, if anything, makes your cervical mucus more fertile?
This, to me, is the easiest one to try. Women’s health acupuncturist and infertility specialist Kristen Burris, L.Ac tells Romper, “While the average human body is made up of nearly 60 percent water, CM tops out at around 90 percent water. Being dehydrated affects the ability for all secretions to be moist and abundant, including cervical fluid. The more thin, slippery, and plentiful your cervical mucus is, the easier it is for sperm to travel and fertilize your egg during ovulation."
Better grab that Nalgene bottle next time you’re at Target, because Burris suggests, on average, you should aim for drinking 60 to 72 ounces of water daily.
Really, any over-the-counter medication that thins mucus when you have a cough is good for your CM, according to Burris. “It’s not so much the brand name, as the active ingredient you want to look for called guaifenesin, which thins the mucus,” Burris says. “Do not take other combinations that often include antihistamines — these can dry cervical fluid.” So no allergy medicines with the letter “D” while you’re TTC, ladies. That includes brands like Claritin-D and Zyrtec–D. You should also make sure the Mucinex you purchase has guaifenesin as the only ingredient and drink a ton of water. Take it only during your fertile window and one day after you ovulate, Burris says.
Burris does have some words of warning, however, if you go this route. “Do not take this OTC medication if you have a history of liver disease, allergies, or other known contraindications to guaifenesin, and follow the maximum directions and do not take this medication all month long,” she says.
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil (EPO) regulates hormones, increases uterine health, and produces more abundant mucus, according to Burris. The omega 6 fatty acids, along with gamma linolenic acid and linolenic acid turn into prostaglandins that help reduce inflammation in your body, which is a big factor for women when TTC, she notes. “EPO also creates a healthy ‘slippery’ environment that helps the sperm travel up the cervix, through the fallopian tubes, and into the uterus,” Burris adds. She suggests taking 1,200 milligrams of high-quality EPO daily, and you can increase that amount up to 3 grams if you don’t notice a change in your CM.
While there are no known direct correlations to creating more fertile cervical mucus, green tea has been shown to increase fertility overall in both women and men’s sperm production, according to studies. Burris says this is because green tea contains “epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), hypoxanthine, polyphenols, including flavonoids, and catechins, which act as potent antioxidants that reduce damage to cells in the body, increasing the maturity of the eggs. Thereby, it increases conception and viable embryos."
Burris also notes that green tea contains a lot of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, including zinc, manganese, and l-theanine, which reduce "stress hormones and fat in the body, which is known to negatively impact fertility."
So how often and how much should you drink? “More is not better here,” Burris says. “Stick to one cup of green tea a day, and the fresher and higher-end the tea, the better. Only brew green tea for one minute in hot, not boiling, water. The tea should look nice and green. If it’s not, you know the quality is poor.”
Yep, that's right. Garlic. “Garlic is power packed with vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, folate, vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, and zinc, and has natural antibiotic, antifungal and anti-parasite benefits,” Burris says. Phew.
And when it comes to making good CM, “It is also a natural mucus thinner and expectorant, so it’s conceivable that garlic has the natural function of thinning cervical mucus for easier transportation of sperm needing to get to the egg for conception. It also contains antioxidant properties from the allicin that could positively impact egg and sperm health,” Burris explains. So if you’re not down with taking OTC allergy meds to thin your mucus, at least garlic can potentially be used for a more natural option.
Dark, Leafy Greens & Whole Foods
Everyone knows a diet full of rich, nutrient-packed whole foods and dark, leafy greens is an incredibly healthy diet. As far as creating fertile CM, Burris says, “Whole foods and particularly dark, leafy greens make your body more alkaline and contain a high level of antioxidants that combat free radicals that age your body, including egg quality, more rapidly.” Burris also notes that sperm live longer in an alkaline environment, therefore dark, leafy greens and whole foods make your CM more hospitable for your partner’s sperm, and more likely to fertilize your egg. So grab that chard, kale, and spinach and go to town, girl.
Obviously, you don't have to try any of these to get pregnant — ask the people who got pregnant accidentally. If you notice you're not getting that egg-white CM once a month — or any CM at all — you may want to try some of these tips and tricks to help get your CM healthier and more fertile, or even see your gynecologist. So bottoms up, and happy babymaking to you and yours.