Vulvar mucus observations and the probability of pregnancy

Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Jun;101(6):1285-93. doi: 10.1016/s0029-7844(03)00358-2.


Objective: To assess the day-specific and cycle-specific probabilities of conception leading to clinical pregnancy, in relation to the timing of intercourse and vulvar mucus observations.

Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of women beginning use of the Creighton Model Fertility Care System in Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, and California. Data were abstracted from Creighton Model Fertility Care System records, including women's daily standardized vulvar observations of cervical mucus discharge, days of intercourse, and clinically evident pregnancy (conception). Established statistical models were used to estimate day-specific probabilities of conception.

Results: Data were analyzed from 1681 cycles with 81 conceptions from 309 normally fertile couples (initially seeking to avoid pregnancy) and from 373 cycles with 30 conceptions from 117 subfertile couples (who were initially trying to achieve pregnancy). The highest probability of pregnancy occurred on the peak day of vulvar mucus observation (.38 for normally fertile couples and.14 for subfertile couples). The probability of pregnancy was greater than.05 for normally fertile couples from 3 days before to 2 days after the peak, and for subfertile couples from 1 day before to 1 day after the peak. The cycle-specific probability of conception correlated with the quality of mucus discharge in normally fertile couples but not in subfertile couples.

Conclusion: Standardized vulvar observations of vaginal mucus discharge identify the days with the greatest likelihood of conception from intercourse in normal fertility and subfertility and provide an indicator of the overall potential for conception in a given menstrual cycle in normal fertility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cervix Mucus*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coitus
  • Female
  • Fertility
  • Fertilization
  • Humans
  • Infertility
  • Male
  • Ovulation Detection* / methods
  • Pregnancy
  • Probability
  • Retrospective Studies