Disclaimer: This post is not meant to substitute for a class or through book on the sympto-thermal method of fertility awareness, only to present ideas for those who may be struggling. It’s always best to work with a teacher to learn the method fully before using it as a birth control method
When you start getting interested in the natural birth control world and cycle tracking, it becomes pretty obvious that cervical fluid is important.
Cervical fluid is important for telling you when your fertility both begins and ends, it’s important for determining how fertile you are, and it’s important for seeing what’s going on with your hormones.
But it’s also the least likely to be quickly adopted by natural birth control users.
In my own case, I had a year worth of charts on which I barely charted my cervical fluid besides filling in boxes (that I now know where incorrectly classified). Then probably about 1 more year that I was more thorough in my descriptions but still hadn’t quite started understanding my own groove with the cervical fluid.
I started developing my own language for how I described my cervical fluid, I started taking multiple classes with different educators (everyone describes cervical fluid differently and it helped me to understand it better by getting different perspectives), and I stopped putting my cervical fluid into pre-defined boxes.
I started experimenting with different ways to tell different kinds of cervical fluid apart (both for myself and for the people I would be teaching) and I started actually understanding what was going on.
It was a long freaking road. I seriously don’t know if I even would be so competent in understanding cervical fluid if I wasn’t getting certified as a fertility awareness educator because that gave me more motivation to both understand my own cervical fluid and to understand different ways to experience and talk about it for the benefit of other people.
And that’s why I’m so passionate about helping you understand your cervical fluid. I hate to think how hard it is for people, even thought it’s so awesomely useful.
In addition to being so important as a fertility sign because it can both open and close your fertile time, it’s also important for one other reason: It’s 100% completely your own.
You require absolutely no outside input in order to accurately determine when you are fertile.
I don’t know if it’s just the little person inside of me that likes to imagine the worst case scenario, but I can imagine some instances where birth control is taken away from women completely (or very difficult to access). If that happens, you always have your cervical fluid. They can’t take that away from you.
Ok, so let’s get to the meat, how can you make cervical fluid easier to understand?
In order to understand cervical fluid well you have to do 2 things. One is to determine what is and is not cervical fluid. The other is to determine what your cervical fluid means.
Determining what is and what isn’t cervical fluid
When you are starting out you may confuse cervical fluid with things like arousal fluid, semen, and vaginal cell slough.
The number one difference between cervical fluid and these other substances is staying power. Cervical fluid is a freakin’ champ at hanging around. If you are playing with any of the other stuff with your fingers it’s generally thinner and has the ability to dissolve in water.
When you stretch it over and over (if it stretches) the other stuff that isn’t cervical fluid will usually turn into a sticky mess and cervical fluid will just. keep. stretching.
If the cervical fluid is of the more creamy or lotioney variety it doesn’t stretch, but cell slough will more easily lose it’s water content and crumble or just stick when rubbed between your fingers.
Figuring out what “type” of cervical fluid you have
This is where a lot of people get tripped up. This is definitely where I got tripped up.
I think it’s a good idea to throw out the notion that most people have of “sticky, creamy, eggwhite”. For most people their cervical fluid does not easily fit into those boxes and trying to put it into those boxes makes them think something is wrong.
“My cervical fluid isn’t right, I can’t do fertility awareness and P.S. I think I’m dying and infertile.” Does that sound familiar, or am I the only one that over-dramatic?
Really, you only need to know the difference between 2 different types of cervical fluid. Peak and non-peak. The reason I use the words peak and non-peak to differentiate is because it can help you understand your peak day immensely, which is important for figuring out when your fertile time ends (and also the most accurate piece of information in terms of figuring out when you actually ovulated).
The basic way you tell the difference between the two types is water content. Stretch can be a good indicator for some women, but for others (myself included) stretching will happen with almost all of your mucus.
So what happens if it all stretches?
You examine other aspects. These include how “snappy” it is, how much water content it has, How it feels when rubbed between your fingers, and how much it stretches.
One great way to determine water content, that I’ve never seen anyone else talk about, is to notice the residue left on your finger. You can go so far as to pulling the cervical fluid off of your finger and see what’s there (and feel it!). If it’s stickier in feeling (or nothing) it may be non-peak type of cervical fluid, but if it’s watery and/or slick it’s probably peak-type.
Water content, and therefore the way it feels, is one of or the most important aspect of determining your progression through your cervical fluid.
Applying this all takes consideration of your own patterns, and you may need to work with a teacher (or enroll in my cervical fluid masterclass) to understand your cervical fluid fully, but it’s not as complicated as it sounds and does become second nature once you get it. I promise.
I’d like to hear from you. Are you having issues understanding your cervical fluid? If not, was there something that helped you understand it, or did you always get it? Let me know in the comments.