Written by: Maya Galinsky
We're here to be at your cervix!
Have you ever considered the wonders the cervix does for our bodies? This powerful multi-tasker is a very critical part of the female anatomy. Cervix comes from the Latin word cervix uteri which means “womb’s neck.” The cervix is the lowest part of the uterus, essentially being the bridge between the vagina and the uterus. It looks like a little doughnut around 2-3cm in diameter. The firmness of the cervix varies upon different stages of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and arousal.
What is the cervix?
The cervix has a tiny opening that allows sperm to swim in and menstrual fluid flows out. This small multifunctional doughnut secretes cervical mucus that aids sperm cells traveling from the vaginal canal to the uterus. Moreover, if you become pregnant, the cervix adapts and develops a mucus plug that prevents bacteria and infections from reaching the uterus, protecting the baby.
The cervix responds to the menstrual cycle phases and hormonal changes (i.e., pregnancy). Educating oneself on cervical position and texture is helpful in numerous ways, such as tracking ovulation, trying to conceive, or just wanting to know your body better.
How to check your cervix position:
Can you measure your cervical length from home? The answer is yes!
Ruler (in cm preferable for accuracy)
your finger!!!! (If you have long nails, use a latex glove)
The cervix feels like the tip of your nose.
Go ahead, feel it out. This way, when you proceed to measure your cervical length, you’ll know for sure. Measuring your cervix is safe to use just your finger, although only some are able to do so. If you have a long vaginal canal, there’s a chance you may not be able to reach it. Additionally, the cervix may be higher than usual if you’re ovulating. If you do not have access to a ruler, click here to print one out for yourself.
1. Wash your hands very well or put on a latex glove. Doing so will avoid introducing any bacteria. If you have a yeast infection or UTI, wait until it clears up.
2. Get into a comfortable position. For most people, how they usually insert a tampon is the most comfortable to them. These positions may include sitting on the toilet, squatting, or having one leg on a bathtub or toilet.
3. Slide your index or middle finger inside your vagina, going as far as you can reach. Aim up and back in the same direction as inserting a tampon.
4. Ding Ding Ding! Find your cervix! As mentioned, the cervix should feel firmer than the rest of the vagina, almost as if you were touching the tip of your nose. Finding your cervix should be easy if you’re not ovulating.
5. Place your thumb as a marker to your finger to the point of insertion, resting the thumb against the finger’s point of entrance. Take your finger out, leaving the thumb against the finger’s location, and measure it side by side with a ruler (preferably in cm for accuracy).
6. Observe how it feels. You can record your observations to help keep track of your cervix position daily.
If you can’t find your cervix, that’s okay! It may take a bit of practice to find it. The first few times, try finding it when you’re not ovulating; it is easier to find then! Moreover, avoid examining your cervix after sex since it can move depending on your level of sexual arousal. The best tip is to get into the habit of checking at the same time daily using the same position.
Cervical positions during your cycle:
Lasts about 10-22 days
When: Day 1 of the period until ovulation
The follicular phase is when the body prepares the uterine lining for a fertilized egg to attach. During this phase, estrogen levels are low so that the cervix will feel firmer. Estrogen makes it feel softer as the menstrual cycle progresses. During your period, the cervix stays low and opens slightly to allow menstrual blood to flow. The cervix feels firm to touch at this stage and remains hard and low until your period ends.
Lasts about 13-15 days before your period
When: 24 hours, starting when an egg is released
During ovulation, estrogen levels rise, which causes the uterine lining to thicken, making the cervix feel softer. Additionally, the cervix begins to change position and rises to the top of the vagina. During ovulation, one may also notice increased cervical mucus from the cervix and vagina. Cervical mucus promotes sperm survival and can be a handy indicator when identifying a fertile window.
Lasts about 9-16 days
When: The following ovulation until your period
The luteal phase is the duration after ovulation and before a period starts. During this time, the cervix will feel a little hard, and the cervical mucus will thicken rather than remain thin and watery. The cervix begins to move back down, so it may be easier to measure your cervix position before your period.
Brusie, C. (2022). Your guide to the female reproductive system. Healthgrades. https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/womens-health/female-reproductive-system
Cornforth, Tracee. “Functions of the Cervix in Reproductive Health.” Verywell Health, Verywell Health, April 25, 2022, https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-the-cervix-3520584.
Druet, A. (2022, April 26). How to find (and feel) your cervix. https://helloclue.com/articles/cycle-a-z/how-to-find-feel-your-cervix/
How should your cervix feel if pregnant? | HealthTap Online Doctor. (2014, May 8). HealthTap. https://www.healthtap.com/questions/822377-how-should-your-cervix-feel-if-pregnant/
Long Luteal Phase Treatment | Women’s Health Articles – Steadyhealth.com. https://ic.steadyhealth.com/long-luteal-phase-treatment.