Did you know that the position and surface of your cervix changes during your menstrual cycle? You can learn how to monitor these changes in your cervix so that you can guess your most fertile windows and increase your chances of conception. Cervical position tracking can be used throughout the month by you to predict your most fertile windows. Done right it can let you know when your ovulation is about to occur, or indicate if you’re pregnant. It can be used by itself, or in combination with monitoring cervical mucus and/or basal body temperature.
Keep in mind that if you track your cervical position and ovulation for a year if you are under age 35– or for six months, if you are over 35–and you don’t get pregnant, you may want to consult with a fertility doctor.
What Exactly Is Cervix?
- The cervix is the lowermost part of your uterus. It’s a small passage connecting your vagina to the uterine cavity, about 1–1.5 inches or 2.5—3.8cm long. In your vagina, the cervix looks like a smooth fleshy O, about an inch or 2.5cm in diameter, with a hole in the middle, similar to furrowed lips.
- Your cervix does so much for you – it helps keep unwanted bacteria and viruses out of your uterus, it opens and closes to let sperm inside and menstrual blood outside, it produces its own lubrication and it even grows its own plug if you become pregnant. Like your vagina and clitoris, your cervix also contains nerve pathways involved in the sexual response.
- The way your cervix feels to the touch will change through your menstrual cycle. Its position in your abdomen might also change. These changes occur in response to the hormonal fluctuations that facilitate the ovulatory process. Some ligaments in the pelvis may become shorter during ovulation, for instance, and the consistency of the cervical fluid also changes.
- Around ovulation, your cervix is soft (like your ear lobe), a little open and maybe positioned high up in your abdomen. Other times it’s firm (much like the tip of your nose), firmly closed and may be positioned lower down in your abdomen. Changes in cervical height might also influence how you experience some sex positions or a pelvic exam, at different times of your cycle.
Guide To Finding Your Cervix
- Begin at a time when your cervix is likely to be low and more easily reached (for example before or after menstruation).
- Wash your hands nicely, including underneath your fingernails.
- Squat on the floor, or lift one leg up onto the toilet seat or side of the tub.
- With your palm facing up, move your longest finger carefully into your vagina (lube can come here).
- Feel around it for a round, raised circle with a dimple in the middle — it’s most expected to be at the top of the front vaginal wall (closer to your belly button than to your back)
Feeling your cervix at changed intervals throughout a cycle or two will give you an idea of how it changes for you. Most people don’t learn this until they are trying to get pregnant, and are using the cervical position as a sign of forthcoming ovulation/fertility. But knowing how your cervix changes will give you an awareness of your body, which is helpful for more than just during pregnancy.
How To Keep Your Cervix Healthy
- Get an HPV vaccine if you’re eligible
- Have regular pap smears
- Use barrier protection during sex (like condoms, dental dams). Cervical cancer was once a leading cause of death amongst people of reproductive age in various countries. Rates have dropped in recent decades, largely due to the growth of cervical screening and preventative procedures, However, it’s up to you to get your cervix screened.
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and know your body and your cervix. If you think you want to take your cervical exploration a step ahead, you can try asking your doctor to show you your cervix in a mirror the next time you go for a pelvic exam. You can also do a little self exploration and buy your own speculums for at-home use.