There are two main parameters used by the woman in assessing the mucus symptom;
- The sensation at the opening of the vagina (called the vulva) associated with the presence of mucus, although the mucus may not be visible
- The appearanceof the mucus at the vulva, (i.e. its colour and texture). (Table 11-1).
If just one of these two recorded parameters of mucus, (i.e. either the sensation or appearance), has a description which in keeping with more-fertile mucus the woman is considered potentially more-fertile.
|less-fertile mucus||more-fertile mucus|
|sensation||moist, damp at vulva||wet, lubricative, slippery at vulva|
|appearance / texture||viscous, scant, opaque, ‘tacky’||
abundant, runny, clear, like raw egg-white, elastic, stretchy, ‘spinnbarkeit’
Table 11-1; Mucus Parameters: The changing pattern of the oestrogenic mucus symptom is observed by the woman during the ‘build-up’ to peak mucus in the fertile phase of the cycle, using the two parameters, sensationat the vulva and appearance and texture of mucus at the vulva.
PICTURES of the CHANGING PATTERN of the MUCUS ‘BUILD-UP’ to PEAK DAY and OVULATION:
Less-fertile mucus is associated with a moist or damp sensation at the vulva and the appearance of mucus is thick, opaque, viscid and ‘tacky’, (mucus that breaks on stretching, is called ‘tacky’ and is typical of the less-fertile mucus). Fig.11-4
Fig. 11-4; Less-fertile mucus4: Less-fertile mucus is thick, opaque, viscid and breaks on stretching between the fingers, i.e.’tacky’.
More-fertilemucus is associated with a wet, slippery, or lubricative sensation at the vulva, and the appearance of the mucus, is described as cloudy, clear (Figs. 11-5, 11-6), and its texture is described as elastic, stretchy, (Fig.11-7), like raw egg-white, or ‘spinnbarkeit’ (Fig. 11-8). (mucus that holds a stretch up to 10-20 cms is termed ‘spinnbarkeit’ and is the classic appearance of more-fertile mucus).
Fig. 11-5; More-fertile mucus: More-fertile mucus, cloudy-clear and is beginning to hold a stretch
Fig. 11-6; More-fertile mucus: More-fertile mucus is now clear.
Fig. 11-7; More-fertile mucus: More-fertile mucus is now clear and stretchy.
Fig. 11-8; More-fertile mucus: More-fertile mucus, spinnbarkeit. Good spinnbarkeit means that the mucus can hold a stretch to 10-20 cms (5 inches).3
A third parameter namely the Quantityof the mucus is also important in fertility. It is the quantity of cervical mucus that allows for the neutralization of the acidic vagina and subsequent sperm survival.2 The mucus increases in quantity during the latter stages of the mucus ‘build-up’.
There is considerable variation of quantity and quality of cervical mucus and consequently of being aware of fertility when comparing one woman’s experience with another and even in individual cycles of the same woman.1 All women charting their cycles know that the mucus symptom can differ considerably from one cycle to another.1
- Odeblad E, ‘Investigations on the physiological basis for fertility awareness; Bulletin for the Ovulation Method Research and Reference Centre of Australia, vol 29, no 1, p2-11, march 2002, (internet, Billings Ovulation Method, www.woomb.org)
- Hilgers TW, Prebil AM; ‘The ovulation Method-Vulvar observations as an index of fertility/infertility’ page 21; Obstetrics & gynaecology, vol 53, no 1, Jan 1979.
- Cohen M, Stein I, Kaye B; ‘Spinnbarkeit: ‘A characteristic of cervical mucus; significance at ovulation time’; Fertil & Steril; Vol 3, no 3, 1952.
To be most effective, the woman must be taught the Symptothermal Double-Check Method of Natural Family Planning by a qualified natural family planning teacher.