≡ Menu

Changes in Cervical Mucus after Ovulation

Written by Elizabeth Buescher, Gynecologist

Many women do not pay much attention to their cervical mucus when, in fact, there are changes in the cervical mucus all the time that can reveal a lot about what is going on in the woman’s reproductive tract. Cervical mucus changes throughout the normal menstrual cycle and even changes after implantation of the zygote, indicating one of the first changes to happen to a woman after she becomes pregnant.

Normal cervical mucus is scant shortly after the period ends but increases the levels of estrogen build up in the female system. Estrogen causes an increase in a creamy, white vaginal discharge and, at the time of ovulation, the LH surge triggers the release of the egg and the coming of a stringy, stretchy clear vaginal discharge that promotes the passage of semen up through the cervix and into the uterus and Fallopian tubes in order to fertilize the egg.

After conception, the stringy and stretchy vaginal secretions become thicker and stiffer in nature due to the presence of progesterone from the follicular sac that the egg was released from. After intercourse during ovulation, the sperm should have an easier time fertilizing the egg and pregnancy has a greater chance of happening.

Creamy Cervical Mucus after Ovulation

After ovulation, the egg white cervical mucus/watery cervical mucus is replaced by a thicker white to light yellow grainy mucus under the immediate influence of the marked rise in progesterone that happens after ovulation and/or after fertilization of the egg. Cervical mucus after sex shouldn’t change much except that it is increased in quantity due to female arousal causing more cervical mucus to form.

Cervical Mucus after Ovulation if Pregnant

If the sex act yielded a fertilized egg, there wouldn’t be much change in the cervical mucus at the beginning of the pregnancy—not until the period has been missed. Then there will be lots of cervical mucus as the estrogen and progesterone levels begin to rise because of the influence of the newly formed zygote on these levels. There should be relatively thick cervical mucus right after implantation and the missed period as the progesterone causes the creation of a mucus plug in the cervix to prevent any contamination of bacteria or other pathogens into the pregnant uterus. After pregnancy, there will still be some creamy white cervical mucus but there will no longer be any stretchy cervical mucus because no further ovulations will take place after a pregnancy has occurred.

Cervical Mucus after Conception

After conception, the cervical mucus will be progesterone-dominant, meaning that there will be sticky cervical mucus, very much unlike the fertile cervical mucus of ovulation. The clear cervical mucus will continue to be wet cervical mucus but its texture will change, and it may become yellow in color. Yellow cervical mucus without any other symptoms may be normal; however, it may indicate a latent infection with yeast, Chlamydia, Trichomonas, or group B strep. These things are screened for in pregnancy so that they don’t pose a problem with miscarriages or with preterm labor. Group B strep is always screened for at between 35 and 37 weeks gestation so that, if the test is positive, antibiotics can be given in labor to prevent the passage of the infection from the mother to the infant.

Cervical Mucus after Period

Most women experience no cervical mucus right after their period unless they are sexually aroused. This is because the estrogen levels are still a bit low, and the cervical glands are not significantly stimulated. As the estrogen level rises, more clear or white cervical mucus will be noticeable on your underwear. If there is a lot of cervical mucus, wear a mini-pad that will wick away the moisture from the vulva. This wicking away of vaginal mucus will keep the vulva clean and dry and will prevent irritation of the vulvar tissue. If you don’t want to wear a pad, try to wear breathable cotton underwear that soaks up moisture and dries quickly. You may need to change your underwear fairly often if there is a lot of cervical mucus. This is especially the case during ovulation or after sex.

Cervical mucus after a miscarriage should be no different than after having period. There will be some bloody cervical mucus as the uterine lining sheds. As the blood becomes “old”, you will have brown cervical mucus that eventually yellows and tapers off. As your cycles resume, cervical mucus will be similar to an ordinary menstrual cycle, with increased cervical mucus during the beginning of the cycle, a change in the texture of the cervical mucus at the time of ovulation and a return to progesterone dominant creamy cervical mucus after ovulation and before implantation (should that occur).

Cervical Mucus after IUI

After IUI, you will have cervical mucus that is also progesterone-dominant. The follicles will likely be more than one and each one will make progesterone that yields thick and creamy white cervical mucus. If not pregnant during the IUI cycle, you will get your period and will start another cycle. If you are undergoing IUI, you may have the stimulation of your ovaries at the same time so that the cervical mucus will be increased both before the IUI and after IUI. Once you get pregnant, your cervical mucus will be just like any other pregnancy. The mucus plug will be created, and you will have more cervical mucus while pregnant than you would if the IUI cycle did not work.

Cervical Mucus after Pregnancy

After pregnancy, you will have so much bleeding and shedding of uterine tissue that you will notice that much more obviously than you would notice any subtle change in cervical mucus that might occur. The estrogen and progesterone levels drop dramatically after pregnancy so that the cervical mucus after pregnancy will be scant. As the bleeding dissipates, you will begin to have bloody or brown cervical mucus that gradually yellows and becomes a cream color begin. It takes several weeks before your regular cycle takes over, and estrogen starts to build up the uterine lining and begins to create white creamy cervical mucus once again. You will ovulate about 3-5 weeks after pregnancy, and you should notice the familiar egg-white cervical mucus that contributes to semen flow through the cervix and uterus.

This is why you need to be on birth control within a few weeks of having a baby unless you are breastfeeding unless you are trying to get pregnant again. Very fertile women have been known not to have a period after pregnancy and will go on to be pregnant at the very first possible ovulation time.

Why pay attention to cervical mucus?

Women who want some sort of control over whether or not they get pregnant at any given cycle should do their best to understand what is going on when their cervical mucus changes during the cycle. Knowing these things will help prevent a pregnancy and can help create a pregnancy, depending on what the woman really wants.

You should start paying attention to your cervical mucus as soon as your period ends. The amount of cervical mucus can be fairly scant in the beginning because the estrogen levels are still fairly low. As the estrogen levels rise, there will be more cervical mucus that will be clear or creamy in appearance. Sperm can survive in this environment for up to five days so, if you don’t want to become pregnant and have regular 28 day cycles, you should avoid intercourse or use a condom on days 9-15 of the menstrual cycle.

When there is a big change in the cervical mucus, with stringy, clear egg yolk-like vaginal secretions, the woman is at her most fertile time and condoms or another barrier form of contraception should be used until the cervical mucus once again becomes creamy or grainy. This means that the egg has degenerated and the woman can no longer get pregnant during this last half of her cycle. The cervical mucus will be progesterone dominant during those last 14 days of her cycle and then the progesterone and estrogen levels fall off, triggering a lesser amount of cervical mucus and the onset of a regular period.

If the woman desires to get pregnant, she should try to have sex beginning on day 9 of her cycle, with day one being the first day of the previous menses. Sperm will survive and will wait until the 14th day, when the cervical mucus becomes much more favorable for passage into the cervix and uterus. Female sperm tend to last longer than male sperm and there will be a preponderance of female sperm living from a sexual act that occurred on day 9. If she has sex up until the time of ovulation, the odds of having a boy increase because male sperm swims faster than female sperm. This is just a scientific fact and should not be used to definitely pick the sex of the baby. Female sperm are not so slow that they can’t catch up with male sperm even if the woman only gas sex on the day of ovulation, although statistics will say she has a greater chance of having a boy.

Cervical Mucus Changes during Pregnancy

There will be excess creamy or slightly yellow cervical mucus during much of the pregnancy because of high circulating concentrations of estriol (a type of estrogen) and progesterone from the placenta. This is the time when many women resort to using some kind of mini pad to soak up the excess secretions that will wax and wane throughout the pregnancy. Too much vaginal secretions can and the relative hormonal state of pregnancy set a pregnant woman up for having bladder infections and vaginal yeast infections during this time of her life. In order to prevent these kinds of infections, a pregnant woman should always wipe from front to back to keep E. coli from the stool from getting into the urethra and to keep the vaginal area as dry as possible. Yeast tend to multiply in warm, wet conditions so that, if a yeast infection does occur during pregnancy, the infection will resemble a thick cottage cheese like vaginal discharge that smells of baking bread. Medications can be used intravaginally or orally to clear up the yeast infection, even though this type of infection has not been found to be particularly dangerous to the fetus in pregnancy. It will itch and burn, however, so treatment is prudent to keep the symptoms from becoming unbearable.

Other infections during pregnancy are more serious. For example, bacterial vaginosis, Chlamydia and Trichomonas are sexually transmitted diseases that can discolor the cervical secretions and can cause burning and urinary tract symptoms in the pregnant female.

Chlamydia and Trichomonas are associated with miscarriage and preterm birth so, if the character of the vaginal secretions change and there are symptoms of infection, you should see a doctor to get an evaluation to see if you have any of these STDs. Antibiotics can be given, even in pregnancy, to clear up the infection so as not to harm the woman or the fetus. The partner or partners of the pregnant woman should be treated as well because she can easily get the infection back again. STDs are no fun.

Antibiotics can be given, even in pregnancy, to clear up the infection so as not to harm the woman or the fetus. The partner or partners of the pregnant woman should be treated as well because she can easily get the infection back again. STDs are no fun and, while it brings up questions of infidelity and promiscuity, these changes in cervical mucus signify that something has to be done in order to prevent a reoccurrence or continuation of the infection. If the partner does not want to be treated or does not believe he is infected, you should insist on using condoms so the infection doesn’t get passed back and forth among sexual partners.

Bacterial vaginosis is common in pregnancy, too, and can occur in the absence of a sexual encounter. This is more of a problem with a change in the pH and environment of the cervical mucus during pregnancy and means that unhealthy bacteria have colonized the vagina. This can be treated with antibiotics so that the symptoms can abate and so the woman can have a healthy pregnancy.

Read also:
Noticing Changes in Vaginal Discharge During Menstrual Cycle? Learn Whether They’re Normal!
What is Cervical Mucus before Period Like?
Cervical Mucus Ovulation Changes
Cervical Mucus Early Pregnancy