Checking the position of your cervix may sound like a complicated medical procedure, but it’s a lot easier than you think – and you don’t need to go to the doctor’s office to do it. The position of your cervix will change throughout your menstrual cycle. If you’re trying to get pregnant, knowing your cervix position can help you determine when you’re ovulating.
Table of Contents
- How to check your cervix
- What your cervical position means
- How often should you check your cervix?
- The cervix during pregnancy
How to check your cervix
1. Wash your hands
Before you get started, take the time to wash your hands well. You do not want to introduce any bacteria that could cause an infection. Use antibacterial soap if possible.
If you have a yeast infection or another type of vaginal infection, you’re advised to wait until the infection has cleared up to check your cervix.
If you have long fingernails, you may want to trim them first, so you don’t scratch the vaginal walls.
2. Find the right position for you
The next step is to find a comfortable position that you can access your cervix from. Some women find that sitting on the toilet works best. Putting one leg up on the edge of the bathtub or the toilet seat can also work well. Some women find that squatting is the most comfortable and easily accessible position.
It doesn’t matter what the position is. Just make sure that you are comfortable, and that you can safely access your cervix.
3. Check your cervix
Now that you’ve found a comfortable position, reach your middle or index finger up into your vagina. Slowly slide your finger in as far as you can, and be careful not to scratch yourself. Use an in and upward motion.
If you’re ovulating, your cervix may be up higher and out of your reach. If you’re not near ovulation, you should be able to reach your cervix with ease.
Checking your cervix and learning its position/texture will take some practice, but over time, you will get to know these changes and be able to tell when you’re ovulating with ease.
What your cervical position means
As you progress through your menstrual cycle, your cervix will change positions. The feel and the position of your cervix will let you know what stage of your cycle you’re in.
If you’re cervix is low, closed and firm, you likely haven’t ovulated yet. This is an indication that you aren’t fertile, and should wait until your cervix changes position to try for a baby.
If your cervix is high, open and soft, this may be a sign that you’re nearing ovulation. Now would be a good time to try and get pregnant.
Low and slightly open
You may notice that during menstruation, your cervix is low and slightly open. The slight opening is to allow the blood to flow through. During this stage, the cervix should feel firm, like the tip of your nose.
Cervix before period
Before your period, your cervix will be low and closed. If it’s slightly open, menstruation has likely already begun or is about to begin.
How often should you check your cervix?
If you’re trying to get pregnant, you may want to check your cervix every day or every other day. If this is your first time checking your cervix, it may take you a few weeks to get a better understanding of how your cervix feels, its position and what it all means.
Once you have a better understanding of how your cervix moves throughout your cycle, you can go longer in between each check.
The cervix during pregnancy
The cervix plays an important role in childbirth, and it goes through numerous changes throughout your pregnancy. Before pregnancy, the cervix is rigid and short. During pregnancy, it softens and also elongates.
During labor, the cervix will shorten and dilate, so the baby can pass through. As you approach term, the cervix will “ripen”. When this occurs, the water content of the cervix is much higher as is the vascularity. This softens the cervix and may cause it to appear blue in color.
What these changes do is help the cervix thin and stretch out, so it can respond to labor contractions. In early labor, the cervix will be 3cm to 4cm dilated. Some women may not even realize they are in labor at this point. As the cervix continues to dilate, contractions and labor pains become more frequent and intense.
Just before birth, the cervix will go from being closed to 10cm dilated. This provides enough room for the baby’s head to make its way out of the uterus and through the vagina.
Throughout your pregnancy, your cervix will change lengths and positions. The length of your cervix is important to monitor as it can indicate when you’re nearing labor or if you are at high risk for giving birth to a premature baby.
1. The length of your cervix during pregnancy
As you get closer to labor, the cervix will shorten and dilate. If this happens prematurely (before 37 weeks), you may be at higher risk for preterm labor and a premature birth.
There are numerous things that can influence the length of your cervix during your pregnancy. These include:
- Inflammation in the lining of the uterus
- Biological factors
- Bleeding complications
- An overdistention uterus, or a uterus that has been stretched too far
- A weak cervix
Signs of preterm labor include:
- A dull pain in the lower back
- Frequent and consistent contractions
- Pressure in the pelvic region
- Vaginal spotting
If you experience any of these symptoms during your pregnancy, you should see your doctor right away. A pelvic exam can be performed to determine whether you have an open cervix, and an ultrasound can be performed to measure the length of your cervix.
If your doctor confirms that you are in preterm labor, he or she will discuss your options and explain the health risks associated with premature birth. Steps may be taken to help delay labor.
2. The position of the cervix during early pregnancy
Throughout your pregnancy, the position of your cervix will change. The changing of positions happens at different times for different women.
Remember, just before or during ovulation, the cervix will rise and become soft. If conception occurs, the uterus will stay up high and remain soft, but will close. Cervical position in early pregnancy is typically higher, but some women may not experience this until after their expected period.
The position of your cervix will likely not be the first indication of pregnancy. The thickening of the cervix will be. During the early stages of a pregnancy, the cervix is producing more glandular cells to create the mucus plug that will keep your cervix closed and protect your baby.
It’s important to note that while the position and texture of the cervix will change during your pregnancy, it’s often not enough to give yourself a physical examination to determine if you’re pregnant. The only surefire way to check for pregnancy is to take a home pregnancy test or to see your doctor.
Checking your cervix position can help you determine when you’re ovulating, so you can improve your chances of getting pregnant. Combining this with a basal body temperature chart and tracking your menstrual cycle will greatly improve your chances of conceiving.