This birth control method revolves around using the texture and amount of cervical mucus in the vagina to determine ovulation time.
Most of the time when we think and hear about vaginal secretions, we think about a woman who is wet and lubricated from arousal, right?
Many times women also think other discharge may be a sign of an infection. However, the vagina naturally produces secretions and fluids throughout the month and understanding the difference in the secretions can actually be used as a form of birth control.
The mucus method is also known as the ovulation method. In order to tell where they are in their cycles women place their fingers into their vagina and read their secretions.
How it works:
Dry time: After a period it is common for women to experience a sense of dryness down below. It can sometimes be mistaken for a yeast infection, leaving some women to be convinced that they get a yeast infection after every period. Dryness can feel itchy sometimes (but if you’re experiencing redness/itching/clumpy white discharge, head to a gyno.) This normal dryness after a period are considered “dry days” when there is no noticeable vaginal discharge.
Yellow/White Discharge: After this “dry” time, there is typically a white/yellowish sticky discharge that appears and during this time unprotected sex should be avoided to avoid becoming impregnated.
Ovulatory Mucus: it’s disgusting sounding alright, but most women have experienced this at some point in their lives, and probably wondered what it was and if they’re okay. You’re fine. This clear stringy egg-white like consistency discharge is known as ovulatory mucus.
This mucus is stretchy and clear and if you put it in between your two fingers it can actually stretch to about 1-1.5 inches before breaking. This mucus creates a feeling of extreme vaginal wetness, which actually has both a chemical balance and texture that helps the sperm enter the uterus.
Cloudy Discharge: According to the mucus method it is about 4 days after the ovulatory mucus begins and 24 hours after a cloudy vaginal secretion resumes that is okay to have unprotected sex.
The mucus method is not very reliable because each woman’s cycle is different, not to mention, you can still get pregnant even if you’re not necessarily ovulating.
Sperm can actually remain alive and capable of fertilizing an egg up to 5 days after it’s first entered the vagina!
It’s important to always practice safe sex, use condoms and another form of birth control for the best protection. According to HealthLine, the mucus method is amongst the least reliable forms of birth control with 20 or more pregnancies annually per 100 woman using it as their form of birth control. –> Not very reliable, at all!
The mucus method is almost better used as a way to predict ovulation for women trying to get pregnant, than it is for woman who are trying to avoid getting pregnant. The best way to practice the mucus method is to attend a class, which teaches exactly how to read your vaginal discharge in the best most effective way. If you’re interested in taking a class, they’re offered at hospitals and clinics around the country.
Information from: Crooks, Robert, and Karla Baur. Our sexuality. Cengage Learning, 2013.