As you progress through your cycle, your cervix goes through some distinct changes that you can detect with your own fingers. Just after your period, when ovulation is still a week or more away, your cervix will be low in your vagina (you may not need to insert your whole finger to find it) and it will feel firm, like the tip of your nose. You may feel a small dimple on the surface of your cervix which feels tightly shut. (Women who have given birth may find that their cervices never fully close.) As you get closer to ovulation, your cervix will typically rise higher into your vagina (you may be able to only barely reach it), the dimple will open, and your cervix will feel wetter and softer – like your lips.
The idea of checking your cervix can make some women feel uncomfortable – it’s a body part that can seem intimidating if you’re not accustomed to touching it. But if you’re curious about cervix-tracking, here are four awesome things your cervix can teach you if you decide to take the plunge.
1. Your current fertility status. Sometimes, your cervix can be the most reactive fertility sign, closing up just hours after ovulation is over! Moreover, your cervix is one sign that will never be affected by factors such as restless sleep and alcohol which can disrupt your temperature pattern, or antihistamines which can dry up your cervical fluid. (However, cervix position alone should never be relied on for avoiding pregnancy. Make sure you’ve fulfilled the criteria of the Peak +4 Rule and the Temp +3 Rule before having unprotected sex!) If you’d like some more information on how to actually perform cervix tracking, here is an article that may interest you.
2. How to use a menstrual cup. Some women experience leakage the first time they try to use a menstrual cup because the opening of the cup is against the vaginal wall instead of facing the cervix, so the menstrual fluid does not collect in the cup. Using your fingers to find your cervix can give you a better idea of where to place your cup so that it feels comfortable and doesn’t leak.
3. Why sex feels different from one time to the next. If you’ve ever noticed that sex feels different from one week to the next, you’re not alone – cervix position can have a noticeable effect on how certain sexual positions feel. You may find that some positions feel best around the time of ovulation, while the same position causes you discomfort when you’re infertile. Remember, your cervix moves around a lot, and it can even shift from one position to another throughout the day. Bumping it can be unpleasant!
4. You own your entire body, inside and out! Learning to check your cervix can give you a new relationship with your own anatomy. Unfortunately, many women are discouraged from childhood from touching their own genitals because they are taught that their genitals are “dirty.” Touching your cervix is an empowering act because it affirms that you aren’t afraid to take possession of your own body. Give it a try!