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What is Cervical Mucus before Period Like?

Written by Elizabeth Buescher, Gynecologist

Your cervical mucus changes drastically during your period and knowing what your cervical mucus is like can help you know where you are in the cycle, whether or not you are ovulating and if you have an infection of any kind. Sometimes cervical mucus changes are the only way you have an infection so it pays to know what the mucus is supposed to look like.

You begin your menstrual cycle at the first day of bleeding during your period. At that time, the cervical mucus is relatively scant unless you are sexually aroused, in which case many women have large amounts of lubricating cervical mucus.

As the cycle continues, the estrogen level rises and you begin to have increased cervical mucus. During this period of time, you may have creamy cervical mucus or clear cervical mucus. Its texture will be smooth. If you are sexually aroused during this time, you may have watery cervical mucus that helps lubricate the vaginal area during sex.

At the time of ovulation, the cervical mucus will abruptly change. You will develop lots of cervical mucus that will be relatively stringy and stretchy. Stretchy cervical mucus will hold even when you have some of it on your forefinger and some of it on your thumb and separate the two, stretching the mucus between these two digits by several inches.

Sperm like this kind of cervical mucus as it allows for easier passage through the cervix and into the uterus and Fallopian tubes for fertilization and before pregnancy can occur. This egg white cervical mucus acts like a conduit for the passage of sperm, which can swim in this watery cervical mucus very easily. If you have dry cervical mucus or no cervical mucus during this time, you will not likely have easy passage of sperm and will not likely get pregnant.

Cervical mucus before ovulation

The cervical mucus before ovulation does not allow for sperm passage but this thick white cervical mucus will allow sperm to live in before the ovulation happens. This is why you can become pregnant even if you don’t have sex at the time of ovulation, you can still get pregnant. Sperm can live up to five days in this environment and, when the cervical mucus changes to allow for passage of sperm into the uterus, you can still get pregnant.

Cervical Mucus right before Period

When the egg is released, the remaining ovarian follicle will produce progesterone and this can lead to a change in cervical mucus. This will be sticky cervical mucus so that no more sperm can pass into the cervical canal. This thick cervical mucus will be too thick for the swimming of sperm and the sperm will just degenerate in the vagina after 1-5 days.

The cervical mucus before period if you are pregnant will look and feel no different than the cervical mucus before menstruation. Expect thick white mucus which may be yellow cervical mucus if it has been stuck to the sides of the vagina for a longer period of time. If you are pregnant, the cervical mucus may increase before missed period because the progesterone level is continuing to be high and won’t be expected to go down because menses doesn’t start and a pregnancy is supporting the zygote with the extra progesterone. If you are not pregnant, the progesterone level will drop precipitously just before the period and you will begin bleeding.

Before the menstrual cycle starts, this drop in progesterone allows for the matured vaginal lining to begin to shed so you have a menstrual period. Before a missed period (in other words, if you are pregnant), the cervical mucus will be thick and sticky in texture and will not go back down to an estrogenic cervical mucus, which is more creamy and happens during the time when estrogen builds up the uterine lining at the beginning of the next menstrual cycle.

When you should consider the Cervical Mucus to be Abnormal

When you have a friable cervix from a cervical infection such as Chlamydia or Trichomonas, the cervix will bleed more during intercourse and you can get blood in cervical mucus that will gradually turn into pink cervical mucus and finally, brown cervical mucus as the blood becomes “old”. None of this is particularly dangerous but it should provide you with the impetus to see the doctor to see if you have a cervical infection or perhaps a benign cervical polyp that bleeds from the trauma of intercourse. Medications to treat the infections can be given, which vary according to the type of infection you have and whether or not you are pregnant.

Yeast infections and Cervical Mucus

If you develop a yeast infection in the vagina, you can expect itching and burning along with thick cervical mucus that may look like cottage cheese. It is generally white but can be slightly yellow in color. While yeast infections are not really dangerous, they can be miserable and are worth treating for that reason alone. Common treatments for vaginal yeast infections are Monistat®, which is given in an applicator or as an anti-fungal suppository you insert in your vagina. Oral Diflucan® can also be given to eradicate the yeast and restore a more normal vaginal flora. The itching will go away and the cervical mucus will be less thick and creamier in nature. The smell of baking bread will dissipate as well.

Cervical Mucus Changes in other Infections

Chlamydia and Trichomonas are sexually transmitted diseases that should be eradicated, especially as they can affect fertility and the healthiness of a pregnancy. Both infections can lead to miscarriage or preterm labor if not treated. The color of the cervical secretions may be yellow, pink tinged or gray in color and may have a foul smell. Chlamydia may have no symptoms in women and can lead to infertility due to damage to the Fallopian tubes. Trichomonas will generally have symptoms with a change in cervical mucus and burning in the vaginal or vulvar area.