Feeling dry down there? If your body isn’t producing any wet cervical fluid, you may have trouble conceiving.
Even if you confirm that you ovulated with a sustained temperature shift, if no fertile cervical fluid was present before ovulation, pregnancy isn’t possible. That’s because the naturally-acidic environment of the vagina will kill the sperm before it gets the chance to reach the egg.
(Note that I said fertile cervical fluid has to be present. If you’re noticing thick, sticky cervical fluid throughout your fertile window, you still might have a hard time getting pregnant, as sticky cervical fluid is not very sperm-friendly. As a reminder, the most fertile type of cervical fluid is the wet, clear, stretchy stuff that resembles raw eggwhites or water gushes).
First, even if you don’t see any fertile cervical fluid on your underwear, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not there. Read this article to learn how to do an internal check to see if there’s any cervical fluid present in the vagina.
If you’re doing internal checks every day and STILL not finding anything, it’s possible something else is going on. There are a lot of potential causes for not having enough fertile cervical fluid, and to increase your cervical fluid, you’ll need to get to the root of the particular cause that’s affecting you. If you’re not sure which (if any) of the following causes are affecting your cervical fluid, start by following the first few suggestions (drink more water, make sure you’re eating a healthy diet, etc.) before taking greater measures.
So, here are some of the common reasons for not having enough fertile-quality cervical fluid:
- Not drinking enough water – Sometimes, a lack of cervical fluid could just mean you’re dehydrated. A general rule is to take your weight in pounds and divide it by two – that’s how many ounces of water you should be drinking each day. If you live in a dry climate (such as we do here in Boulder!), you may need to drink more.
- Diet/lifestyle – Make sure you’re eating a balanced diet with plenty of essential fatty acids, and that you’re getting regular exercise. For more information on dietary recommendations and herbal supplements that can increase cervical fluid, please read this article and this one.
- Being significantly underweight – If you’re underweight (if your BMI is less than 19), your body may not be producing enough estrogen in order to produce fertile CF. Being underweight can also interfere with ovulation. For some useful information on how to achieve a healthy weight to optimize your fertility, please read this article.
- Douching – I really hope douching is well on its way to being a thing of the past, but I have to say it for good measure – DON’T DOUCHE! Seriously, not only will it wash away precious cervical fluid, but it will also wash out the good bacteria that’s necessary for vaginal health and increase your likelihood of getting a vaginal infection by a lot. Same goes for vaginal ‘deodorants’. Don’t use them. Trust me, you smell fine. Or if you don’t, it’s possible you have a vaginal infection, and using these feminine ‘hygiene’ products will only make it worse.
- Certain medications – Some medications can have the side effect of drying up your cervical fluid. If you’re on any of these medications, talk to your doctor about switching to a different medication, or, if that’s not possible, ask about ways to get around this particular side effect:
- Antihistamines and allergy medications
- Cough suppressants and cold medicines
- Some fertility medications, including Clomid
- Some anti-depressants
- Some sleep aids
- Vaginal infection – If you have a vaginal infection, you might notice a lot of thick, sticky cervical fluid throughout your cycle – but unfortunately, this CF is hostile to sperm. If you think you may have a vaginal infection, talk to your doctor as soon as you’re able
- Hormonal imbalance – The catch-all title of ‘hormonal imbalance’ can refer to a lot of different things, but the truth is, hormonal imbalances are rather common. If your cycles are irregular or consistently anovulatory, or if you notice any other abnormalities with your cycle (such as consistently low basal temperatures or a short luteal phase), or if you feel that no matter what you do, your health is out of whack (such as feeling tired all the time, or anxious, depressed, or irritable, having low libido, persistent weight gain or loss of muscle mass, poor sleep patterns, and digestive problems, among other symptoms), you may want to consider getting your hormones tested. Endocrinologists can do blood tests to determine what’s going on, or you can order a home hormone test to do it yourself. Alternatively, many people have great success working with holistic practitioners such as naturopaths, herbalists, and acupuncturists to solve hormonal imbalances. If you think you may have a hormonal imbalance, it’s up to you to decide the route that’s best for you.
As a general recommendation, you may also want to consider using a conception lubricant such as ToConceive, which increases your body’s natural arousal lubrication, making it easier for sperm to reach the egg.