|Posted on May 10, 2012 at 2:10 PM|
One of the more confusing things a new charter can run into is continuous mucus. Continuous mucus isn't part of the classic mucus phase that goes with the approach of ovulation, but mucus that is present before or after this phase. Not really what we expect, right? Usually we consider any and all mucus that can be picked up off the tissue to be stuff that sperm can live in and stuff that means ovulation is approaching.
Continuous mucus isn't generally a healthy mucus pattern, although it might not be an indication of anything very serious. It's associated with coming off of hormonal contraceptives, other types of hormonal imbalance, imbalance in the flora of the vagina, or cervical inflammation. (It's also common with breastfeeding, in which case it's a temporary condition that will change as the breastfeeding woman's hormones change.) So, one of the goals in a situation of continuous mucus is a restoration of reproductive health. But, in the meantime, you can still determine times of fertility and infertility.
The goal is to determine your "Basic Infertile Pattern" (BIP). In a healthy mucus pattern, the BIP is dryness. If you have continuous mucus, it might be, for example, pasty white discharge. Determining your BIP in a continuous mucus situation can be a little challenging, and for birth control you want to make sure you're 100% confident, so I'd encourage you to check in with me or another HRHP as you begin.
Here's the first step: Look for any "points of change." For example, after menstruation, you may notice sticky, pasty white discharge every day. Then one day it's more stretchy than it was before. Note that day with an upward arrow. Two days later, maybe it becomes clear and lubricative. Put an upward arrow there too. And if it goes back to sticky, pasty, white again, draw a downward arrow. As you learn what your points of change look like and see some consistency from cycle to cycle, you'll be able to identify your BIP.
And one more thing: always chart your basal body temperature (BBT) when you're having continuous mucus. It's an invaluable confirmation of ovulation.