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How To Check Your Cervical Position

Detecting Ovulation By Observing Cervical Changes

By

Updated May 16, 2014

Woman Washing Hands
Michael Hevesy/The Image Bank/Getty Images
View of cervix when seen through a speculum

Your cervix, located at the end of your vaginal canal, is round with a small dimple at the center. When you're ovulating, the dimple opens and the cervix becomes softer.

Photo: A.D.A.M. Images

Checking your cervical position sounds like something only taught to doctors and nurses, but there’s no reason you can’t learn how. Why check your cervical position? Because it’s another way of detecting ovulation. (It’s also really cool to know your body so well.)

Just like your cervical mucus changes as ovulation approaches, your cervical position also changes. Also, when it’s difficult to distinguish between fertile cervical mucus and left over semen from sex (which can show up for a couple days after sex), your cervical position may help clarify things.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: No more than a few minutes, every so many days

Here's How:

  1. First, wash your hands very well. It’s vital that you don’t introduce any kind of infection into your reproductive system. (If you’re dealing with a yeast infection or any other kind of vaginal infection, you shouldn’t check your cervix until the infection is cleared up.)
     
  2. Find a comfortable position that will allow you to easily reach your cervix. That may be sitting on the toilet, putting one leg up on the edge of the bathtub or squatting. (Putting one leg up on the toilet seat or bathtub edge has always worked best for me.)
     
  3. If you think of your vagina as a hallway, your cervix is the other door at the very end. While your vagina has a sort of spongy feel that gives way easily to pressure, the cervix is like a firm, round dimple. Some say it feels like the tip of your nose when you’re not fertile and like the firmness of your lips when you are fertile — this is what you’re feeling for.
     
  4. Reach your index or middle finger inside of your vagina, and slowly (don’t scratch yourself!) slide your finger in as far as you can reach, a sort of in and upward motion. If you’re not close to ovulation, you should find your cervix easily. If you are ovulating, your cervix may be higher in your body and more difficult to reach.

    When you’re just learning how to check your cervical position, you should check your cervical position every so many days, even when you don’t think you’re ovulating. It’s much easier to find when you’re not ovulating, and you’ll have a better idea of what you’re feeling.
     
  5. As ovulation approaches, the cervix moves higher up, becoming softer and less firm and opening more.
    • High, soft and open is a possible indication of approaching ovulation: you should make time for sex if you want to get pregnant.
    • Low, firm and closed is not a fertile sign, and you’re probably not ovulating yet.
    Once you get used to checking your cervical position, fertile signs become very easy to recognize, but it does take practice and time to learn. Be patient with yourself.
  6. If you’re marking your cervical position on a fertility chart, it may ask you if your cervix is in a high, medium or low position or whether your cervix feels firm, medium or soft or whether your cervix feels open or closed.
     
  7. Don’t expect to understand what you’re feeling the first, second or even tenth time you try — -this is a skill that comes from practice and patience. Once you learn what the signs are by experiencing the changes in your cervix throughout a few cycles, though, you’ll be a pro.

Tips:

  1. Don’t be afraid to touch your body! Some women feel like checking their cervical position violates some unwritten rule, as if there are parts of your body that belong to the domain of doctors only. Or they may be afraid of hurting themselves.

    Just be gentle. If you’re worried, consider what goes on during sexual intercourse. Checking your cervix doesn’t come close to sex. You’re not going to hurt yourself.

    Understanding and getting to know your body can really be an empowering experience. Try it. Lightening will not strike you down if you do — I promise.

  2. If your cervix always feels slightly open, don’t worry. Especially if you’ve ever given birth (that can include a miscarriage), your cervix may never fully close. As ovulation approaches, you’ll still be able to notice the height and softness changes of the cervix, though.
     
  3. Signs of approaching ovulation include a high cervical position (you may not be able to reach!), a softer cervix and a more open cervix. You’ll also probably notice more fertile cervical mucus near your cervix. (This is also a good time to check your cervical mucus).
     
  4. Don’t check your cervical position during or after sex. Your cervix actually moves around according to your level of sexual arousal, regardless of ovulation.
     
  5. It helps if you check your cervical position at the same time every day. It may be a good time to do it when you get dressed in the morning. I like to check mine when I take a shower: my hands are clean, and I’m already undressed.
     

Some women try to figure out if they’re pregnant by checking their cervical position. There really is no way to know whether you’re pregnant by checking your cervical position. (You just have to wait until you can take a pregnancy test. Sorry.)
 

More on getting pregnant:

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