To identify your most fertile days, it is helpful to monitor your cervical mucous. You should start checking your cervical mucous as soon as your period ends. What you are looking for is slippery stretchy mucous that looks similar to egg whites. When you see this kind of cervical mucous, there is a good chance you will be ovulating soon.
Some women have a hard time differentiating between fertile cervical mucous and semen. If you have just recently started fertility charting or really looking closely at your mucous patterns, you may not be able to tell them apart. With time and careful observation, you should be able to distinguish EWCM from semen.
Here are some ways to tell the difference between EWCM and semen:
EWCM is stretchy: EWCM is very elastic. If you put it between your fingers, it will stretch without breaking apart. Semen, on the other hand, doesn’t stretch and will break apart if you put it between your fingers and try to stretch it.
EWCM is slippery and clear: While semen may feel slippery as well, it looks white and cloudy. Not clear, like EWCM. EWCM is more transparent and feels very slippery.
EWCM does not absorb easily: If you look at the toilet paper when you use the bathroom and notice mucous on the toilet paper, you can tell if it is actually mucous by waiting a few minutes. If it is semen it will quickly absorb into the toilet paper, whereas EWCM generally will sit on top of the toilet paper.
EWCM will form a ball in water: When you go to the bathroom, let the mucous drop into the toilet water. If it turns into a ball and sinks, it is most likely EWCM. If it dissolves into the water, it is most likely semen.
Some other tips for telling the difference:
Does it make sense? Are you approaching ovulation or is your period close to arriving. If you are close to ovulating, what you see may be EWCM. If you have already had a patch of EWCM and are fairly sure you have already ovulated, it could be that what you are seeing is semen, especially if you recently had intercourse.
Go with your feelings. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between EWCM and semen just by looking at it. What you feel is more indicative of your fertility. Do you feel wet or lubricated? If you feel very slippery, use your feelings as your guide instead of simply relying on what you can physically see.
What if you are not sure? If you can’t tell if what you are seeing is semen or EWCM, it is better to err on the side of caution. Consider it EWCM and watch for other signs you might be ovulating.