Before, during and after ovulation, your body’s hormone levels fluctuate greatly. Estrogen (or Oestrogen) and progesterone levels rise and fall resulting in different frequencies and types of cervical mucus.
Normally, the body prepares itself for ovulation by producing a particular type of mucus called EWCM (egg white cervical mucus).
Every woman’s cervix produces different kinds of mucus at each stage in her cycle. The purpose of most of the mucus produced is to maintain a healthy pH balance in the womb and ensure that you are not at risk of infections or vaginal dryness.
EWCM differs in that its purpose is primarily to prepare the cervix and uterus for conception and pregnancy.
It has a unique texture and chemical make-up which facilitates sperm reaching the egg in the fallopian tube.
However, EWCM is usually only produced at a certain point in a woman’s cycle –what does it mean if your body is producing EWCM irregularly?
Read on to find out what’s normal and what you need to be on the lookout for…
What is EWCM?
EWCM is an important part of a woman’s cycle; it is usually produced right before ovulation and acts as a protector for sperm. It differs to usual cervical mucus in that it is far clearer and stretchier and acts as the perfect vehicle for sperm in the cervix.
The “egg-white” texture of the mucus facilitates the movement of the sperm up the fallopian tube and ensures the longest possible “life-expectancy” of the sperm.
Without EWCM, sperm wouldn’t normally live past an hour in the cervix, thus making EWCM an extremely fertile mucus to facilitate conception.
It is caused by an increase in your body’s estrogen levels; before ovulation, your body releases a hormone called estrogen which prepares your body and your uterus for pregnancy.
It is responsible for ensuring the lining of the womb is a fertile habitat for an embryo and ensures the breasts and bone density are healthy and ready to care for a baby!
Interestingly, your uterus is not the most habitable place for sperm…
The uterus has a pH level that is too low for sperm to survive. This ensures that only the strongest sperm will make it to the egg. However, the body does facilitate this with the production of EWCM.
The pH of EWCM helps to balance the acidity levels in the uterus and cervix to ensure that conception can take place more easily.
How Do I Know I am Producing EWCM?
A quick test is to work out when you usually ovulate – for most women this is around 10-16 days before the beginning of their period. Your temperature will usually rise after ovulation and cervical mucus will dry up.
Once you know you are ovulating, you may notice a change in your cervical mucus to EWCM. The mucus will be far stretchier and, quite simply, will resemble egg-whites.
The texture will be different to normal cervical mucus which can be watery and cloudy or even “creamy” in color. Don’t confuse EWCM with spotting or your period. The texture and clear appearance is unmistakable.
“But I’ve Ovulated and I’m Still Producing EWCM!”
Firstly, don’t panic! There can be many reasons for the production of EWCM after ovulation and some of these can be quite normal:
1 ESTROGEN LEVELS COULD INCREASE
Usually, the hormone estrogen is produced before ovulation. However, sometimes hormone levels can fluctuate without warning and so, if estrogen continues to be produced after ovulation, you may continue to see EWCM.
2 SECONDARY EWCM
A week after ovulation, women usually experience a small rise in estrogen and progesterone levels in order to prepare the lining of the womb for pregnancy.
This small rise in estrogen can cause the production of “secondary EWCM”. while not all women will experience this, it is perfectly normal.
3 DELAYED OVULATION
Stress-levels, anxiety or certain medication can cause a delay in ovulation. If this happens, your body may continue to produce EWCM until after ovulation is occurred.
4 ANOVULATORY CYCLES
It’s possible that, if you are experiencing EWCM after ovulation, your body is attempting to ovulate without success. If this is the case, you may not experience a rise in temperature as ovulation has not occurred.
In this instance, the body will continue to produce EWCM in preparation. If you think this might be the case, it is best to visit your local doctor or family-planning clinic in order to ensure everything is in working order.
EWCM After Ovulation – Does it Mean I’m Pregnant?
For some women, post-ovulation EWCM can be an early indicator of pregnancy; the cervix continues to produce mucus as the lining of the uterus builds in order for the fertilized egg to embed itself in your womb.
However, this is not the most common reason to produce EWCM and, while taking a pregnancy test might be a good idea, producing EWCM post-ovulation does not definitely mean that you are pregnant.
“I’ve Gone Through the Menopause – Why am I still producing EWCM?”
Surprisingly, your ovaries can remain active throughout your life – even after the menopause!
While not a regular occurrence, your ovaries can still produce eggs after the menopause which are then released into the fallopian tube. Of course, along with this comes a fluctuation in estrogen levels.
Even after your periods have stopped, you may still experience EWCM on an infrequent basis.
EWCM is a normal part of every woman’s monthly cycle; it plays an important part in conception and facilitating sperm reaching the egg in the fallopian tube.
This stretchy egg white-like substance is responsible for making it as easy as possible to conceive to maximize your chances of fertility.
There are many reasons why a woman could experience EWCM after ovulation, however in most circumstances, this can be a normal part of your cycle.
The most important thing is to learn what your regular monthly cycle looks like; if you know what is normal for you then you can make a note of any changes.