Tracking your cervical position is yet another way to understand your personal fertility cycle. When used in combination with daily BBT and cervical fluid monitoring, you can be even MORE certain of when you’re about to ovulate, ovulating, or have ovulated—i.e. when you are more likely to get, or not get, pregnant! It can also help clarify where you are in your cycle when other factors are uncertain, such as if you have a fever, which can alter your BBT, or if semen from unprotected sex gets mixed in with cervical fluid.
Cervix tracking may sound difficult at first. How are you supposed to keep track of something you can’t see? Easy! All you need is your finger and your cervix.
(Note: Because the cervix can shift higher into the vagina during sleep, you may want to check your cervix later in the day or before going to bed. However, as long as you check your cervix around the same time each day, you should be able to consistently track cervical changes.)
First, make sure your hands are clean. (If you have a yeast infection or any other vaginal infection, wait until the infection has cleared to check your cervix). Squat or stand with one foot raised on a stool, the edge of a bathtub, a toilet seat, etc. Then, gently insert your index or middle finger into your vagina until you feel your cervix, which should feel like a nodule protruding from the back of the walls of your vagina. If you’re not close to ovulation, you should be able to find your cervix pretty easily. If you are close to ovulation, your cervix may be higher in your vagina and harder to reach. If your finger is long enough, you may be able to feel a small dent or hole in the middle of your cervix. This hole, called the os, is the opening to your uterus.
When tracking your cervix, you’ll want to take note of three factors: 1) how deep your cervix is in your vagina; 2) how hard or soft your cervix is; and 3) whether the os feels open or closed.
- While menstruating, your cervix may feel low and firm (like the tip of your nose), and the os feels open as it releases blood. Once your period is over, the os feels closed.
- As you approach ovulation, the cervix usually rises higher in the vagina and begins to feel softer (like pursed lips). The os starts to feel slightly open again.
- After ovulation, the cervix returns to a low position, and feels firm. The os feels closed until you get your period again a few weeks later.
Remember, not all women’s cycles are the same, so don’t worry if yours doesn’t follow this pattern. If you have a retroverted uterus, meaning the uterus is tipped backwards (away from the bladder) instead of forwards, your cervix may be easier to reach near ovulation and harder to reach when you’re not ovulating. Women who have given birth vaginally tend to have softer cervixes throughout their cycles.
You may be wondering if it is possible to determine whether you are pregnant from your cervical position. While the position of the cervix does change for pregnant women (it will usually rise and become softer), it doesn’t happen at the same time for every woman—it could happen just days after conception, or not until well into the first month of pregnancy. So, on its own, cervix tracking is not a reliable indicator of pregnancy.
As with BBT and cervical fluid tracking, it’ll take a few cycles to become familiar with how your cervix changes throughout your cycle. You shouldn’t rely on cervix tracking to pinpoint when you are fertile in your cycle until after you have tracked your cervical changes for at least three or four cycles. Even then, you shouldn’t use cervix tracking alone to monitor your cycle—it’ll be most accurate when used along with BBT and cervical fluid tracking.
For more information about cervix tracking, check out the Beautiful Cervix Project. Along with an in-depth explanation of how to check your cervix, the site has photo galleries with pictures of actual cervixes taken throughout women’s cycles (the photos are graphic and may be NSFW). You can also order a cervix Self-Exam Kit so you can take a look at your own cervix! Cool!
To learn how to track cervical changes on the Kindara app, click here.