Trying to conceive or prevent pregnancy and finding it hard to plan? See how observing the position and feel of the cervix can help indicate ovulation.
Whether you are trying to conceive or prevent pregnancy, there are a lot of mobile applications that help you plan. However, you may not know that the cervix can provide a few clues as to whether you are ovulating or not and when. The position and feel of the cervix, the main indicators of ovulation, vary over the course of the month.
The Position Of The Cervix
During the non-fertile periods of your cycle (before and after ovulation), your cervix is located lower, closer to the opening of your vagina, and can be easily touched with a fingertip. As the estrogen levels increase approaching ovulation, the cervix moves higher and away from the opening of the vagina.
The Feel Of The Cervix
For most of your menstrual cycle, if you touch your cervix, it will be more stiff or rigid, like the tip of your nose. Prior to ovulation and after ovulation, the opening of the cervix (the “os”) feels more closed, just like a small indentation or dimple. However, starting about 5–6 days before ovulation, the cervix softens and feels more soft and spongy, like your lips, and the os opens up so that the tip of your finger can slightly enter the opening. Within 48 hours after ovulation, the cervix returns to the pre-ovulation state (becomes more stiff, is lower, and the os is more closed).
What Does Cervical Discharge Indicate?
Prior to and after ovulation, the cervix will feel relatively dry. At ovulation, the cervix will feel more moist and you may notice a clear, stringy, mucous discharge either when you check your cervix or when you wipe after urinating. When you wipe, it may feel more slick or slippery, and if you examine the toilet paper, you may see a glob of clear, stretchy mucous. This is referred to as cervical mucous or cervical discharge. This mucous helps transport sperm into the uterus. It is produced up to 2–3 days before ovulation. So if you are trying to conceive, the day you notice the mucous would be a good day to have intercourse.
How To Examine Your Cervix?
- First and foremost, make sure you maintain hygiene. Wash your hands and ensure that your nails are clean and short.
- In the morning, after urinating, stand with one foot resting on the side of the tub or the toilet lid and insert your index finger into the vagina until you can gently touch your cervix. The cervix will feel like the surface of a small rubber ball at the top of the vagina.
- Be gentle. If you are rough, you can cause irritation or bleeding.
- If the cervix is too high to touch, you can bend down as if you are having a bowel movement to push the cervix lower in the vagina.
- Check your cervix at approximately the same time each day and while standing in the same position. Changes in your position can alter the position of the cervix.
NOTE: Reading the cervix should never be used as the sole means of contraception.