Average Failure Rate: 20%
About Cervical Mucus
A woman's body produces a special type of cervical mucus when she is fertile which
acts as a conduit for sperm to travel into the uterus.
When she is not fertile no mucus is produced, or the mucus is very thick and will not permit the passage of sperm. Without this "fertile" mucus sperm cannot survive long enough or travel far enough
to fertilize an egg.
During a typical monthly cycle, a woman first has a few days of menstrual bleeding,
followed by a few "dry days" when the vagina seems quite
dry and no mucus is present. Closer to the time of ovulation she starts to have more wetness
or mucus. As ovulation approaches, the mucus becomes clear and
slippery and stretches without breaking, like a raw egg white.
The last day of peak wetness is right before ovulation, then
come days of less mucus. If any is noticed it will be cloudy.
Using the Ovulation-Mucus Method for Birth Control
The ovulation method, or mucus method,
requires that a woman be aware of what is taking place in her
body. Any time the slippery stretchy mucus is noticed, intercourse
should be avoided until two days after it is all gone — about
eight days out of each cycle.
Mucus should not be checked right before or after sex, as semen and natural sexual lubricating moisture can be confused with cervical mucus.
Benefits and Limitations of the Ovulation-Mucus Method
The ovulation-mucus method is easy to use and costs nothing. It is a good adjunct to other natural methods as it provides a cross-check for signs of fertility.
Used alone it is not as effective as other methods of fertility awareness, which is why is it often paired with the sympto-thermal method.
A newer, easier version of the ovulation-mucus method is the TwoDay Method, which uses a similar technique.
The ovulation-mucus is not a good choice for women who feel uncomfortable touching their bodies or who have reproductive tract infections that can obscure the signs of fertility.
Image source: Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University, Research-to-Practice - The TwoDay Method, www.irh.org/RTP-TDM.htm
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