On today’s episode of Food, Freedom, and Fertility, Caitlin and Sophia dispel the idea that we should not be intimately familiar with our lady parts and discuss cervical mucus, vaginal care, and fertility-friendly lubes.
Let’s start with cervical mucus, or CM. What is it and why do we care? Cervical mucus comes from the cervix and hormonal changes throughout our menstrual cycle affect its consistency and the amount that we produce. It is essentially the female counterpart to semen and helps with the transfer of sperm as they enter your body to increase the chances of conception.
The CM produced around the time of ovulation, during your fertile window, changes the pH of the vagina, making it less acidic and more hospitable to sperm. This CM even contains nutrients to help the sperm survive long enough to reach the egg in the fallopian tube! After the fertile window closes, CM thickens and, in the case of conception, creates a plug to keep pathogens out of the uterus. For more info on how to tell if you’ve ovulated, check out our episode – How Your Body Communicates Ovulation to You, with Lisa Hendrickson-Jack
CM can also help clue you in to what’s going on in your body. Not noticing much going on down there? The issue may be as simple as underhydration. Other culprits may be estrogen dominance, hormonal birth control, or the use of antihistamines or decongestants, which dry out mucous membranes. On the flip-side, women with PCOS or hypothalamic amenorrhea may see this fertile CM come and go throughout their cycle as their body attempts to ovulate.
Feel like you’re not making enough CM? There’s a lot of individual variation here, but if you’ve eliminated any obvious causes, like the medications mentioned above, try drinking more fluids and make sure that a) you are eating enough and b) what you are eating is nourishing your body! Think fats, proteins, and colorful fruits and veggies.
Your vagina also produces its own lubrication when you are sexually aroused (this is different from CM). If you feel like you are short on natural lubrication, making sure you are working foreplay into the mix is a great place to start, and if your partner isn’t up for it, take things into your own hands! If you’re still struggling, here are some tips for finding fertility-friendly lube: look for a lube with a clean ingredient list (no toxins in your vagina please!). These brands have Sophia’s stamp of approval: YES BABY, Conceive Plus, and BabyDance. But remember, nothing is as fertility-friendly as your own natural vaginal secretions and CM!