If you’ve noticed the abbreviation EWCM on your fertility chart at the doctors or been on any of the many fertility forums online, you may be wondering what this means. EWCM stands for Egg White Cervical Mucus. It is used to describe the appearance of cervical mucus during your most fertile time, after ovulation.
Your cervical mucus can begin to look like raw egg whites, clear to white and stringy, up to five days before you ovulate, although two to three days before is more common and it may be as little as one day. This mucus has a very important job; it provides the sperm food, protection, and an easy path to the egg for fertilization.
As an ideal environment for the sperm to swim, it also changes the more acidic environment of the vagina into a place where the sperm should thrive. The mucus is released by your body, triggered by the hormones that also cause the ovaries to release the egg. These changes come about in order to increase your chance of getting pregnant.
Other changes are triggered as well. Just before ovulation occurs your cervix will become softer, move up in your body a little higher and open just a bit. At this time your body creates as much as thirty times the amount of cervical mucus as it does otherwise. It will also transform from being a little sticky, to creamier, then a little watery, until it finally resembles egg whites. After ovulation the mucus will reduce, sometimes drying up almost completely, then transforming back to sticky. Some women will have their mucus become a little water and white just before menstruation occurs, however this does not signal that they can become pregnant during this time.
Checking Your Vaginal Area for Egg White Cervical Mucus
The website beautifulcervix.com has very graphic pictures of what a woman’s cervix looks like through menstruation and with all mucus types. Check here for the photos.
Because the appearance of EWCM signifies the ideal time for pregnancy, those who are trying to become pregnant need to learn how to track the changes to their cervical mucus and identify the ideal time for sexual intercourse.
Many women can check their underwear for this change, or will clean their hands and insert a finger into their vagina to collect the mucus. EWCM will be a little slippery and will stretch a few inches between fingers before breaking. The color will be transparent to white in color, looking like the raw egg whites it is named after. Because this mucus is a sign of your most fertile time of the month, having sex when EWCM is present may increase your chances of getting pregnant.
You don’t want to check for EWCM right before or after sex as arousal changes the appearance and consistency of vaginal discharge. After sex especially, as the look and form of semen can be confused with this discharge.
EWCM after Ovulation
If you notice Egg White Cervical Mucus after you should have ovulated there are a couple of possibilities. Estrogen is one of the hormones that cause EWCM to be produced. A week or so after ovulation estrogen may spike again, and while this increase isn’t as high as it is when you ovulate, it may be enough to cause EWCM looking mucus. Estrogen and Progesterone hormone levels also spike a bit in order to trigger the uterine walls to prepare for implantation, meaning you may also see a little EWCM looking mucus at this time as well. While EWCM occurring at these times is not typical, it isn’t unheard of.
Another reason for seeing EWCM after you think you’ve ovulated is that there may be a chance ovulation was delayed for some reason. Your body can get ready to ovulate, and then it is postponed for a number of factors, including illness and added stress. For this reason you should also look for other signs of fertility, including a clear thermal shift. If you are trying to get pregnant you should try to have sex anytime you detect Egg White Cervical Mucus.
Another cause of EWCM during infertile periods in called an anovulatory cycle. This is tracked when you have multiple periods of EWCM with no temperature change. Your body could be trying to ovulate, but isn’t. If you notice this occurring on your personal charts you may want to speak to your doctor.
Egg White Cervical Mucus is typically seen right before, during, and after ovulation when you are most fertile. This mucus is used by the sperm in order to easily swim and survive during the time it takes for it to reach and fertilize the egg. Women check for EWCM in order to conceive.