Sperm cells tire easily and need plenty of energy to be able to swim from the vagina to the uterus and then up the fallopian tubes where hopefully a princess egg will be waiting for her knight.
What is cervical mucus? Cervical mucus is what you call the fluid (or at times gel-like substance) that your cervix releases into the vagina. Changing throughout various phases in a woman’s menstrual cycle, the cervical mucus varies in thickness according to the hormonal stimuli (or hormonal fluctuations) in the body.
Because your cervical mucus can tell so much about your body, it is used to predict ovulation and your fertile (or infertile window). Cervical mucus varies from one person to another since plenty of factors can affect your cervical mucus, like diet, meds or birth control. However, women can expect cervical mucus to change in various phases of your menstrual cycle.
You can expect the following changes in your cervical mucus:
There are many ways your cervical mucus can affect your fertility, especially when we’re talking about cervical mucus as an environment for the sperm to thrive in on its journey to the egg. Here are a few things to consider:
The optimal environment for the sperm is:
So as you can see, the sperm has it tough and there is no wonder so many have to attempt the journey in order for one to be successful! This is why we want to avoid a hostile mucus environment.
First of all, what is hostile cervical mucus?
Hostile cervical mucus is cervical that is unfriendly or toxic to the sperm. When we say cervical hostility, this is where a woman’s cervical mucus ‘attacks’ the sperm before it has a chance to reach and fertilize the egg. With hostile mucus, the sperm won’t be able to fertilize the egg, making it harder for women to conceive.
Did you know that 200 to 300 million sperm released during ejaculation, only a few hundred are able to get close enough to the egg? This means that any slight alteration to the cervical mucus may eliminate the possibility of a sperm fertilizing the egg. Because of this, experts say that hostile mucus contributes to unexplained infertility in couples or individuals trying to conceive.
There are various factors that can prompt the cervical mucus to change. A few factors that may contribute to causing hostile cervical mucus include the following:
If you are having trouble getting pregnant and suspect that you have hostile mucus, you can try these 8 easy tips to help your mucus become sperm friendly:
Vaginas clean themselves and can take care of their environment alone, provided your diet and lifestyle are healthy. Optimize your vaginal health by:
The gut flora (bacteria in your gut) also colonize your vagina. Eat sufficient probiotics or yogurt with bifidus and acidophilus cultures to keep your vagina healthy and help address hostile mucus.
Wear cotton underwear and loose fitting clothes to allow your vagina to breathe.
Always wipe from the front to back (and not the other way around) to prevent bacteria from the feces from reaching the vagina.
Moderate your intake of sugary foods, alcohol and white flour products to minimize the likelihood of thrush.
Learn fertility awareness to be able to tell the difference between sperm friendly mucus and hostile mucus. Observe your cervical mucus during various phases of your menstrual cycle and learn about which kind of cervical mucus indicates your fertile window (note: it’s the egg white one!).
For lubrication, use longer foreplay and drink lots of water during the day to help your body produce natural lubrication.
Parabens are known endocrine disruptors and xenoestrogens and can predispose you to breast cancer and other hormone-dependent cancers. These substances also disrupt fertility and predispose the baby in-utero to developing fertility and hormone issues later in life
Your cervical mucus has a lot to do with your fertility. Besides indicating your fertile window through its consistency, your cervical mucus determines whether your sperm thrives or dies within your reproductive tract. Sadly, if you have hostile mucus, your cervical mucus attacks sperm or prevents it from reaching your cervix, which makes it harder for you or your partner to conceive.
Since the factors affecting cervical hostility are mostly diet and lifestyle related, you can correct hostile mucus by making better (healthier) diet and lifestyle choices and following the tips above.
Have you ever considered the possibility that hostile mucus may be impacting your ability to conceive? Let us know!
Iva Keene is co-founder and director of Natural-Fertility-Prescription.com. She has been a qualified, accredited Naturopathic Physician for over 13 years, holds a Bachelor's degree in Health Science and a Masters degree in Reproductive Medicine. Since founding NFP in 2008, Iva's articles, videos, guides and reports have reached over 1.3 million people. Iva has dedicated her professional life to supporting couples on their path to parenthood with scientifically grounded information, protocols and coaching around preconception care, natural infertility treatments and integrative reproductive health.