By: Dr. Spence Pentland (Vancouver Fertility Acupuncturist)
Are you or a friend having difficulty conceiving? Starting to wonder if something may be wrong? Do not want to go to the doctor ‘just yet’, or have already taken some of those first medical steps? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, the information in this article will prove to be a useful quick glance into understanding one of the female body’s key signs of fertility.
‘Fertile’ pre-ovulation cervical fluid. This essential body fluid is something that a woman trying to conceive must understand. ‘Slippery, clear, raw egg-white, stretchy’. These are the common descriptions given to the vaginal secretions that must be present just before the release of the egg from the ovary (ovulation).
Put simply, this ‘fertile’ pre-ovulation cervical secretion (which is 90%+ water) not only looks and feels almost exactly like semen, but it is also your sperm’s best friend on its long journey toward its ultimate goal, the penetration of the egg! Let’s go through a few reasons why this is so;
Glycerol (glycerine) amounts increase during sexual excitement and around ovulation. This is thought to be responsible for the lubricating qualities that define these important reproductive events.
2. Vaginal PH.
Reducing the acidity of the vagina helps sperm survive. High acidity kills sperm and other invaders, which is very beneficial, except when ovulating and trying to conceive.
It is easier to swim in water than lotion. ‘Fertile’ pre-ovulation cervical fluid has more water than cervical fluid does at other times during the menstrual cycle.
Sperm needs to eat. Components in the cervical fluid such as calcium, sodium, potassium, glucose, amino acids, zinc, copper, iron, manganese, & selenium, give the sperm what it needs to thrive.
The above points display the importance of healthy ‘fertile’ pre-ovulation cervical secretion. The interaction of sperm and cervical fluid is often disrupted in couples struggling with fertility. In many cases, women are not producing adequate amounts, or any detectable presence of ‘fertile’ pre-ovulation cervical fluid. This scenario, coupled with the male infertility epidemic that we are faced with today, manifests in many months of ‘trying’ and all the difficulties that eventually come with it. This is why understanding cervical fluid is paramount, and, if there are issues, doing what you can to help remedy this fluid imbalance.
Checking cervical fluid is easy, no need for any tools (thermometer, urine sticks, etc), and when you know what to look for, it tells you precisely when to get romantic. Generally it is present for 2-5 days before ovulation. Start checking once bleeding has stopped. The changes in pre-ovulatory cervical fluid, when comparing to its presentation during other phases of the menstrual cycle, are actually quite obvious once you have observed your body for just a couple cycles. As stated earlier, ‘fertile’ pre-ovulation cervical fluid has an uncanny resemblance to semen. There are 3 main characteristics to look for when identifying ‘fertile’ pre-ovulatory cervical fluid;
1. It is slippery so as to provide lubrication for sex. Some women report a ‘wet’ sensation.
2. It becomes more transparent (like raw egg-white) due to higher water content so as to aid in sperm motility (swimming).
3. It stretches when examined between the fingers. Does not appear ‘tacky’ like lotion.
It should be re-stated that for some women this is very easy, as enough ‘fertile’ pre-ovulation cervical secretion is produced that they observe the secretions on their underwear. For others, it may be necessary to insert a finger into the vagina to check if smaller amounts are present around the cervix.
If it has been determined, or even suspected that an inadequate amount of ‘fertile’ pre-ovulation cervical fluid is present, there are 3 things that can be done to help remedy this;
1. Use Pre~seed ‘Sperm friendly’ lubricant. It is the only lubricant on the market proven to mimic the composition and functions of a woman’s natural ‘fertile’ pre-ovulation cervical fluid
2. Use supplements that may help increase cervical fluid production
3. Use Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture to help restore balance to body fluid levels
If you want to learn more about the ways your body displays its reproductive health, go to your library and take out the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility: the definitive guide to natural birth control, pregnancy achievement, and reproductive health”, by Toni Weschler. Good luck creating your family.
Dr. Spence Pentland is a board licensed Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and certified Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine. Since 2004 Spence has focused exclusively on the treatment of reproductive disorders in both men and women in Vancouver Canada. To book an appointment or for a free 15 minute phone consultation visit DrSpencePentland.com (Vancouver fertility acupuncture). He and his wife are also ‘bringing sexy back to baby-making’ with their new line of ‘fertility friendly’ men’s underwear!