Is Discharge a Sign of Ovulation? Here's How To Read It Properly

Ad failed to load

Whether you are trying hard to get pregnant or trying hard not to get pregnant, one of the most important factors is to determine when you are ovulating. To do this at home you can buy expensive kits that will help you test to see if you are, download an app to help you track your ovulating cycle, or do it the old fashioned way of monitoring your cervical mucous. But is this just an old-wives tale, or is vaginal discharge a sign of ovulation?

If you start to monitor the fluid coming out of your vagina, you will notice that it changes throughout your menstrual cycle. The key to understanding the meaning of the discharge is not just its presence, but its characteristics, and there happen to be distinct changes to cervical mucous that indicate you are ovulating, states Mayo Clinic. Ovulation mucous will be more watery and resemble egg whites.

To be successful in this method, you have to be comfortable touching your private parts and you can't be skeeved by your bodily fluids. This is not for the squeamish, and you need to really familiarize yourself with what comes out of your body to have the best reading. Map at least three cycles before having a good idea of when the discharge indicates ovulation, suggests All About Vaginal Discharges. Many women don't have perfect 28-day cycles so it's good to take a few months to figure out how many days is usual for you. A menstrual cycle calendar or diary can be used to keep track of the daily findings. You might find the mucous on your underwear or you might find it when you wipe after you go to the bathroom. You may even need to bear down, as if you are having a bowel movement, for optimal mucous retrieval. Once you have the mucous, if you pinch or rub it between your fingers, you can get a better idea of whether or not you're ovulating.

Ad failed to load

While you're on your period, and immediately after, your body won't expel mucous, explains Estronaut. In between period cycles though, your body will discharge a range of range of cervical mucous consistencies. Here is what they mean:

Approaching ovulation: The mucous is moist and sticky. If you stretch it between your fingers, it breaks in less than a centimeter. As you approach ovulation, the mucous becomes cloudier, stretchier and greater in volume. This change is due to your estrogen levels beginning to surge.

During ovulation: The egg-white phase, as Estronaut describes. It is "the thinnest, clearest and most abundant." You can rub it between your fingers and stretch it pretty far. This is the magic time to either get down to business or to take some very serious precautions to prevent pregnancy. The cervical mucous thins to give sperm the optimal environment to live and to be able to swim up to the egg, Alexandra Sowa, M.D. told Parents. American Pregnancy said that the change also creates the perfect pH level and texture for sperm survival.

Ad failed to load

After ovulation: Mucous returns to its thicker consistency and eventually the mucous disappears and your period appears.

Just a heads up, semen looks just like cervical mucous. So if you are having unprotected sex, it's possible you could potentially misread the mucous for semen. In addition, medications, vaginal infections and certain types of birth control can also alter the consistency of your mucous.

According to Ovulation Calculator, if you are trying to get pregnant, the best time to have sex is the two days before you think you are ovulating. Sperm can live up to five days in the woman's body and eggs live for about 24 hours after they have been released from the ovaries. If you are avoiding pregnancy, tracking your mucous and cycle can be useful, but it's not foolproof and is probably best backed up with other methods of contraception.

Ad failed to load

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

15 Baby Names With Unique Nicknames, So Your Family Has Options

I love a good diminutive name, also known as a nickname. I believe I’m partial to them because of my own name, Abigale, but I go by Abi. And since they’re both uniquely spelled, everyone thinks my name is pronounced Ah-bee for some reason — but even …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills