Are Changes in Cervical Mucus a Sign Of Pregnancy?

Women who have been trying to get pregnant for some time may already be tracking the changes in their cervical mucus, but may not know that certain changes can be a symptom of pregnancy. However, there are other symptoms that are more reliable in determining whether a woman is pregnant – a missed period is probably the most telltale sign that a woman is expecting a child. Other signs include breast sensitivity, a weaker bladder, and a heightened sense of smell, backache, and morning sickness. Additionally, every woman’s cervical mucus is different, making it somewhat tricky.

The Cervical Mucus – An Introduction

Before even starting to explain the changes in the cervical mucus during pregnancy, it is important to understand what the cervical mucus is and why it is important. Essentially, the cervical mucus is a fluid emitted by the cervix. During a woman’s menstrual cycle the quality of cervical mucus and the amount produced varies. As a woman gets closer to ovulation, her estrogen levels start increasing, which in turn causes the cervical mucus to emit more mucus, which is generally considered to be more fertile. According to the American Pregnancy Association, this fertile cervical mucus is clear and elastic – it looks a lot like egg whites. As the consistency of cervical mucus varies during the menstrual period the theory goes that by noting the changes, a woman should be able to predict when she is at her most fertile and use it as a ‘clock’, in a manner of speaking, to work out when she should try to conceive.

How the Cervical Mucus Changes During Pregnancy

The most noticeable way in which cervical mucus changes during pregnancy is through the amount of discharge that is emitted. The amount of cervical mucus normally increases and as such, the discharge also increases. The cervical mucus also stays slippery in the same way it would just before ovulation. It no longer resembles an egg white and its longish strands are gone.  Instead, it is clear, thick, and viscous.  Following this, the cervical mucus will become a plug and thus dry up and become thicker. As the pregnancy continues, the cervical mucus will be become more and more dry.

However, later on in the pregnancy, there will be more changes in the cervical mucus. As your cervix starts to thin itself out and dilate as you near your due date, some cervical mucus will inevitably escape from the mucus plug. Although it will resemble the egg white cervical fluid during ovulation, there is a chance that the entire cervical plug may come out as one big glob that is somewhat gelatinous in shape.  Often, when this happens, the plug will also be tinged with blood.  If the discharge becomes watery or bloody before the 37th week of pregnancy, it is possible that the amniotic fluid is leaking and is immediate cause for concern.

Cervical Mucus Changes – Not the Only Symptom

While changes in the cervical mucus can be a good indicator about whether or not a woman is pregnant, she should not rely on this alone. Rather, she should look for other symptoms like a missed period (which is also not going to give a straight answer as women’s menstrual cycles vary greatly and can be irregular) or go straight to her doctor in order to have blood tests done. The only way a woman will know for sure if she has conceived and is expecting a child is to go for a thorough test with her doctor before getting too excited.

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  • Jennifer

    So my cycle is roughly 28 days in between. My last one was last month started spotting the 8th and had what seemed like a regular period on the 11th. Have no yet had one at all this month. Been having some sticky cervical mucus ever since as well as breast tenderness. I took 2 pregnancy tests and they have come out negative. I have a Drs appt set up for next Thursday. Fiancé and I have been trying to conceive for about 4 months now so we’re hoping this is it.

Last modified: April 11, 2014