Just as each woman’s body is unique, so too are their individual signs of ovulation. The cervix is the passageway into your uterus, and you can feel it change throughout your cycle. Checking on these changes can help you determine where in your cycle you are. During different phases of your cycle, your cervix will behave differently. There are two main phases for the cervix – the infertile phase and the period where the cervix is approaching ovulation.
Most women have a menstrual cycle of 28 days, but it is also normal to have anything from 21 to 35 days. Some women have irregular menstrual cycles, which can greatly affect their chances of conceiving. There are those who have more than one menstrual period a month (shorter menstrual cycles) and those who have longer menstrual cycles with fewer menstrual periods a year. The cervix changes throughout the menstrual cycle.
You can check the position and texture of your cervix by inserting your clean, middle finger into your vagina up to at least your middle knuckle. Notice how it feels, and then continue checking your cervix throughout your cycle.
The Cervix during the Infertile Phase
During this period, the cervix seems to be elongated and off-center so it can rest against the vaginal wall. The cervix will feel firm, similar to the tip of your nose. Furthermore, the opening will feel dry. Finally, the cervix is easily reached at this time, as it lies low in a woman’s vagina.
The Cervix Close to Ovulation
Increasing estrogen levels force the cervix further up into the vagina the closer a woman is to ovulation. As a result, the cervix comes across as positioned more centrally in the vagina. It also appears shorter and straighter in addition to feeling softer. Rather than feeling like the tip of a nose, the cervix now feels like your lower lip. As ovulation approaches, the cervix begins to relax allowing the cervical opening to open up enough for a fingertip to penetrate.
Differences in Cervical Fluids
The role of your cervix is to create fertile cervical fluid during ovulation to help the sperm travel easily, as well as to block the entrance to the uterus when you are not fertile.
After menstruation, you will experience little or no discharge. Your first cervical discharge will appear moist or sticky, will be either white or cream colored, and will continue for a few more days. However, this is when your cervical mucus will be the thinnest, and clearest, and will be in copious amounts.
This thin cervical mucus will gradually increase until you hit your ‘cervical mucus peak’. When you are at your most fertile, your cervical mucus looks like ‘egg whites’ and is indicative that you are about to ovulate. This discharge will be slippery and colorless and indicates your best chance at conception.
The Cervix After Ovulation
Once ovulation is complete, the cervix will return to its infertile state – normally within 24 to 48 hours. Since each woman’s body is different, you have to remember that the normal cycle does not apply to everyone and if changes in the cervix are going to be used to aid in conception, it is important to calculate the ovulation phase as accurately as possible.