Making sense of cervical fluid

Cervical fluid, otherwise known as discharge, is a see-through to a white and creamy substance that is secreted by your cervix and comes out through your vagina. Estrogen is the hormone responsible for producing cervical fluid. Throughout your menstrual cycle, the amount and consistency of cervical fluid that is produced will fluctuate. You might have noticed this fluid in your underwear or when you wipe going to the loo. It is completely normal and can indicate what phase of your cycle you are in.

How cervical fluid can change throughout your cycle:

  • After your period

You might experience a rather dry vaginal sensation just after your period, in most cases, no cervical fluid will be present. After a few days, you can develop a cervical fluid that is dry – like dry toothpaste. Shortly after a creamy cervical fluid with a lotion consistency will follow, it’s also known to give you a rather cold vaginal sensation.

  • Your fertile days before ovulation

The most fertile cervical fluid is produced coming up to your ovulation. It is wet, extremely slippery and may even stretch between your fingers for a couple of centimetres. Our body prepares for a possible pregnancy every month, this type of cervical fluid provides a good fertile environment for sperm to survive – it nourishes them and helps them swim.

By using protection such as a condom on red fertile days, you can stop this from happening.

You will notice this as a somewhat symmetrical round pattern on your underwear; this is because it mainly consists of water. This is often known as egg white cervical fluid as it resembles its consistency.

  • Post ovulation

After ovulation, you are no longer fertile and can experience dry, sticky or no cervical fluid again up until your period.

Although cervical fluid is a good fertility indicator, it varies from one person to the next. It can also be difficult to interpret, is influenced by sexual secretion (natural lubricant) and is a subjective measurement.

Natural Cycles takes the main indicator of temperature into account, which is an objective measure. The unique algorithm behind the app also takes many other factors like sperm survival, and your unique temperature fluctuations and cycle irregularities into account. It then calculates whether you are fertile or not. This method is backed by clinical studies and has been proven to be very effective.

You can also take note of your cervical fluid in the ‘Notes’ section in the Natural Cycles app, so you can get to know your own body better because knowing #yourcyclematters.


Weschler, T. (2015). Taking charge of your fertility: the definitive guide to natural birth control, pregnancy


The most important female hormones you’ve gotta know

Hormones play a very important role not only in your menstrual cycle but in overall health. Sometimes they sound a little difficult to wrap your head around but we’re here to help break it all down. Here is what you really need to know about your female hormones.

You can think about hormones as your body’s communication system. They trigger a lot of important processes such as making you feel hungry or tired. During your menstrual cycle, these hormones rise and fall in a specific pattern causing changes in your body. Some you can see, such as your period, but others you cannot, such as ovulation.

Estrogen: the hormone behind your period

This hormone fluctuates over the course of your cycle. A gradual rise in the level of estrogen in the first two weeks of the menstrual cycle — the follicular phase  — is what causes your uterine lining to build up each month.

You might notice that your sex drive tends to increase in the days leading up to ovulation. Once you have ovulated your estrogen levels drop quite sharply, which might cause you to feel down, but they start to rise again a little until your period comes along.

If no pregnancy occurs, which is most often the case, estrogen (and progesterone) levels will drop again in the second phase of the cycle, causing your uterine lining to be shed i.e. your period and your next cycle to begin.

Luteinizing hormone: makes you ovulate

This is the hormone that causes your egg to be released from the ovary. As with all hormones, LH is present throughout the cycle, yet the surge happens just before ovulation.

This is why Natural Cycles will ask you to test for LH for a couple of days before you are expected to ovulate. It indicates whether your body is getting ready to ovulate or not. A positive result is a great indicator that you are likely about to ovulate, but the app can only confirm if you have ovulated with following high temperatures which are caused by….

Progesterone: causes your temperature rise

Progesterone levels shoot up once an egg was released from your ovaries i.e. ovulation has occurred.

This hormone causes your body to warm up a little. If you take a look at your Natural Cycles graph – you will see that your temperature is higher after you have ovulated. This is the main indicator the algorithm uses to identify your ovulation.

Should a woman become pregnant, the progesterone levels will continue to rise and so will her temperature. Whereas you will see your temperature drop again as progesterone drops once your period arrives.

Progesterone, though essential for reproduction, can bring along annoying symptoms for women during the last two weeks before your period.

These symptoms more commonly known as PMS include bloating, breast tenderness, and acne. It helps to keep track of these symptoms in the app and even things like exercising can help to counteract.


Your female hormones determine what goes on during your menstrual cycle and the changes you experience during the different phases. So getting to know them will explain a few things not only about how your body works but also how tracking your temperature can identify your ovulation and fertile days.

Your Natural Cycles team


What happens during your menstrual cycle?

A menstrual cycle is simply the recurring process of preparing your body for a possible pregnancy. Possible being the word of importance here.  

It actually starts on the first day of your period and ends when your next one comes. A cycle usually lasts about 29 days on average but we are all unique and so is every cycle. Which is why it’s great to keep track of yours with Natural Cycles – you’ll know exactly how long your cycle is and it detects variations, no matter how small or big those might be.

Your cycle has two main phases, the follicular and luteal phase. These phases all drill down to hormonal changes in your body. Hormones are chemicals that pretty much control a lot of things in your body and its’ functions; from complex things like determining when you can get pregnant or not to whether you’re feeling particularly hungry or not.

What happens during the cycle phases?

Phase 1: ‘the follicular phase’.

This is when your body is preparing to ovulate i.e. release an egg from your ovaries. The days leading up to ovulation are your most fertile days and the risk of pregnancy is relatively high. Which is why they will always be red days in the app when you are preventing a pregnancy.

The follicular phase starts on the first day of your period, and ends when you ovulate. Your body temperature will remain lower during the first phase of your cycle. Which is one of the main indicators for the app to know what phase of your cycle you are in and why you have to measure your temperature every morning.

Phase 2: ‘the luteal phase’

This phase begins once you have ovulated. The egg survives 12-24 hours from the time it has been released. At the same time, a reproductive hormone called progesterone is released, which causes your temperature to rise. Your temperature will be higher in the second phase of your cycle.

Temperature is the main indicator Natural Cycles uses to detect that you have ovulated, but there are some other signs you are ovulating you might notice too.

If the egg is not fertilised by sperm, which can live for up to 5 days in the body, your progesterone levels will drop again. (An easy way to prevent the sperm from meeting the egg, is to use condoms.) The dropped levels of progesterone will also cause your period to arrive, and so your next cycle begins 😉


We are very excited to go into depth into the topic following months, so do go ahead and comment with any feedback you might have and let us know what you would like us to talk about more.

We’re all about educating because the knowledge that lies behind the menstrual cycle not only allows you to truly understand and believe in how Natural Cycles works but it gives you control.

So help us with this movement, go ahead and share this blogpost! #yourcyclematters

3 ways traveling can impact your cycle

The summer months are here and we all know what that means – traveling through time zones, sun tanning, beach chilling, long nights and sipping cocktails.

Traveling can affect your routine and cycle for several reasons and it is not uncommon to experience a shift in your cycle. Some women experience shorter, longer or even anovulatory cycles.

Here’s some more info on what can affect your cycle when traveling, that way you’ll be prepared and can get to know your body even better.

Switching time zones

Usually the further you go, the more impact it will have on your cycle. This tends to go hand in hand with being exposed to completely different environments and jet lag that will affect sleeping patterns. That’s why we recommend tapping ‘deviating temp.’ until you have adjusted to the new time zone and have a good nights rest (1-2 nights upon arrival and departure).

Stressful moments

Keep in mind that travel acts as a stressor on the body and can affect the length of your cycle and whether or not you ovulate. So it’s important to keep track of your cycle and to check the app every day, as things might shift.

Environment, Weather, and Dietary changes

Traveling usually means change – from the bed you sleep on to the food you eat. Although you might be traveling to a warmer country, your body tends to regulate its temperature quite well. So if you slept well, you can measure as normal. You can read more about how warm weather affects your temperature here.

Wondering how to use Natural Cycles when traveling? Check out our Cyclerpedia article for more info.


Hope you enjoy your summer holidays,
Your Natural Cycles Team

Menstruation Hygiene Awareness Day

It’s the Menstruation Hygiene Awareness Day on May 28th. This year the theme is “Education about menstruation can change everything”, and we here at Natural Cycles cannot agree more. So this week’s agenda is to raise discussions around the topic.

Education about menstruation can change everything

Regardless of where in the world, periods have always been surrounded by taboos. Although certain societies have come extremely far when it comes to education and availability of hygiene products, did you know that in Ghana girls don’t even know about menstruation when they hit puberty? In Iran many girls think menstruation is a disease? Or that even in Sweden it can take up to 8 years to get a diagnosis for endometriosis?

This of course has an impact on girls’ and women’s emotional state, lifestyle and health. With raising awareness and educating we believe in a world where girls and women should not be ashamed of something as natural as their periods, or treated differently because of it. Every woman has the right to know how her body, how the menstrual cycle works and just how unique she is.

Make sure to follow us on Instagram & Facebook this week for more. Take a stand and post your why experiences using the hashtags #Menstruationmatters to join the discussion!


How your cycle can affect your skin

Us ladies don’t always have it easy do we? Along with hormonal changes, mood swings, PMS and periods – turns out your skin tends to change over the course of your cycle too. This goes hand in hand with your monthly menstrual cycle and changes in hormones.

You might have already noticed some of these changes, but here’s a complete guide on what you might expect during the different phases of your cycle and how you can adapt your skin care a little to help compensate these changes. Of course everyone is different but you can take notes in the Natural Cycles app to keep track of changes and maybe even tweak your skin care routine.


Period: skin is dry

In the beginning of your cycle, which starts on the first day of your period (Cycle Day 1), your levels of both progesterone and estrogen are quite low. This can cause skin to feel drier and wrinkles might become more obvious.

Tip: Pamper your skin, use gently cleansers and products designed to plump and hydrate your skin.

Follicular phase: skin is stronger

Your ovaries resume the production of estrogen as your period ends, which plumps the skin and encourages collagen production. This gives your skin strength and it will look very plump and healthy. In fact, your skin is not as sensitive to pain during this time.

Tip: Carry out hair removal or skin peelings for dry skin patches during this time.

Ovulation: skin is healthy and plump

This is often the time of the month where you are at your best. You feel great and your skin is healthy and plump. Increased estrogen means collagen is high but it can also lead to some pimples for some women as spots in your skin can get oilier.

Tip: If your gonna get some passport photos taken, do it now 😉

Luteal Phase: skin is oily and prone to break out

Once you ovulate, your body starts producing the hormone progesterone. Which we know to cause the temperature rise and helps the app detect ovulation. Progesterone also stimulates the production of sebum, which is a thick and oily substance that acts a natural skin lubricant. Which can ultimately also cause pores to clog up and be the cause of breakouts.

Tip: Soak up excess oil on the skin surface with a purifying and detoxifying mask.

PMS: skin is puffy

Some women tend to retain water during this time and skin looks puffier. Also because you tend to crave junk food and sugary treats your skin might suffer.

Tip: Do your best to stick to healthy foods and keep water intake high.


Want to keep track of your cycle and take note of changes to your skin throughout? Natural Cycles will tell you exactly what stage in your cycle your at.,0

It’s getting hot in here. Why does my temperature rise after ovulation?

You might have noticed that after ovulation, your temperature tends to rise. Or if you’re new to us, now you know 😉 This is also an indicator for the app to know how to calculate your green and red days.

Your temperature is the main indicator the algorithm the app takes into account. This is because your temperature is linked to the hormone levels in your body, and changes throughout your cycle. Once an egg is released from the ovaries (ovulation), your body starts producing the hormone progesterone. This hormone prepares the lining of the uterus for possible implantation and also causes your temperature to rise.

Progesterone is actually only produced in high amounts once ovulation has occurred and once you have several high temperature readings the app will confirm that you have ovulated. You might even notice that you feel a little warmer at night in bed.

So the days before your temperature rise are the most fertile days of your cycle (be sure to use protection if you are preventing a pregnancy.)

Your temperature will drop back down again if the egg has not been fertilised, you will see that this will happen just before or during your period. And a new cycle begins again. On the other hand when a pregnancy occurs the temperature remains elevated and does not drop.

So you will see that you have a relatively lower temperature in the first phase of your cycle (follicular phase) and a rise in the second phase (luteal phase).

Hope that clears things up for you Cyclers. Have you noticed your temperature rise, or do you even feel it ? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


5 surprising facts about the female egg cell

1. It’s the biggest cell in your body

Most cells in our bodies cannot be seen without a microscope, but the female egg cell is big enough to be visible to the naked eye. Pretty impressive huh?

2. You’re born with all of your eggs in two baskets

Every woman is born with a set of eggs in her ovaries opposed to men who produce new sperm every 90 days. You can have as many as 7 million eggs in your ovaries when you are born.

3. Eggs decline over time

Although you are born with millions of eggs they will diminish over time so you end up with around 700,000 by the time you hit puberty. Each month you continue to lose eggs, at the point of menopause you will have approximately less than 1000 eggs remaining. Opposed to common misconception neither pregnancy nor hormonal contraception slows the monthly recruitment and loss of eggs down.

4. You release an egg every cycle

For most women the body initiates ovulation every cycle, which is when you have a positive LH test – it indicates your body is getting ready for ovulation. But some women have the potential to release two eggs during one cycle, one per ovary, which is how fraternal twins are made. This is only possible within a 24 hour period.

Women who take hormonal contraception do not release an egg every cycle, as it inhibits ovulation. This is how pregnancy is prevented – if there is no egg to meet the sperm you cannot get pregnant. A regular cycle without ovulation is known as an anovulatory cycle.

5. An egg has a short lifespan after ovulation

Once released, an egg can only be fertilised over the next 12-24 hours. Sperm, on the other hand, can live up to 5 days if the sperm encounters the right environment. Natural Cycles takes these factors into account when calculating your fertile days.



Your Natural Cycles team


3 ways exercise can affect your menstrual cycle.

January is the time where we like to hit the ground running when it comes to exercising. It’s great for the mind and body on so many different levels, but did you know that it could also be connected to the ups and downs of your menstrual cycle? Here’s a closer look at how exercise can affect your menstrual cycle and periods.

1.Relieve PMS symptoms and cramps

Exercise is just one of the things that may just relieve those aching symptoms so many women experience around that time of the month. We know the feeling of wanting to crawl up into a ball for the week but getting your heart pumping might just give you the boost you need. Read more on relieving PMS here.

2.Induce period

Cycle irregularities are more common than you might think, and period delays can be caused by numerous reasons. One major factor that tends to cause irregularities is stress. Exercising will not only reduce stress levels but may just be the movement and circulation your body needs to get that flow going.

3.Keep the balance

Exercising takes a lot of energy, and although it hosts many benefits excessive exercise can also take a toll. If body mass drops very low it may cause a loss of ovulation and periods. Similarly, an increased level of body mass can cause cycle irregularities. It’s all about keeping the balance right.


What can help you relieve PMS?

Mood swings, fatigue and cramps are just some of the recurring symptoms of discomfort that many women experience just before their periods arrive. In our previous blog post we talked more about common PMS symptoms.

So what can you do to relieve these aching symptoms? We have found that certain lifestyle and dietary changes could just do the trick.

what can help you relieve PMS?

1. Exercise

Although you literally feel like crawling up into a ball and not moving from the couch for those couple of days, do your best to make yourself go out and exercise – at times when you feel like you have the least energy, exercise will give you the necessary boost you need.

A study carried out amongst non-athlete girls has shown that after 8 weeks of regular aerobic exercise PMS symptoms were reduced and that this can be used as a means of treatment. Aerobic exercises include walking, swimming, cycling, swimming – but pretty much anything that increases your heart rate and lung function is great.

2. Dietary changes

Reduce fat, salt and sugar. During your time of the month it’s best to keep your blood sugar levels stable. You can do this by not only eating healthier but eating six small meals a day rather than three big ones. We know that PMS can have you craving all of these unhealthy foods, but do your best to stock up on healthy yummy options like whole wheat goods, leafy greens, dark chocolate, yoghurt, nuts and fruit and keeping junk intake minimal. You might also want to consider avoiding caffeine and alcohol if you’re affected by symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, insomnia and depression.


3. Orgasms

When you orgasm the blood flow in the uterus increases, which can relieve cramps during periods. Not only that, the chemicals that are released in your brain when you orgasm are a natural pain killer. So next time when you reach for painkillers on your bedside table, consider turning over to your partner instead 😉


4. Reduce stress and relax

Stress is known to have a negative effect on your time of the month, so get enough sleep and try out some exercises like deep breathing, treat yourself to a massage once a month or do some yoga and meditation to relax the mind.


5. Take note of your symptoms

Since every woman and every cycle is different you can use the Natural Cycles app to chart your symptoms and take note of when they were significantly worse or better, that way you can get to know your body and what triggers worse PMS symptoms or relieves them better.

Mild to moderate symptoms are quite common amongst women but if they begin to interfere with your daily life you should seek some medical advice, as it is possible that you may be suffering under a medical condition.

Hope this helps ladies! What has helped you relieve PMS symptoms? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

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