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  • Writer's pictureJulie McKay, FCP

Why mucus matters

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

The Creighton Model System is all about charting mucus. But what is mucus and why does it matter? Why do we care so much about charting it? Buckle up for a mini anatomy and physiology lesson as I nerd out about mucus.

First off, what is mucus? Mucus is a hydrogel (a water based gel). It contains a lot of water, by a lot I mean 92-95%. Once we get to ovulation, that water content increases to 98%. Mucus is produced in the cervix. The cervix is part of the uterus. If we think of the uterus like an upside down pear, the neck of the pear is the cervix. There are specialized secretory cells in the cervix that produce the mucus.

Fun fact: the cervix begins secreting mucus as early as 7 months gestation in a female fetus. This is because of the hormones in the mother's bloodstream. So much happens in the womb! She will continue to produce very small amounts of mucus until she is 8 to 10 years old. She will start to produce more mucus a few months before her first period.

The cervical mucus that can be observed while wiping actually reflects the hormonal changes happening during the menstrual cycle. As estrogen increases leading up to ovulation, more mucus starts to be produced. The makeup of the mucus also changes. During times of fertility, the mucus has channels in it that the sperm can move through.

Good mucus is essential to fertility. It is often forgotten, and the focus is put on eggs and sperms. Healthy eggs and sperm are of course also important, but mucus plays a key role in fertility. Sperm only live a few hours in the female reproductive tract without mucus. With good mucus, they can live 3-5 days. This allows them to stick around until the egg is released at ovulation.

Mucus gives us so much information about the health of the cycle. The Creighton Model System has developed a method of scoring the mucus quality called the mucus cycle score. Research shows that women who have had miscarriages, infertility, or an ectopic pregnancy have a higher prevalence of low mucus cycle scores. Mucus truly does matter.

We would be honored to walk with you on your journey of learning more about your fertility. Reach out to one of our practitioners to get started.

Information for this blog post was derived from Reproductive Anatomy and Physiology: A Primer for FertilityCare Professionals Second Edition by Dr. Thomas Hilgers and The Creighton Model FertilityCare System: A Standardized Case Management Approach to Teaching Book I: Basic Teaching Skills Third Edition and Book II: Advanced Teaching Skills Second Edition by Dr. Thomas Hilgers, Susan Hilgers, Ann Prebil, and Diane Daly.

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