How you prepare

By Mayo Clinic Staff

To use the cervical mucus method, it's important to understand how cervical secretions change during a typical menstrual cycle. Generally, you'll have:

  • No noticeable cervical secretions for three to four days after your period ends
  • Scanty, cloudy and sticky secretions for the next three to five days
  • Abundant, clear and wet secretions for the next three to four days — the period before and during ovulation
  • No noticeable cervical secretions for 11 to 14 days until your next period begins

Although the specific length of these phases may vary, contact your health care provider if your cervical secretions don't follow this general pattern. You may have an infection that requires medical attention.

If you want to use the cervical mucus method for birth control, consult your health care provider first if:

  • You recently had your first period, gave birth, or stopped taking birth control pills or other hormonal contraceptives
  • You're breast-feeding
  • You're approaching menopause
  • You have a condition that disrupts regular ovulation, such as polycystic ovary syndrome

Your health care provider may discourage use of the cervical mucus method if you have persistent reproductive tract infections.

Nov. 18, 2011