Your body goes through so many changes during pregnancy. But how does your cervix feel when pregnant?
Have you ever wondered about it? Because you can’t see it, you probably tend to forget the cervix exists until labour is in the foreseeable future.
You’re focused on your growing belly, your pregnancy glow, and the niggling details of accommodating a baby, such as heartburn and backache.
How does your cervix feel when pregnant?
But the inside of your body is doing an incredible job of changing – all because of your baby’s presence.
How your cervix feels when you are pregnant is one of those amazing changes.
It’s just that it’s less obvious than, say, morning sickness!
What is the cervix?
Unless you’re used to checking it as part of tracking your menstrual cycle, you might not know much about your cervix.
When you’re pregnant, the cervix becomes quite important. It has a major role in the birth of your baby.
The cervix is actually part of your uterus, not a separate part of your anatomy.
It’s a cylinder-shaped neck of tissue that connects the vagina and uterus
The cervix must thin and widen so your baby can be born.
During pregnancy, a plug of mucus forms in the cervix. This acts as a barrier and prevents bacteria from travelling up into the uterus and causing infections.
When the cervix begins to dilate late in pregnancy, this mucous plug will start to come out.
Not every woman notices it happening, but it’s usually a sign labour isn’t too far away.
Can you feel your own cervix?
Learning to find and feel your cervix is quite simple.
Women who use natural family planning methods check their cervix most days.
You can check your cervix during pregnancy, but it’s not necessary to do so every day.
First, wash your hands thoroughly. You don’t want to introduce any bacteria into your vagina.
It’s also wise to cut your fingernails short, to avoid giving yourself an injury.
Get into a comfortable position, such as sitting on the toilet, or placing one leg up on the edge of the bath.
Gently insert your longest finger into your vagina as far as it will go – in an upward motion.
What does your cervix feel like?
It might take several goes to find your cervix. It will feel like a small, firm dimple. The tissue feels different from the vaginal walls, which are spongy and soft.
Remember, during pregnancy, it’s not necessary to check your cervix every day.
You might choose to do so every month or so.
If you have a yeast or vaginal infection, it’s best to keep your hands away from your cervix until this has cleared up.
How does your cervix feel when you’re not pregnant?
Even when you’re not pregnant, your cervix can go through a series of changes.
It depends on where you are in your menstrual cycle.
If you could see your cervix, normally you’d find it would be pink in colour, and about 4cm long. The cervical walls are about 1cm thick.
The bottom part of the cervix hangs about 2cm down into the vagina.
Depending on your cycle day, your cervix can feel low, firm and closed.
Around your fertile time, especially when you’re ovulating, your cervix is high, soft and open.
During your fertile time, you’re also likely to notice more cervical mucus. It looks a little like egg white.
How does your cervix feel when pregnant?
During early pregnancy, many changes are happening in your body; most of them you can’t see.
Usually, the first change you notice during early pregnancy is how your cervix feels.
Around the time you are due to have your next period, your cervix will begin to change.
This timing varies, however, between women.
Some women notice changes soon after they miss their period.
Others will not notice anything until later in the first trimester.
Due to rising levels of estrogen, more blood flows to the pelvis. This causes the cervix to feel soft and velvety – quite similar to the tip of your nose. It will rise and remain closed.
Your cervix will also thicken in width and produce more glandular cells. These cells will help form the mucous plug which remains inside the cervix, protecting your uterus, and your baby, from infection.
If you could see your cervix, you’d notice it was red-blue or lilac colour, thanks to the increased blood supply.
Toward the end of pregnancy, your cervix changes again. It thins and dilates so your baby can be born.
The cervix also begins to soften. If you were to feel your cervix when pregnant, it would feel like puckered lips.
During labour your cervix will become so soft and thin you won’t be able to feel it at all.
Position of the cervix during pregnancy
As mentioned above, your cervix can change position, depending on your cycle and during pregnancy.
It tends to move higher or lower in the vagina. In early pregnancy, you would notice it is higher.
During pregnancy, the opening of your cervix can also shift position.
During the first trimester, it tends to be high, soft and angled toward the front of your body (anterior).
As pregnancy progresses, the position of the cervix changes again.
Usually, around the beginning of the second trimester, the cervix starts to move so it’s angled toward your back (posterior)
Towards the end of your third trimester, your cervix position will change once more.
It will gradually soften, become shorter in length and finally, it will open.
This is one of the goals of early labour contractions: to bring the cervix forward to allow for dilation.