Do you know how many days before your period your cervix drops? Did you know that your cervix moves throughout your cycle? Did you know your cervix can be used as a tool to see if you're fertile? Many women don't, and that's because it's not something that is commonly talked about.
However, knowing how many days before your period your cervix drops can be helpful in predicting when you will start menstruating or be able to conceive.
In this blog post, we will discuss the process of cervical changes, including how to track them and what these changes mean for your menstrual cycle. We will also touch base on cervical fluid and where your cervix is positioned throughout your cycle and pregnancy.
Your cervix throughout your menstrual cycle
Your cervix changes throughout your cycle and can predict when your period is coming (and even if you're pregnant!).
The position and firmness of your cervix is influenced by the changes in your hormone levels.
Your cervix during ovulation:
During ovulation, when progesterone levels are highest, your cervix will be softer and higher up in the vagina. When your cervix is high, it is deeper in your vaginal canal.
Your cervical mucus is clear, soft, and slippery. This makes it a little easier for some sperm swimmers to get to your fallopian tubes which then move the embryo to your uterus. It's also softer and moist. Your cervix will feel soft, like your lips. Keep reading to learn how to check your cervix at home!
Ovulation is the time in your menstrual cycle that you can become pregnant. During this time, you may notice you have increased vaginal discharge, and this is because your cervix is secreting more mucus to help sperm travel to the egg. You may also notice an increase in your sex-drive!
Because this is your most fertile time of the month, these are signs and signals the female body uses to tell you that it's ready for making a baby!
Read more on ovulation here.
Your cervix during your luteal phase (exiting ovulation):
When you don't get pregnant during your fertile window (ovulation), your cervical mucus changes. The mucus becomes thicker and less slippery. This is to prevent sperm from swimming through your cervix, as the egg is no longer present in the fallopian tubes. Some women experience vaginal dryness and a decrease in sex-drive.
During the luteal phase, your estrogen levels decrease, but progesterone remains to keep the uterine lining thick should a fertilized egg implant. You'll notice that your cervix may still feel soft, but that changes during this phase. Your cervical mucus will get thicker and is usually sticky and somewhat cloudy in appearance.
Your cervix also drops lower into the vagina and becomes firmer during this time. This is because progesterone levels are high and prepare your body in case you do become pregnant.
If pregnancy doesn't occur, progesterone levels will drop sharply, about 12-24 hours before you start bleeding. This signals to your body that it's time to shed the uterine lining (endometrium). The sudden decrease in progesterone can also cause cramps and other PMS symptoms.
Your cervix right before your period:
About a week before your period, your cervix drops lower and lower and becomes much harder than in previous stages of your cycle. It is also slightly open to allow the blood to flow out. It should feel like the tip of your nose.
So, your cervix begins to drop about 7-10 days before menstruation!
As your period nears, the cervix becomes firm and hard again as progesterone levels increase. This is to prevent anything from entering the uterus while it's shedding its lining.
Your cervical mucus also changes in consistency and becomes thick and sticky, almost clumpy. This is to prevent bacteria from entering the uterus and causing an infection.
Your cervix after your period (follicular phase):
Your cervix begins to raise higher and higher preparing for ovulation after your period. This is because estrogen levels are rising in preparation for ovulation, which makes the cervix softer.
Your cervical mucus also changes consistency and becomes thin, watery, and stretchy. This is to help sperm travel through the cervix and into the fallopian tubes to fertilize an egg.
As ovulation approaches, your cervical mucus will become clear, slippery, and wet. This is the peak of your fertility!
This entire cycle goes on and on, just like your menstrual cycle.
Your cervix and fertility
You can use your cervix as a key indicator for fertility windows. When it's higher and softer, it's your more fertile time of the month. When it's lower and harder, it means you're less fertile.
You can also track your cervical mucus changes to get an idea of when you're most fertile. When the consistency is thin, watery, and stretchy, you're most fertile.
If you're trying to get pregnant, have sex during your most fertile days! If you're not trying to get pregnant, use contraception or abstain from sex during your most fertile days.
Natural family planning- fertility awareness
Natural family planning is a method that some couples use as a form a birth control, or to plan to try to conceive. This process is when a woman keeps track of her fertility to prevent pregnancy. When using this method, the woman will avoid sex during her fertile window, or use a form of nonhormonal contraception like condoms.
There are 4 different methods of natural family planning. These methods are used to keep track of where a woman is in her cycle to know when she is ovulating (able to get pregnant).
There are many ways to keep track of your fertility, but the most common is by taking your basal body temperature (BBT) every morning or tracking your cervical mucus changes.
Cervical mucus- Natural family planning
To track your cervical mucus changes, you can either wipe yourself with toilet paper after going to the bathroom and check the consistency of your mucus, or you can insert your fingers into your vagina and feel for the changes.
When your cervical mucus is thin, watery, and stretchy, it means you're ovulating and are most fertile. When your cervical mucus is thick and sticky, it means you're less fertile.
Tracking changes in your cervical mucus is a great way to get to know your body and how it works. It's also a good way to find out when you're most fertile if you're trying to conceive or avoid pregnancy.
This method is not recommended for people with a short, long, or irregular cycle.
How to check your cervical position at home
If you're aiming for conception, or you just want to check for fun (lol, probably not), you can check your cervical position at home! Checking your cervix can be scary, but we are here to help you out. Remember, a high positioned cervix means ovulation is near!
Here are some steps you can take:
- You will need to wash your hands with antibacterial soap and trim your nails before beginning. It's also helpful if you use a water-based lubricant, although, you don't have to.
- Get in position. Sitting or squatting on the toilet or standing with one leg or one foot on the edge of the bathtub are good positions. Use the same position each time you check your cervix for consistency so that you can get an accurate read each time.
- Next, locate the opening of your vagina and insert one finger, or two fingers depending on what is comfortable for you. Generally, the middle finger works best.
- Now, feel for your cervix, which will be located inside of the vagina. According to verywellfamily.com, "The opening itself may feel smooth or have a more jagged-edged feel. Generally speaking, the smoothness and moistness of the cervix would be similar to the tissues lining your cheek. In terms of consistency, if gently pressed, it may feel as firm as the tip of your nose or as soft as your lips." The cervix is generally located 3-4 inches up from the opening of the vagina, although, it may be 5-7 inches up for some women. The depth also increases when aroused.
- If your cervix feels soft and there is thin, watery cervical mucus, you're very likely ovulating or near ovulation.
(Note that this method doesn't work for everyone. Your cervix is quite deep in your body and not everyone is able to feel it, particularly when it's in a high position.)
Your cervix and pregnancy
In early pregnancy, the cervix is soft, open, and very low just like it is right before your period. This is because of the high levels of estrogen and progesterone.
The cervix will remain in this state until around week 12-14 when it begins to rise, become firmer, and close slightly. This is to prevent anything from entering the uterus and harming the developing baby.
Throughout pregnancy, your cervix remains soft and is called the “bloody show” when you see or feel it. You may experience some spotting or brown discharge, which is called implantation bleeding and is perfectly normal. This occurs when the fertilized egg implants itself into the lining of the uterus.
Implantation bleeding usually happens around the time you would have been due for a period and is much lighter than a regular period. It usually lasts for a few hours to a couple of days.
If you experience heavy bleeding or cramping, however, this could be a sign of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy and you should seek medical attention immediately.
The color of your cervix in early pregnancy can change from pink to purple to even blue!
Your cervix in later pregnancy:
As you approach labor, your cervix begins to dilate (open) in preparation for delivery.
During pregnancy, the cervix is normally long, closed, and firm. But as you get closer to labor, the cervix begins to soften, shorten, and open up in order to allow the baby to pass through during delivery.
Dilation is complete when your cervix has opened enough that your baby can come out.
Your cervix after delivery:
After you give birth, your cervix is still soft, but it begins to rise and become firm again. It takes about six weeks for the cervix to return to its normal state.
During this time, you may have some bleeding or discharge called lochia. Lochia is a normal part of the postpartum period and usually lasts for four to six weeks.
You should see your doctor if you have heavy bleeding, foul-smelling discharge, or if you develop a fever. These could be signs of infection.
Now that you know how your cervix changes throughout your cycle and pregnancy, you can better understand how to track your fertility and when you're most likely to conceive or deliver your baby.
Pap smears- Why we get them
What is a pap smear?
A pap smear is a test your doctor does to check for changes in the cells of your cervix. These changes could be precancerous or cancerous, and if caught early, can be treated before they turn into something more serious. Pap smears help diagnose cervical dysplasia, cervical cancer, human papillomavirus infection, and more.
They are also checking for any other cervical changes or abnormal cervical appearance.
How often should you get a pap smear?
It's important to get regular pap smears, and most doctors recommend getting one every three years starting at age 21.
You should also get a pap smear if you have any symptoms of cervical cancer, such as abnormal bleeding or discharge, pain during sex, or pelvic pain.
Curious is you can get a pap smear during menstruation? Read more about it here.
That's it! Now you know all about your cervix!
Stay tuned for more blog posts about fertility, periods, and women's health.
As always, we love ya, Garnuu Girl!
-The Garnuu Team