What do you know about your cervix?
If you’re trying to conceive, you should have a basic knowledge at the very least. But if you’re like most women, you probably know little about your cervix.
Let’s fix that. It’s time to get to know your cervix and increase your chances of conceiving.
Why should you learn about your cervix?
- Understand when and why things happen
- Know when to time sex for conception
- Increase chances of conceiving from 0% to 30%
What is the cervix?
The cervix is a cylinder of tissue that acts as a gateway to the uterus. It is a tiny tunnel that connects the vagina and the uterus. It keeps sperm out or lets them in, depending on where you are in your cycle. You can actually feel the cervix if you insert two fingers into your vagina. Doing so is a great way to get to know more about the way it changes throughout your cycle.
How does the cervix help me get pregnant?
Since the cervix’s job is to let sperm in or keep them out, it plays a very important role in helping you conceive. The cervix does not act alone, though. The changes in your body are actually triggered by surging hormones. These hormones trigger ovulation, and cervical changes are just one part of the process.
Cervix and cervical mucus changes
To understand what happens to the cervix during ovulation, you must first understand its beginning, or non-fertile, state. In the beginning and end of your cycle, outside of ovulation, your cervix sits lower in the vagina and it feels hard like the tip of your nose. It will also feel dry and closed. No sperm or bacterium can enter at this point.
Changes begin when ovulation starts creeping in. When you are at your most fertile, the state of your cervix will be the complete opposite of its non-fertile state. It will feel Soft, High, Open and Wet (SHOW).
Let the SHOW begin
If you’re paying attention, you can predict when you are about to ovulate simply by the position and state of your cervix and cervical mucus.
Beginning of your cycle
At this point, you will have your menstrual period. There will be blood. But if you were to check, you’d find that your cervix sits lower and is closed.
After your period
When the bleeding stops, your cervix will still be low and feel closed. If you are able to detect cervical mucus, it will be dense and sticky.
Increasing estrogen levels cause your cervical mucus to become more watery and creamy in texture. Your cervix will have moved higher in the vagina now.
Just before ovulation
Cervical mucus is difficult to ignore at this point because it has increased and is slippery and stretchy. It will resemble raw egg white. If you feel your cervix now, it will feel wet with cervical mucus. It will also sit high in the vagina and be open to allow sperm to enter. If you cannot feel your cervix, this is okay. It may be too high for your reach.
You may have more cervical mucus now than ever, but your fertility for this cycle is already on the decline. The cervix moves lower in the vagina and will soon be closing.
Your cervix and cervical mucus return to the non-fertile state until a new cycle begins again with your menstrual period.
Best days to have sex for conception
It is virtually impossible to conceive without having sex during your fertile window, which is only six days out of each cycle. Your fertile window begins five days before you ovulate and ends on the day of ovulation.
You can increase your chances of conception from 0% to 30% by understanding when to have sex based on cervical mucus type.
The best days to have sex for conception are the two days before you ovulate. This is when you will notice the egg white cervical mucus (EWCM) and your cervix will be at its highest point.
Other ways to detect ovulation
In addition to getting to know your cervix, there are a few ways you can tell when you are ovulating.
Basal body temperature
Take your temperature first thing in the morning every day of your cycle. Make a note and chart your temperature each day. When should notice a spike of about 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit after ovulation? After tracking for a few cycles, you should be able to predict when you will ovulate.
Ovulation prediction kit
You can buy an over-the-counter kit that can predict when you will ovulate. It works by detecting levels of luteinizing hormone in your urine.
Some women experience other signs of ovulation, and these can be used to help determine when you are ovulating. Other signs include cramping, heightened senses, heightened sex drive and bloating. Read all the signs here.
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