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How can cervical fluid problems affect conception?

Fertile cervical fluid is important for conception, as it helps facilitate sperm cells’ journey through the vagina and the fallopian tube, where they will hopefully fertilize your waiting egg.

Cervical fluid problems that may affect conception

Women who do not produce fertile cervical fluid may have more difficulty conceiving quickly.

What does “fertile” cervical fluid mean?

Cervical fluid is the mucus that your cervix releases in order to help sperm reach your egg when you are fertile. Cervical fluid undergoes many changes in consistency throughout the menstrual cycle – generally, it will be dry or thick and clumpy during menstruation and immediately following it, before transitioning to more thin, clear, and stretchy as you approach the fertile window and ovulation. “Fertile” cervical fluid describes this thin, clear, and stretchy cervical fluid, which is often compared to egg whites (often abbreviated EWCM, for egg white cervical mucus). Women who do not produce or have low fertile cervical fluid could have more trouble conceiving than those who do not.

What are some causes of cervical fluid problems?

In order for sperm to best swim to your egg, cervical fluid must be of optimal, consistency, acidity, and quantity. Cervical fluid that is not ideal for conception is termed “hostile”, and assuming you are ovulating, there are many possible causes of hostile fluid, including:

  • Weight: Rising estrogen levels throughout the menstrual cycle are responsible for helping you to produce fertile cervical fluid near ovulation, but as a sufficient level of body fat is needed to produce enough estrogen, women who are too light (under 18% body fat) may not produce fertile cervical fluid. Women who are too overweight may also experience problems with cervical fluid, as they may produce too much estrogen.
    That being said, even women who are in a healthy weight range may have low estrogen levels, and therefore be unable to produce fertile cervical fluid, so you may want to speak with your healthcare provider if you believe this might apply to you.
  • Water: Cervical fluid is about 90% water, so it’s very important that you stay well-hydrated in order to help your body produce the most fertile cervical fluid possible. Women who do not drink enough water may not produce enough cervical fluid, or may notice cervical fluid that is too thick for sperm to most efficiently travel through.
  • Age: A woman’s ability to conceive declines as she ages, and cervical fluid is no small reason. Changes in both the quantity and consistency of cervical fluid produced as you age can make for a less hospitable environment for sperm than you might have noticed when you were younger.
  • Medications: Certain medications, most notably the fertility drug Clomid, can have a negative effect on cervical fluid, making it hostile, or preventing you from producing enough to aid conception, however, the benefits of Clomid oftentimes outweigh the side effects. Some antihistamines and decongestants, including over-the-counter ones, can also inhibit your body’s production of fertile cervical fluid, as they can dry out mucous membranes, so you may want to talk to your healthcare provider about whether your medication is okay to take while you are trying to conceive.

How can I improve my cervical fluid quality?

Because there are different causes of hostile cervical fluid, the solution for some may be different than for others. Women who are too underweight or too overweight can try to make changes to their diet or lifestyle that allow them to gain or lose weight, which could help them produce more fertile cervical fluid.

Research also shows that good old Robitussin, or more specifically its ingredient guaifenesin, can help you produce more, and higher quality cervical fluid. Taking 200 mg three times a day may allow you to better your odds of conceiving.

You can also look into sperm-friendly lubricants, like Pre-Seed, which purports to mimic fertile cervical fluid, and boost your chances of conceiving. Other products that claim to boost cervical fluid quality include FertileCM, a dietary supplement. However, you always should speak to your healthcare provider before starting a regimen of a new medication, even if it is over-the-counter.

  • “Cervical Mucus and Your Fertility” American Pregnancy Association. American Pregnancy Association. web. June 12, 2018. http://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/cervical-mucus/

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