Cervical mucus is secreted by the glands of a woman’s cervix. Produced because of stimulation by the hormone estrogen, it is normal and does not indicate an illness. Instead, it often serves as an aid to conception and helps to keep the uterus protected from bacteria and other foreign invaders. Interestingly, mucus that is secreted from the cervix changes in consistency depending on where a woman is in her menstrual cycle. This fact often helps women to determine when they are most fertile and time sexual intercourse accordingly.
The pattern cervical mucus follows often corresponds with the stages on one’s menstrual cycle. Many women experience a drier time right after menstruation ends, during which they do not have any mucus or have very little of it. At this time, any mucus that is present may be whitish or clear, but not very wet.
As a woman's menstrual cycle progresses, changes in her cervical mucus may continue. For a few days, she may have sticky mucus that is clear or whitish in color. Some women even describe the discharge present at this time as gummy. It may feel a bit more moist than the mucus present soon after a period, but it isn’t usually described as wet.
When a woman is moving closer to the mid-point of her cycle and her fertile period, her cervical mucus may become more profuse and may gradually begin to feel wetter. Many women notice cervical mucus that is thick and has a creamy consistency at this time. Others may describe it as similar to lotion. Its color may vary from woman to woman, but is often yellowish or whitish.
During ovulation and the days surrounding it, a woman is at her most fertile and her cervical mucus is often clear, wet, and stretchy. Often, it is compared to the consistency of egg whites. This mucus is considered the most friendly for sperm and helps facilitate its travel. As such, this is the type of mucus women often monitor when they are trying to conceive. When it is present, they know they may have a good chance of achieving pregnancy.
After a woman's fertile period ends, she typically experiences changes in the mucus from her cervix as well. In many cases, the mucus becomes sticky once more and may feel either dry or moist. The slick feel that marks the fertile period is usually gone. This mucus may be clear or whitish until a woman’s menstrual period begins.