Cervical Mucus Before Your Period: What You Need to Know

Donna Christiano is an award-winning journalist, specializing in women and children's health issues. She has been published in national consumer magazines and writes frequently for leading health websites.

Learn about our editorial processPublished on December 01, 2021Medically reviewedVerywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.byMonique Rainford, MD Medically reviewed byMonique Rainford, MD

Monique Rainford, MD, is board-certified in obstetrics-gynecology, and currently serves as an Assistant Clinical Professor at Yale Medicine. She is the former chief of obstetrics-gynecology at Yale Health.

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Cervical mucus is a fluid produced by the glands of the cervix, which sits at the top of the vagina, at the opening of the uterus. It’s made in response to the hormone estrogen. The fluid, which helps remove old cells and keeps the uterus free from bacteria and other organisms, flows out of your vagina.

As hormonal levels rise and fall throughout your menstrual cycle, so will the quantity and appearance of your cervical mucus. Depending on where you are in your cycle, there might be a little or a lot of mucus. It can also be thick and pasty or clear, gel-like, and stretchy.

This discharge is common and normal and can help keep sperm from meeting an egg (when the mucus is thick and pasty) or increase the chances of conception (when the mucus is wet and slippery).

This article will discuss the appearance of cervical mucus before your menstrual period and throughout your cycle.


Cervical mucus is more than 90% water. The rest is made up of compounds such as amino acids, proteins, and oils. At different times in your menstrual cycle, your cervical mucus (also called cervical fluid) will look and feel different.

People tend to get the most mucus right before and at the time of ovulation. Some people even use what’s called the cervical mucus method to help them determine when they’re most fertile.

Cervical mucus is stimulated by the hormone estrogen, which ebbs and flows during a person’s menstrual cycle.

When estrogen reaches its peak, your cervix produces a fluid that typically has an egg white consistency. When the hormone levels start dipping, you may have no mucus or mucus that’s thick and pasty.

Here’s a typical timeline of changes that occur to your cervical mucus:

Some hormonal forms of birth control can alter cervical mucus. For example, the minipill, a birth control pill that uses only progestin (a synthetic progesterone), thickens cervical mucus, thereby making it harder for sperm to get to an egg.

Cervical Mucus Before Your Period: What You Need to Know


The production of cervical mucus is strongly correlated to the rise of estrogen in a person’s body. Estrogen rises before and at ovulation to help build up the lining of the uterus so a fertilized egg can implant and grow.

When there’s little estrogen circulating (typically at the start of the menstrual cycle), there’s little to no cervical mucus.

But when estrogen peaks at mid-cycle (around day 14 of a typical 28-day menstrual cycle), cervical mucus becomes more abundant. It also changes from thick to creamy and then slippery and transparent as estrogen increases.

This more elastic fluid helps move the sperm through the reproductive tract, where it can fertilize an egg released at ovulation.

Discharge and Pregnancy

After ovulation, cervical mucus becomes drier and less noticeable—in fact, you may not produce any at all as you get to the end of your cycle.

But if pregnancy occurs, estrogen levels remain high to nourish your uterine lining and increase blood flow to your developing fetus. That means you may notice more cervical mucus throughout your pregnancy.

Just as when you’re not pregnant, the cervical mucus will help protect your uterus from bacteria, viruses, and other substances that can cause infections and other problems.

What You Need to Know About Discharge During Pregnancy

When to Talk to a Doctor

Cervical mucus and vaginal discharge are both completely normal. The mucus/discharge should be clear, milky, or slightly yellow. It’s also often odorless or has a very mild odor.

Cervical mucus that has a strong smell or an atypical color is a sign there may be a problem. Talk to your healthcare professional if you notice any of the following:

If you notice a change in the amount, color, or odor of cervical mucus that’s out of the ordinary for you, contact your doctor.


Cervical mucus is naturally produced by the cervix. It has a protective function for the cervix and vagina. It is typical to see fluctuations in the amount and appearance of cervical mucus throughout the menstrual cycle since it is influenced by estrogen levels.

Depending on the thickness of the mucus, it can impede sperm or help them along in their journey to an egg. Cervical mucus may also change color, odor, or amount with a vaginal yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis, and other infections.

A Word From Verywell

Cervical mucus is common and normal and serves several purposes, including helping to wash debris, bacteria, and irritants from your cervix and vagina. But definitely talk to your doctor if you notice changes, such as an off odor or color to your discharge. These can be signs of an infection or another issue that needs medical attention.

In general, premenopausal people produce about 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of discharge a day.

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