“Continuous mucus,” or seeing some kind of discharge from the vagina every day, stops a lot of people from using Fertility Awareness. Not because it stops you from recognizing fertile and infertile days, but because it's confusing at first.
Confusion can be discouraging.
So let me clarify this, and encourage you.
Generally, we see cervical mucus for a few days, and it comes before and during ovulation. It's what tells you you're fertile. Continuous mucus isn't part of this typical phase, though – it's still there before and/or after the fertile phase.
Not what I told you to expect, right? In your intro, I said we should 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.
So this is one of those variations from the “typical” cycle that means there will be a little effort needed to personalize your use of the Justisse Method.
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 (good bacteria) of the vagina and intestines, 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), or, what you see on your infertile days. 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 UP arrow. Two days later, maybe it becomes clear and lubricative. Note that too (Another UP arrow). And if it goes back to sticky, pasty, white again, draw an arrow DOWN. 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 invaluable for confirming ovulation and giving you that clarity and confidence we're after.