I was recently asked if I teach women to understand their cervical mucus or if I only teach temperature charting. What I want every woman to understand is that cervical mucus is Queen when it comes to practicing fertility awareness methods (FAM)!
In fact, did you know that there are some methods of FAM that only use mucus? It’s true! As long as you have a good understanding of mucus, monitoring your temperature might not even be necessary! The important thing to recognize is that it depends on how you are taught the method: if you are taught to use temperature then please use temperature! The methods that use mucus only are much more rigorous in their description and tracking of mucus. Always practice it the way you were taught it to avoid mistakes.
Here are some reasons why cervical mucus is Queen:
- Mucus shows up a few days before you ovulate and tells you when your fertile window begins in each cycle;
- Sperm lives for up to 5 days inside mucus;
- Mucus changes after you ovulate and you need to recognize this change to know when your fertile window ends;
- If you are able to identify your mucus Peak Day, you will know the day you are most likely to have ovulated;
- You continue to be fertile for three days following the Peak Day, so you must know how to identify this day in order to know when you become infertile again after ovulation;
- Mucus is pretty stable, and won’t be too affected by other factors in your life (but temperature is much more unstable);
- If your mucus pattern isn’t “normal” (i.e. if you have too much, too little, poor quality, etc.) that can tell you that your hormone balance might be off and you can take steps to address your underlying hormonal imbalance.
Here’s what you need to know about basal body temperature and why it’s not as useful as mucus:
- Temperature only goes up after you ovulate, so that’s useful as a confirmation that ovulation has passed, but can’t tell you when you’re fertile;
- Your temperature will go up anywhere from the same day to a few days after you ovulate, so pinpointing the exact day is much more difficult than by using mucus;
- Temperature is unstable, and can be affected by how much sleep you get, drinking alcohol, room temperature, travel, stress, medications, and more!
- Because of this instability, it can be confusing trying to figure out what the temperature pattern means.
Some things temperature can help with, are:
- Temperature gives you important information about your thyroid health (too low could be hypothyroid, or too high could be hyperthyroid);
- If it’s erratic that could possibly be a sign of unstable hormones;
- If you don’t have a clear temperature shift after ovulation, that is a sign of hormonal imbalance;
- If you are unsure of your mucus signs you can rely on temperature to know when ovulation has passed.
So, while I think that charting your temperature has its uses and I do recommend it, I want to be sure that you understand that mucus is the primary sign of fertility, and is the most important thing for you to focus on in your practice of FAM.
My job as a Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner is to teach women how to confidently observe, chart, and monitor their cervical mucus patterns. Most women aren’t going to have “textbook perfect” cycles, so it’s important to have an expert that can help you to interpret what you are seeing and figure out what your unique/individual pattern of mucus means for your overall health.
I hope this has helped clarify a few things for you. What was your experience of learning to understand your mucus pattern like? Was it like the textbook? Did you find learning from a teacher to be helpful? Please let me know in the comments below.