Conception FAQs >> Cervical Shift
Question: Can the position & feel of my cervix tell me I am ovulating?
Answer: Of all the natural
bodily fertility signs, observing changes in cervical fluids is one of the most
popular, well-known, and reliable. However, monitoring changes in the position
and "feel" of the cervix can also provide
valuable information about where you are in your menstrual cycle and if you
might be approaching your ovulation date. Indeed, your cervix (the passageway
between the uterus and the vagina) will shift itself, lifting and dropping as
you move through various phases of your cycle.
First, a brief review of
the cervix and cervical mucus (aka CM). The cervix is the narrow passage between
the womb and the vagina. It's purpose is to both to produce fertile cervical
fluids around the time you ovulate and to block the entrance to the uterus during
those times of the month when you are not fertile. In effect, the cervix
plays a red light/green light function during your cycle. About five days or
so before you ovulate, the "green light" aspect of the cervix kicks
in: fertile-quality mucus is generated by glands within the cervical canal.
Cervical mucus helps sperm swim and offers protection and insulation. Also,
the position of the cervix rises or lifts (detectable through self-exam). During
the rest of your menstrual cycle, non-fertile mucus is produced in order to
protect the uterus from infection. The vaginal environment is likely to be more
acidic during this time frame, the "red light" period.
As noted above, your "fertile
window" is comprised of a handful of days prior to ovulation and the 24
hours following the release of the ovum from the ovarian follicle. During this
brief window of high fertility, an increase in certain hormones - particularly
the estrogens - will effectuate physiological changes in the reproductive organs
and stimulate CM production. The same fluctuations in the estrogens will also
precipitate changes in cervix texture and position. Thus, if you are doing your
bbt chart in the morning, you can also take a few moments to examine changes
in CM and cervical position to get a better "read out" on your "fertility
status". Alteration in both CM and cervix position provide a reliable compass
for navigating your cycle and predicting when you will ovulate.
To examine your cervical fluids (or cervix), first of all ensure that your fingers
are clean and dry - or use a piece of toilet paper to wipe a fluid sample. During
much of your menstrual cycle, you will likely note that there is not a whole
lot of cervical mucus to observe in the first place. Besides a general lack
of CM, the fluids you are capable of sampling during these times will likely
be rather sticky, dry, or firm. That's normal when you are not fertile.
Also, during these periods, the chances are good that cervical fluids will be
opaque or cream-colored or exhibit a yellow tint. This is non-fertile
cervical fluid and indicates that you are likely some time off from your expected
ovulation date. Now, as you near ovulation, you should be able to note some
salient changes in CM fluid texture, color, and volume. First of all, the volume
will increase and the CM will become increasingly stretchy, thin, and translucent
(see-through, colorless, or clear). A CM sample, during your fertile window,
may stretch between your fingers as you pull them apart (during infertile times,
the CM will simply break as you pull your fingers apart). Now, let's look at
temporally contiguous changes in cervix position and feel.
Position and Feel
of Cervix: As you experience changes in CM, you'll also note a transformation
in the feel and position of the cervix (caused by the very same hormonal triggers).
During those non-fertile days when CM is scarce or tacky, your cervix (upon
touch) will also exhibit a certain dryness. It will also "hang" lower
and feel closed up. As you might surmise, you will likely not be fertile when
the cervix feels hard, closed, dry, or "resistant". However, as you
approach the time you ovulate, you'll discover that the cervix is giving you
the "green light" to conceive, so to speak. The position of the cervix
will lift (compared to non-fertile times) and the cervix should feel both softer
and wetter and more "open". Cervical mucus is produced within the
cervix itself, so it's logical that you will be able to detect CM at the entrance
to cervix during an self-examination.
So there you have it! By
cross-referencing these two major fertility indicators - cervical mucus and
position/feel of the cervix - you'll be able to better narrow in on the ideal
time of month to get pregnant. If you have any questions on procedure or interpretation
of you bbt chart or your fertile signs, your doctor should be able to provide
guidance and support.
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