How to Check Your Cervix?

Do you know why it's important to check your cervix? Besides knowing yourself, you can detect your fertile period in a more objective way.
How to Check Your Cervix?

Last update: 02 August, 2022

The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that’s connected to the vagina. This structure is sensitive to the changes that begin to occur throughout the menstrual cycle, so knowing its anatomy and characteristics can be of great help, especially when you want to become pregnant. This is achieved with a thorough examination and the detection of signs that suggest that you’re in your fertile period. But do you know how to check your cervix? Here, we’ll tell you all about it.

Is it important to check the cervix?

The cervix is the lowest part of the uterus. It has a cylindrical shape, connecting the womb to the vagina. Its tissue is fibromuscular and measures between 2.5 and 3.5 centimeters, although this may vary depending on the woman’s age.

The cervix subtly modifies its anatomy and characteristics throughout the menstrual cycle and also during pregnancy. This is done through changes in its position and firmness, in addition to the cervical fluid secreted by its cells.

For this reason, it’s valuable to know the characteristics of the cervix and check it periodically, especially if you want to be guided by its changes in order to favor pregnancy.

When the ovulation stage is passed, the cervix becomes soft, opens, moistens, and is located in a high position.

What should you take into account before your check your cervix?

Determining the position of the cervix is a practice that will help you determine at what time of your cycle you’re most fertile and, thus, estimate the time of ovulation. First of all, you must take into account certain aspects to perform tactile exploration:

  • Take your time, as understanding the anatomy of the cervix isn’t an easy task. You’ll need to check it several times until you detect changes.
  • While you’re learning, it’s good to frequently evaluate your cervix, even if you know you’re not ovulating. This way you can compare the differences throughout the menstrual cycle.
  • Check the position of your cervix every day at the same time. You can do this when you shower or in the morning.
  • Don’t check the position of your cervix during or after intercourse, as it will change its position according to your level of arousal.
A mother tracking her menstrual cycle on a calendar.
If you want to know your fertile days better, you can complement the calendar method with the physical signs of the genital tract.

How to check your cervix

If you want to check your cervix, either to corroborate ovulation or because you want to begin to know your anatomy better, it’s important that you’re relaxed. Therefore, find a comfortable place, an unrushed moment, and follow the proper steps to locate and record the position of your cervix.

Step-by-step instructions to check your cervix

  1. Find a comfortable and quiet place to check your cervix.
  2. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Vaginal hygiene prevents the introduction of pathogenic microorganisms inside the organ. If you have an ongoing genital infection, wait until it’s completely gone before examining yourself.
  3. Cut or file your fingernails for this examination to avoid scratches or other injuries to the cervix or vaginal canal.
  4. Find a comfortable position that allows you to reach your cervix easily. You can squat, sit on the toilet, or rest one leg on the edge of the bathtub. If you wish, you can also use lubricant.
  5. Insert your index or middle finger into your vagina, palm up. Slide your finger to the end of the vaginal passage, where you feel a circular contour wall. There, you’ll detect a round, firm indentation or dimple in the middle: The external cervical os.
  6. Locate the cervix and record its position.
  7. Assess how it feels to the touch. Note whether it’s sideways or centered and whether it’s slightly open or fully closed.

What should be perceived in this examination?

The objective of examining your internal genital area is to determine the following information:

  • Position of the cervix: If you’re not ovulating, it will be in a low position. You’ll notice this when you insert your finger into the vagina up to the first phalanx, as it will be easier to find the cervix. If you’re ovulating, you’ll have to insert your finger into the vagina as far as it will go to feel it. The cervix becomes higher and more difficult to reach at this time.
  • Cervical opening: Note whether the cervical cleft is closed or open. Before and during ovulation, the cervix will be slightly open, just as it is before and during menstruation. In the non-fertile period of the cycle, it will be completely closed.
  • Firmness of the cervical tissue: When you ovulate, you should feel a softer cervix, about the consistency of your earlobe. This occurs because the increase in estrogen at this stage softens the cervix. Conversely, in the non-fertile period, it’s firm as the tip of your nose.
  • Location of the cleft: In the fertile stage, the cervix is centered in order to facilitate the passage of sperm. In the non-fertile period of the menstrual cycle, it’s possible that this cleft may be located slightly to the side.
  • Cervical mucus: During ovulation, the cervix secretes abundant, clear, watery cervical fluid, which helps the sperm to pass from the vaginal canal into the uterus. If, on the other hand, there’s no ovulation, the cervical mucus becomes thick and sparse in order to serve as a barrier to prevent sperm from entering the cervix.
A woman looking into her underwearn through a magnifying glass.
Knowing your body and learning to detect its signals will allow you to better identify your fertile days of the cycle.

What does my cervix look like during pregnancy?

After conception, the cervix remains high and soft. The external cervical os closes completely and remains that way throughout the pregnancy.

After a while, the cervix becomes firm and seals completely with the formation of the mucus plug. This structure protects the baby from infection and harmful agents from the outside. In the last stage of pregnancy, the cervix changes again (softens, shortens, and dilates) to make way for the baby to come out.

About cervical screening

It should be noted that, although the cervix can be checked during pregnancy, this practice must be approved by the doctor because of the risk of accidental infections. It’s better to let a specialist be the one to perform vaginal examinations.

But when you’re looking to get pregnant, regular cervical screening can provide useful information about your menstrual cycle. So, learn to interpret your body’s signals and you’ll better detect your fertile time of the month.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.