How to Check Your Cervix for Ovulation
The Cervix is the part of your reproductive system that is important whether you are trying to conceive or avoid pregnancy. Checking your Cervix position at home can reveal a great deal about your menstrual cycle and your overall reproductive health.
Before we can see what the Cervix can tell us, we need to understand what it is and how to find it? Although finding your Cervix is not difficult, you need to know what to look for, how a normal cervix feels, and what is not normal.
In this article, we will be discussing few important questions regarding your Cervix. We will see how you can perform a proper cervix self-examination at home and infer from it.
What is your Cervix, and what it does?
Cervix is located at the bottom part of your uterus. It is a donut-shaped organ with two openings. An average cervix is between 2.5-4.5 cm long, cylindrical, and connects the uterus and vagina. Your Cervix is mostly made from fibromuscular tissue. The Cervix serves as an exit point for the menstrual blood and the baby.
Why is it important to check your Cervix?
Checking your Cervix regularly and knowing how it normally feels is very important. It is possible to find any abnormalities such as polyps, Cysts, or even cancer if you know how your Cervix normally feels. You can tell a great deal about your fertility as well. Your Cervix feels different at different phases of your menstrual cycle. If you know what to look for, you can predict your fertility window by a Cervix home examination.
If you’re trying to get pregnant, your Cervix can tell you when you are the most fertile in your cycle. Your Cervix position and the composition of your cervical mucus, along with ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) from Fertility2Family, can help you track your ovulation.
How to do a Cervix home examination?
Before we move any further, it is important to understand that no two women have the same cervical anatomy. No two women have the same cervical changes during the menstrual cycle. Hence, the best way to know your changes is to perform self-checks frequently during your cycle. You can easily check your Cervix’s position by inserting a finger into your vagina, but we will talk in detail about exactly how to do it a bit later in the article.
That said, even before you start, it is important to make sure that you know what is normal and what is not before you draw any conclusions.
What should you look for during a cervix self-check?
Your Cervix is a donut-shaped structure at the front or top of your vagina. It can be quite hard or soft, depending on the phase of your menstrual cycle. The Cervix’s opening on the vaginal side (called the os) can be open or close as well.
Your Cervix produces a lot of secretions during your menstrual cycle called mucus. The cervical mucus can change remarkably in colour and consistency throughout your cycle. During your fertility window (ovulatory phase) of your cycle, the mucus becomes clear, slippery, and almost attains an egg-white consistency. It is supposed to help the sperm reach the egg for fertilization. When you are not fertile, the cervical mucus is white or off-white and has a creamy consistency. Such mucus is not hospitable for the sperm.
These changes can be quite subtle, and it might take time to spot these. Such changes to your Cervix are very common, and there is nothing to worry about them.
That said, there can be some potentially dangerous signs that you should never ignore. These include:
- Abnormal growth or bumps in the Cervix: If you observe a small growth on the side of your Cervix, it might be a cervical cyst or Nabothian cyst. Although both these changes are quite harmless, you should see your doctor if you observe such growth on your Cervix to rule out anything serious. You should seek your doctor’s advice, especially if you have any other abnormal symptoms.
- Changes in the cervical mucus: The cervical mucus can change significantly in consistency, colour, and even odour if you have any yeast or bacterial infection. Yeast infections often yield in a discharge that is almost cottage cheese-like inconsistency. Bacterial vaginitis, a bacterial infection of the vagina, can cause the cervical discharge to appear greyish with a fishy odour. A rare form of vaginal infection called trichomoniasis can cause the cervical mucus to become greenish-yellow and frothy.
- Abnormal bloody discharge: Spotting or bleeding between your periods is not normal. One of the most common causes of such bleeding is the use of hormonal birth control pills. That said, bleeding between the cycles might also be an indication of a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Cervical cancer is another reason for abnormal bleeding between your periods, but it is commonly diagnosed between 35 and 44. Familial history of cervical cancer has a strong correlation with the diagnosis.
If you experience any of the signs mentioned above or symptoms, book an appointment with your gynecologist immediately. They will conduct several tests to rule out any potentially serious conditions.
How to check your Cervix?
Checking your Cervix and, more importantly, identifying the subtle changes can take some time. But if you practice enough, not only can you self-examine your Cervix at home, you can also predict what’s going on in your menstrual cycle as well.
The frequency with which you should check your cervix depends on the reason you are doing it. In any case, you may want to check your cervix anywhere from once a month to as much as twice a day. The higher frequency, especially during the middle of your cycle, can help you chart the changes and predict your fertility window with much more accuracy. If you are trying to check your cervix to ensure no abnormalities, testing once a month is usually sufficient.
The best place to get your cervix home-check is during showering (or bathing) or using the bathroom. All you need is a quiet moment and privacy. While performing the cervix home-test, note how the cervix feels and the colour and texture of any secretions. The best way to do this to get the most accurate predictions is to chart your findings. Over time, you can get enough data to predict some key events during your menstrual cycle.
The following is a quick guide on how to check your Cervix at home:
Step 1: The preparation
The first step is always to prepare yourself for the examination. Please wash your hands thoroughly with soap and make sure that they are clean and well-groomed. Trimming and filing any sharp edges on your fingernails is essential as you don’t want to get a scratch down there while doing the cervix home test.
Step 2: Getting in the position
A proper position is essential to eliminate pain or any discomfort while you try to find the cervix. It’s a good thing to start at the position you use to insert a tampon. Some of the best positions are Squatting, laying down, or standing with one leg on the edge of the bathtub. You might not find the perfect positing in one go; you might have to make a bit of trial and error to find a position that works the best for you.
Step 3: Gently inserting a finger
Once you are comfortable, it is time to insert a finger into your vagina gently. Make sure that you are relaxed during this step. Taking a few deep breaths always helps. Once you insert your finger, reach for the upper front or top of your vagina. You are looking for something that is round in shape and a bit hard to touch. Again, you might not be able to find Cervix in one go; it might take several tries to locate it. If you are especially fertile, it might be even more tricky to find your Cervix.
Step 4: Chart your findings.
Charting is perhaps one of the most important steps of the entire process. You want to be as meticulous and observant as you can. Note down any changes you notice, including changes in the position, the texture of the mucous, and the overall feel of the Cervix. Over time you will start to observe patterns in these readings, especially when your fertility window starts to approach. Charting your results will help you to prepare better for conception.
Tips and Advice
As we discussed, finding Cervix can be a bit of a tricky endeavour if you are starting. You might have a ton of questions in your mind regarding the process and how to do it. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions, along with their detailed answers.
How does a normal cervix feel?
For many women, it feels soft and rubbery, kind of like the tip of your nose. For some, it might feel like a donut, round with a depression in the middle. The hardness or the softness of the cervix depends on where you are in your menstrual cycle. Your cervix can feel hard or soft, open or closed. But one thing should be very clear, no matter where you are in the cycle, the cervix should have a distinct feel to it compared to the rest of the vagina.
Open vs. Closed
Your Cervix can be ‘open’ or ‘closed.’ When we say that the Cervix is open, we are talking about the opening or ‘os’ of the horse of the Cervix. This opening usually widens and becomes softer as you approach your fertility window. Opening of the os allows the sperm to reach the egg and fertilize it. When you’re not in your fertile window, the Cervix is said to be closed. A closed cervix feels a bit harder and prevents bacteria and other foreign objects from reaching the uterus.
High vs. low
When we talk about a high or a low cervix, we are talking about the Cervix’s position within the vagina. For most women, the Cervix is situated at a slight upward angle from the vagina. As you enter your fertility window, the Cervix goes further back and upward. In other words, during your fertility window it is further away from the vaginal opening than the rest of the cycle. When you’re not as fertile, you might not have to reach farther as the Cervix is closer to the vaginal opening.
What if I can’t find my Cervix?
If you have tried a couple of times and cannot locate your Cervix, there is no need to panic. Many women are not able to identify the Cervix during the first few home examinations. You stand a good chance of finding your Cervix if you keep practising.
Some women have a tilted or retroverted uterus, and finding the Cervix in such a case can be especially difficult. This variation of the uterine anatomy is perfectly natural and nothing to worry about. The only issue is that the Cervix is located at the back of the vagina and can be difficult to feel.
If finding your uterus is difficult for you, don’t rely on charting cervical changes as a method to predict your fertility window.
Significance of cervix positions
The cervical anatomy cycles through predictable changes throughout your menstrual cycle. Most of these changes can be easily felt and monitored at home. Keeping track of these changes can help you predict your menstrual cycle phase and fertility window.
- Menstruation – During menstruation, the Cervix feels harder, low, and slightly open, allowing the menstrual blood to drain from the uterus into the vagina.
- Before Ovulation – During the follicular phase of the cycle (before ovulation), the uterus is hard and low. The opening of the Cervix, on the other hand, is closed. The cervical mucus is creamy or off-white. Sometimes the discharge can even be whitish-yellow as well.
- During Ovulation – During your cycle’s ovulation phase, the cervix becomes soft and open to allow the sperm to pass through. The Cervix generally rises to the top of your vagina, making it a bit difficult to feel. The discharge is clear, stretchy, and has an egg-white consistency.
Checking your Cervix position and the secretions is more reliable only when using other methods to predict ovulation. If you have had a vaginal birth before, it might be difficult to spot the subtle changes in the uterus, and relying on this method alone won’t produce the most accurate results.
Using an ovulation kit from Fertility2Family can be of great help in tracking your fertility along with monitoring cervical changes. Fertility2Family ovulation strip tests and sticks use the levels of fertility hormones to pinpoint your fertility window with accuracy. With all our ovulation tests, we include detailed instructions covering all the FAQ about when to have sex after getting a positive ovulation test, how to use an ovulation predictor kit and when in your menstrual cycle should you start testing with an ovulation test.
If the egg is not fertilized, you will enter the luteal phase of your cycle. And the Cervix drops again and becomes hard and closed. It produces a similar discharge as your follicular phase- whitish or yellowish.