Cervical fluid is one of your body’s major indicators of ovulation and the fertile window, and helps sperm more efficiently travel to meet your egg. However, some women might notice that their cervical fluid is not as “fertile” as it should be, which can affect the chances of conception.
What is “fertile” cervical fluid?
Cervical fluid undergoes changes throughout the menstrual cycle – during and shortly after menstruation, it’s usually thicker and white, before becoming more thin, clear, and stretchy as you approach ovulation. This thin, clear, and stretchy state is frequently described as “fertile” cervical fluid, because it’s the most optimal condition for sperm to make the journey to your egg – it’s the easiest for them to “swim” through.
How can cervical fluid problems affect conception?
Women who either don’t produce enough cervical fluid, or don’t produce fertile cervical fluid may have a more difficult time getting pregnant because it makes for a less hospitable environment for sperm. The vagina needs to be at the correct level of acidity (pH level) in order for sperm to best travel through it and the cervix, and up to the fallopian tube.
If you don’t believe your cervical fluid is fertile enough, however, there are some ways to encourage your body to produce higher quality cervical fluid.
What are some tips for getting healthier cervical fluid?
- Water: It’s the basis of cervical fluid, and your body needs lots of it to make your cervical fluid plentiful and fertile. Women who don’t drink enough water may notice more issues with their cervical fluid, so it’s important to stay well-hydrated when TTC, and not just for your cervical fluid.
- Grapefruit juice: Used as a cervical fluid-booster for generations, grapefruit juice is among the most effective natural CF aids. Although it is acidic, it alkalizes in the body, helping to balance the pH level, and making your cervical fluid more livable for sperm.
- Avoid antihistamines: Antihistamines, under which most allergy medications fall, should be avoided if you’re concerned about your cervical fluid. These medications work by drying up fluid (mucus) in the sinuses, and so can have the same drying effect on cervical fluid, so you should try to manage your allergies in different ways when TTC.
- Try a little cough syrup: Many cough syrups contain the ingredient guaifenesin, which is known to help increase both the amount and quality of cervical fluid produced. This is not to say that you should binge on cough syrup (please don’t – that would be dangerous), but taking just a bit of cough syrup during the fertile window (about 5 days before you ovulate) could help you produce more fertile cervical fluid.
The bottom line
Cervical fluid is more than just a fertility indicator – it’s a vital functional component of the whole process of conception. Women who don’t produce enough, or high-quality, cervical fluid may have more trouble getting pregnant, so you may want to speak with your healthcare provider if you believe this is a real problem for you.
- “Patient Fact Sheet: Infertility: An Overview.” ASRM. American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 2012. Web.
- Bruno Scarpa, David B Dunson, Bernardo Colombo. “Cervical mucus secretions on the day of intercourse: An accurate marker of highly fertile days.” European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. Volume 125, Issue 1, Pages 72-78. Web. 3/1/2006.
- Sabita Sujan, John Danezis, Aquiles J. Sobrero. “Sperm migration and cervical mucus studies in individual cycles.” Journal of Reproduction & Infertility. 6(1):87-97. Web. Sep-63.