Because evaluating cervical fluid is less objective, every NFP method uses slightly different descriptions. In the Couple to Couple League's method, cervical fluid is described by three categories:
- No observed cervical fluid - There's no observable fluid
- "Less fertile" cervical fluid - Fluid is often white or creamy. It doesn't stretch easily and may be sticky, gummy, thick, pasty, creamy, or clumpy.
- "More fertile" cervical fluid - Fluid is wet and very slippery. There are often mucus pieces that are extremely stretchy. It's often described as being similar to raw egg whites.
This slideshow gives a reasonable description of different types of cervical fluid, and includes photos which may help you decide what you're looking at.
There's many ways to notate these observations. In the chart from "Taking Charge of Your Fertility", there are three main descriptions given and you check off whichever apply:
We've been sticking to the notation suggested by the Couple to Couple League (in part because it makes it easier to get our charts reviewed when we need outside help!). This notation looks like:
The empty circles represent no observed cervical fluid, a circle with a minus sign indicates less fertile, and a circle with a plus sign indicates more fertile. The letters indicate moist (m), wet (w), slippery (sl), none (n), tacky (t), stretchy (s).
Typically, women observe several days without cervical fluid at the beginning of their cycle, followed by several days of "less fertile" fluid and the then several days of "more fertile" fluid. The final day of "more fertile" is sometimes referred to as the peak day, and it marks when ovulation occurs. After this day, most women observe more dry days, until their period.
Over the first few months of observations, you'll get a very good idea of what typical cervical fluid patterns are for your body. You'll develop a notation system that works for you. While it's a little more work than observing temperature, cervical fluid observations are even more meaningful. In fact, some NFP methods only use cervical fluid observations, omitting temperature entirely.