Checking your cervical position is another way to determine where you are in your monthly cycle. When ovulation is approaching, the cervix rises within your body, and the opening grows larger and softer to the touch. The position of your cervix can therefore be a very good indicator or your most fertile time.
Because each woman’s body is different, there is no exact formula for using cervical position to determine ovulation. It will take time and practice for you to become familiar enough with your body that you can tell the difference between the normal state of your cervix and the changes that occur to it when you are beginning to ovulate.
The Beginning of Your Cycle
Immediately after your menstrual cycle ends, you should begin checking your cervical position and charting it. This is the best time to begin this process because at this point your cervix should be low and easy to reach with your fingers. The opening should be closed, almost sealed tight, and hard when touched. You are at your most infertile time right now.
As you continue to chart, your body is going through its cycle. Right before ovulation your estrogen levels increase dramatically, causing your cervix to rise. Your cervix is beginning to open and grow softer. This is a great time to start having intercourse more often, since your fertility is rising. The cervix will remain high until you ovulate, after which the estrogen will subside, progesterone will be released, and the entire process will begin once again. After ovulation the cervix becomes firmer again and closes once more, returning to its former position. Mucus production also decreases at this time.
The changes in the position of your cervix will also be accompanied by changes in your cervical mucus. While the consistency of cervical fluid varies from one woman to the next, it is generally a sign that ovulation is near if your cervical fluid begins to resemble egg white.
Numerous methods have been devised for calculating fertility by the state of cervical mucus. One such is the Billings Ovulation Method, which was developed in the early 1960s by Dr. John Billings, who had discovered the relationship between cervical mucus and fertility. The theory behind this method is that the cervix responds to the body’s production of estrogen by producing mucus that is capable of sustaining sperm cells, enabling them to survive for longer than they normally would. Using the Billings Method, a woman learns to observe these changes and chart them to predict ovulation.
Another method of predicting ovulation by examining cervical mucus is the Creighton Model, which was developed in 1980 by Dr. Thomas Hilgers, who had noticed that mucus production increased as ovulation neared, and the quality of the mucus changed, becoming clearer and more viscous.
How to Check Your Cervical Position
Checking the position of your cervix is not difficult—simply insert your middle finger into your vagina and feel around until you find your cervix (be sure to wash your hands first). You should be able to find it with ease if you’re not close to ovulation; if you are near ovulation, however, your cervix may be a little higher and not as easy to reach. Just before you begin to ovulate, your cervix will become soft to the touch, much like your lips feel when you touch your face. After ovulation it will be firmer, more like your nose.
The importance of washing your hands before checking the position of your cervix cannot be overstated. If your hands are not clean there is a danger that inserting fingers into your vagina can introduce an infection to your reproductive system.