Updated: Nov 21, 2019
It’s no secret that cervical fluid (CF) observation and interpretation had been the most challenging when I started learning the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM). When I was a student, I enjoyed numbers and excelled at math, which was the reason why I got the hang of charting my basal body temperature (BBT) right away. Numbers and graphs made so much sense to me as the educational system was focused on them for more than 17 years of my studies at school and college. CF, on the other hand, is more intimate, requires a level of comfort and body literacy that I did not grow up with. So, what is CF anyway?
Cervical fluid is at the very center of FAM and is the primary sign that we pay attention to when charting our menstrual cycles.
It is a hydrogel comprised of mucus, water, a variety of enzymes, protein chains, and other biochemical compounds including sodium, chloride, and potassium. CF has the ability to keep sperm alive from 3-5 days. Have you ever heard that sperm can live in your body for about a week? This is only true if fertile cervical fluid is available to nurture the sperm and keep them alive.
Cervical Fluid is not produced at random. In fact, it is produced as your body approaches ovulation (Genius, right?) You can tell when you’re fertile by tracking your CF production during the different phases of your cycle. As the healthy fertile body is trying to create a new life each cycle, the symphony of hormones plays a role in keeping that process in order. The first half of the cycle would be dominated by estrogen until it reaches its peak stimulating ovulation and freeing the egg. Estrogen stimulates the production of CF, increases your libido, and is wet, lubricate, and slippery just before ovulation. After ovulation, progesterone dominated the second half of the cycle with a sudden dip in estrogen levels.
Properties of CF:
Could be clear, stretchy, cloudy, white, sticky, or egg-white.
If you haven’t paid attention to your CF before, you might have not noticed it. Some women would visit their doctor every time they see CF, thinking that it is an infection. Tests then come negative and this “discharge” keeps on being produced month after month. You might have sensed wetness before? Thought you started your period when you haven’t? Nope! Just cervical fluid. This world would have been so much different if every young girl was educated about her cervical fluid as a normal healthy biomarker that she needs for her well-being.
“There are about 100 cervical crypts in your endocervical canal, and together they produce an average of 20-60 mg of CF per day.” – kamran S. Moghissi.
You might ask yourself, what is the importance of cervical fluid after all?
* CF has the perfect pH for sperm to survive (7.2-8.4)
* CF keeps the sperm alive for up to 5 days as you approach ovulation and prepares the sperm to be able to fertilize the egg, which means that the life equation should be changed to (sperm + CF + egg = baby).
* CF also filters out sick and defective sperm from continuing their adventurous journey and trap them in the cervix while healthier sperm get a better chance in fertilizing the egg.
* Most importantly, CF allows you to identify your fertile window to use that knowledge and apply it based on your own reproductive goals. It’s a tool of self-discovery and empowerment!
The Cervical Mucus Project provided me a free visual library of real cervical fluid taken y real people. That confusion I had when I first started was gone!
The Fifth Vital Sign- Chapter 3: Cervical Mucus
The Function of The Cervix in Fertility.