Cervical Changes Throughout the Cycle
If you’re already charting your menstrual cycle, checking the position and texture of your cervix each day can help you confirm where you are in your cycle. If you’re not already charting, have a feel anyway – its a great skill to have in your empowered woman toolbox!
Here’s how to feel your cervix:
- Wash your hands
- Squat or stand with one foot raised on a stool.
- Insert your longest finger into your vagina until you feel your cervix. It will feel like a protruding nub/cylinder toward the back of the soft walls of your vagina. If your finger is long enough, you should be able to circle your finger all the way around the cervix and feel a little dent in the middle of it (called the os, the opening to the uterus).
- Note the following:
- How deep in your vagina is your cervix resting? (How much of your finger is inside of you?)
- Does your cervix feel soft, like pursed lips, or more firm, like the tip of your nose?
- Is your cervix angled to one side or aligned more centrally?
- Does your os feel slightly open and squishy or squeezed shut?
While menstruating, the cervix may feel firm and low and the os open as it releases blood. It may be angled to one side slightly. Once all the blood has been shed, the os again feels closed.
As ovulation nears, the rising levels of estrogen cause the ligaments that attach the uterus to the pelvis to tighten and pull the uterus up further into the body. Hence, the cervix gradually draws deeper in the vagina and if often harder to reach near ovulation. The cervix may feel softer (like pursed lips) be more centrally aligned, and the os slightly open.
After ovulation, estrogen levels drop and the cervix usually resumes feeling low, firm, and closed until she gets her period a few weeks later. It is not uncommon for the cervix to be tilted to one side.
Not all women follow this pattern exactly so don’t worry if you don’t. For example, women with retroverted (tipped) uteruses may find thier cervix easier to reach near ovulation and women who have given birth vaginally usually have softer cervices throughout the cycle. Its empowering just to know what is normal for you. You may notice your cervical changes vary from cycle to cycle or that you have a consistent pattern that aligns with your other symptoms of fertility (cervical fluid and basal body temperature).
The key is to check every day so you can feel the relative differences from day to day; cervical changes can be very subtle. Check your cervix in the same position and at the same time each day (i.e. in a squat before showering in the morning), so you’re comparing apples to apples – or cervices to cervices, as the case may be.
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