woman with colorful nails break egg to show egg white represents cervical mucus

All You Need To Know About Cervical Mucus (Ovulation Discharge)

Sometimes sticky, sometimes clear, sometimes even…creamy? ICYDK, your cervical mucus changes throughout the entire menstrual cycle. 

But what do the color and texture of your ovulation discharge say about your fertility levels? And how can you use that knowledge to your baby-making advantage? 

Here’s what you need to know about ovulation discharge and how to tell when is the best time to try to get pregnant. 

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended as medical advice.

What Is Ovulation Discharge, and What Does It Do?

Ovulation discharge, also known as vaginal discharge or cervical mucus, refers to a substance produced and released from your cervix into your vagina. 

Here are two main ways cervical mucus is crucial when you’re trying to conceive (TTC)

  • It sieves out abnormally shaped sperm, preventing them from reaching the cervix. This ensures that only healthy, normal sperm can fertilize the egg.
  • It nourishes the sperm to help prepare them for fertilization later on. 
  • It stores sperm for safekeeping in the cervix for up to five days and releases them later. This helps to boost the opportunity window for sperm to meet and fertilize the egg.

A woman’s cervical mucus will change in consistency, volume, and color throughout the menstrual cycle. It’s one way to identify whether you might be fertile or not.  

What Does Ovulation Discharge Look Like & What Are the Different Types? 

different looking ovulation discharge cervical mucus

The cervical mucus you secrete throughout the entire menstrual period can change with each passing day. This is due to the fluctuations in your hormone levels as you progress through your menstrual cycle.

But how do I know if my cervical mucus is fertile? And what does my cervical mucus look like if I’m not pregnant?

different types of cervical mucus to indicate fertility level

Here’s how your ovulation discharge changes with your menstrual cycle

  • During your period: Vaginal discharge is masked by the menstrual blood released when your uterine lining breaks down.
  • After your period or ovulation: Your cervical mucus can be thick, pasty-looking, or sticky. The discharge could also appear white, off-white, or slightly yellow. Sometimes, you might not even have any discharge (aka “dry days”).
  • Before ovulation: Cervical mucus is clear or translucent with a watery but not stretchy texture, similar to that of lubricants. This is when you can start having sex regularly, or more often than usual, to increase your chances of pregnancy.
  • During ovulation: Ovulation discharge takes on a raw egg-white consistency. In fact, this type of discharge can stretch to more than an inch! Egg-white cervical mucus provides the best environment for sperm to swim toward the egg and fertilize it.

Now that you know how your ovulation discharge changes throughout the cycle, you can better identify your fertile window (a short period of 5-6 days) to get the most out of your baby-making efforts.

How To Check for Fertile Ovulation Discharge

woman places hands over pubic region to represent cervical mucus

So, how do I use ovulation discharge to check for my fertile window? 

Do I use my fingers and stick it up you-know-where? Or do I look closely at the consistency of the discharge on my panties? 

There are a few ways for you to check for fertile ovulation discharge

  1. Gently put two clean fingers into your vagina — about half an inch in — and remove them to check the consistency.
  2. Look at the vaginal discharge on your panties, paying attention to the color and texture.
  3. Use toilet paper to wipe your vagina before peeing and check for cervical mucus.

The only caveat to checking for ovulation discharge is right after sex — you don’t want to be confused with semen that’s ejaculated into your vagina! Also, avoid monitoring any changes in your discharge when you’re sexually aroused, as the fluids you secrete could be mistaken for cervical mucus. 

Using and Charting Your Cervical Mucus as a Fertility Gauge

With your ovulation discharge indicating specific stages of your menstrual cycle, charting your cervical mucus is one way to determine your fertile window. You can purposefully check your cervical mucus daily and log your observations on a chart. 

If you’re currently charting your basal body temperature (BBT) for ovulation tracking, remember to jot down your cervical mucus changes on your BBT chart too. Monitor your cycle over a few months to get a more accurate understanding. 

Those who prefer fuss-free alternatives can try period-tracking apps, like Eve, to help you out. These apps encourage you to log information like the consistency of your cervical mucus and other bodily signs like a high sex drive.

Does Early Pregnancy Discharge Look Like Ovulation Discharge? 

type 4 cervical mucus most fertile phase

Did you know that your vaginal discharge can change in consistency and volume when pregnant? This means it could be used as an early sign of pregnancy, albeit not 100% foolproof.

How pregnancy discharge works:

  • Cervical mucus generally thickens and sometimes dries up before you get your period.
  • But, if fertilization of your egg has occurred, your body can continue producing ovulation discharge, usually more than usual
  • Pregnancy discharge tends to be thin and watery, colorless, or milky-white. It may also be odorless or give off a subtle smell.

Implantation bleeding (read: spotting) could also occur in some women, causing brown or pinkish vaginal discharge. You can read more about other early signs of pregnancy here

It can be hard to tell the difference between normal discharge and pregnancy discharge. Using a pregnancy test kit is a more accurate way to know if you’re expecting. 

Check Out twoplus Pregnancy Test Kit

What Causes Changes to Your Ovulation Discharge?

woman uses fingers to show ovulation discharge texture

Hormonal changes are the key contributors to any alterations in your cervical mucus.

A 2017 study explained that rising estrogen levels increase your body’s ovulation discharge production. A surge in estrogen also liquifies the mucus, making it more watery and transparent-looking. Meanwhile, a progesterone spike causes the volume of cervical mucus to shrink while taking on a thicker texture. 

Because eating habits, lifestyle patterns, and certain health conditions influence your hormone levels, these factors indirectly impact your ovulation discharge. Common examples include:

  • Diet 
  • Stress 
  • Medications 
  • Breastfeeding
  • Vaginal infections
  • Birth control
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

What Is Considered Unnatural Ovulation Discharge?

Changes to the consistency, color, and odor of your ovulation discharge are normal with the natural fluctuations of your period cycle.

That said, do make a trip to the doctor if your vaginal discharge: 

  • Smells foul,
  • Have an odd color like bright yellow, green, or gray, and/or
  • Causes itchiness, irritation, swelling, or even a burning sensation 

Work With Your Ovulation Discharge When Trying To Get Pregnant

twoplus Fertility Ovulation Test Kit on red background

As you’ve learned, egg-white discharge usually indicates you’re most fertile. That’s when sperm have the best chances of swimming up the vaginal canal to beat the odds of gravity. Pen in as much sexy time as you can to help increase your likelihood of a successful pregnancy.

Besides monitoring changes in the appearance of your cervical mucus, go one step further to confirm if you’re ovulating by using an ovulation predictor kit. The twoplus Ovulation Test Kit gives you results in less than 10 minutes with free delivery and discreet packaging. 

Try The twoplus Ovulation Test Kit