Sex isn't the only thing you'll track when trying to conceive — you're also looking at your ovulation date, which means taking a gander down at your cervical mucus. (I know.) It's all about having the right "type" of cervical mucus, which means sometimes you need to know what your cervical mucus look like before your period. Using it as a way to decipher what your body is up to is important, but it can be especially helpful when figuring out if doing the deed worked this month.
The Mayo Clinic noted that the role cervical mucus plays when trying to get pregnant is fundamental. "Before ovulation, cervical secretions change — creating an environment that helps sperm travel through the cervix, uterus and fallopian tubes to the egg." So once you've found fertile cervical mucus and have sex, you may keep tracking changes to your mucus. But can the texture of your cervical mucus tell you if your period is on its way or if you're pregnant?
Some women produce clear, watery discharge right before they start their periods, while others have no secretions whatsoever. Dr. Adrienne Zertuche, an OB-GYN at a division of Atlanta Women’s Healthcare Specialists, tells Romper that right before your period and “after ovulation, most women return to having no cervical secretions for the remainder of their cycle.” But if you do have discharge before your expected period, clear, watery discharge may almost look like ovulation cervical mucus. (Although typically most women are no longer ovulating at that point.)
As far as early pregnancy discharge, Kameelah Phillips, an OB-GYN and founder of OBaby, tells Romper that what early pregnancy discharge looks like depends on the woman. “For many women, it increases in volume and is white and creamy,” she says in an email interview. “A discharge should not itch or have a foul odor, and it is generally not the clear, sticky discharge associated with ovulation."
So basically, there is no actual answer. Your cervical mucus right before your expected period could look white and creamy, or it could look watery and thin. It's not a great way to figure out if you're pregnant, but you can keep an eye on it and see if a pattern emerges. Especially if you hope to continue checking your cervical mucus while trying to get pregnant. Checking your cervical mucus can also go hand-in-hand with strategies like monitoring your menstrual cycle and your basal body temperature, according to Zertuche. But she does note that it shouldn't be used as a sole form of birth control, telling Romper that "more than 20 percent of typical users fail in execution and end up with an unintended pregnancy. You should sit down with your gynecologist to hear about the full range of contraceptive options before deciding to use fertility awareness-based methods."
Every woman is different when it comes to her “secretions.” Just because you’re dry down there right before you’re scheduled to have your period doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of the running for conceiving this month. Likewise, if you’re producing a ton of creamy mucus right before your period, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re pregnant. Try not to stress too much, and happy tracking.
Dr. Adrienne Zertuche, OB-GYN at a division of Atlanta Women’s Healthcare Specialists
Kameelah Phillips, OB-GYN and founder of OBaby
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