If you’ve used a menstrual cup or researched menstrual cups at all, you’ve probably read about the importance of measuring your cervix for the proper fit and placement.
Cervix position is likely something you have never thought much about. But it can actually tell you a lot about what’s going on in your body at different times during your cycle. And while measuring your cervix isn’t required in order to use a menstrual cup, being familiar with the placement and position of your cervix may make it easier to find the perfect fit and help you feel more comfortable using a cup!
On the Pixie Cup Blog, we do our best to tell you everything you could ever want to know about your period… and that includes answering frequently asked questions such as “is it normal for my cervix to move during my period?”
The short answer is yes! Your cervix actually goes through lots of changes during the month due to hormonal fluctuations. In fact, not only does your cervix move, it also feels different depending on where you are in your cycle.
What is the cervix?
Before we go any further, let’s talk about what the cervix is. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus. It forms the passage between the uterus and the vagina.
The opening of the cervix is small — it may feel like a thin slit or a dimple. (If you’ve vaginally delivered children, the opening to your cervix may be slightly larger.) That means if you’re using a menstrual cup, it can’t get “lost” in the vagina or be inserted too far. Your cup can only go so far before it hits your cervix!
How to find your cervix
You can locate your cervix by inserting a finger into the vagina (wash your hands first!). If you feel squeamish about checking your cervical position, this is perfectly normal! It’s not something most of us are used to doing, but it will get easier in time. Breathe slowly and try to relax. It may help to squat or put one foot up on the edge of the bathtub. Slowly slide your finger in until you feel the firmer tissue at the top of your vaginal canal. That’s your cervix.
You can tell the difference between your vagina and the cervix because, while vaginal tissue is soft and gives way to pressure, the cervix is more firm. It may feel like the tip of your nose.
Depending on where you are in your cycle, the position and feel of the cervix can change. If you are ovulating, your cervix may be softer, higher, and more difficult to reach. If you’re tracking your cycle, these cervical changes provide important signals about your cycle and your fertility, such as when you’re more likely to get pregnant.
Here’s what happens to your cervix during the different phases of your menstrual cycle, and what all those changes mean.
Cervix position during menstruation
During your period, your cervix is likely low and firmer to the touch, and the opening is a bit larger to allow the menstrual flow to escape.
This is why, if you’re trying to find the right menstrual cup for you, it’s best to measure your cervix right before or during your period. You don’t want to measure your cervix during a time when it’s higher, only to find your menstrual cup doesn’t fit.
Some women find that their cervix is still high during menstruation. If this sounds like you, it could mean that your uterus is situated higher in your abdominal region. Many women also have a tilted or tipped uterus, which can affect the position of the cervix. A high cervix, a high uterus, or a tilted uterus is usually not a cause for concern, and many women don’t even know about these factors until they become pregnant.
Cervix position directly after menstruation
After your period ends, your cervix remains low and firm for a little while. The opening of your cervix will begin to close after the menstrual flow has finished.
Cervix position nearing ovulation
In the days leading up to ovulation, increasing levels of estrogen cause the cervical tissue to soften. The cervix begins to prepare for conception by becoming softer, higher, and more open. At this point, your cervix may feel more like your lips, and it may be hard to reach. All of this means your body is preparing for a possible pregnancy, so if you’re trying to conceive, these are important signs to watch for!
Cervix position during ovulation
During ovulation, your body is most fertile. At this time, your cervix will rise very high, while growing very wet, soft, and open. This is often referred to as SHOW: soft, high, open, wet. This is to allow sperm to pass into the uterus to create a pregnancy.
Cervix position after ovulation
After ovulation, as estrogen levels decline, your cervix will begin to close and drop low once again, becoming firm to the touch.
Cervix position during pregnancy
If you become pregnant, the cervix will not drop, but will remain high and soft. It may feel more closed than it does during ovulation. However, a high cervix following ovulation doesn’t necessarily mean you’re pregnant. Everyone’s body is different, and it may take a while for your body to adjust to the changing hormones throughout your cycle. Regularly tracking your cycle will help you learn what’s normal for you. (Interested in tracking your cycle? Try our free period tracker download!)
Live free every day of the month
At Pixie Cup, our mission is to empower women to live in freedom every day of the year. We believe gaining a greater understanding of all the changes happening during our menstrual cycle will help us do exactly that! It may take some time to get comfortable measuring your cervix and to learn what it all means, but in time you’ll find that it all helps you understand your body better.
Have questions about your cervix or your cycle? Drop them in the comments below!
Your Pixie Cup purchase helps a woman in need
We’re also on a mission to empower every woman in the world with a life-changing period by putting a Pixie Cup in their hands through our Buy One Give One program. It’s a big mission, but with your help, we can do it. As of today, we’ve given over 60,000 cups to those in period poverty — and we won’t stop until every single woman or girl in need has the resources to manage her period with dignity.
This content was originally written on September 9, 2019, and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
Do you know how long your menstrual cycle is? When your period shows up every month, is it a surprise or do you know it’s coming? When you go to the doctor and they ask for the first date of your last period, are you prepared or do you give them a blank stare? Have you ever been on vacation and been completely caught off guard by Aunt Flo?
Tracking your period can help in all of these situations! Whether you use an app, write everything down on a paper period tracker, or do something completely unique and creative in a bullet journal, keeping track of different symptoms throughout the month can provide you with a wealth of information about your body. Not only will you know when to expect your period, you’ll also know when you’re about to ovulate and be able to identify any unusual symptoms that could indicate a health problem. And, arming yourself with all of this in-depth information about your own body will ultimately make you more comfortable with your cycle and help you feel more in control around “that time of the month.”
So how do you track your cycle? Let’s dive in!
What is a period tracker?
A period tracker is a tool for tracking various symptoms related to your menstrual cycle. Depending on your individual needs, this could include keeping track of information such as:
Your period start and end dates
Your basal body temperature
Your flow volume
PMS symptoms such as cramps or bloating
Irregularities or any areas of concern
Why should you track your period?
There are countless reasons to track your period! At a very basic level, it can help you understand essential information about your menstrual cycle, such as how long your cycle typically lasts. One of the most common reasons to track your period is so that you can predict when your period will start. No more wearing pantiliners for days “just in case” or wondering if it’s okay to plan that weekend camping trip!
Knowing what’s normal for your body will allow you to monitor your health more closely. If you notice any unusual symptoms emerge, you can share these with your doctor. A change in your menstrual cycle is often the first symptom of a health problem — even those that may not seem related to the reproductive system, such as a thyroid issue or diabetes.
Other benefits of tracking your cycle:
Plan important events around your period. You probably don’t want to worry about your period if you have an important event coming up, like a beach vacation or a wedding! Getting intimate with your cycle allows you to plan ahead.
Know when you’re ovulating. You can use this information to your advantage whether your goal is to conceive or avoid conception!
Plan around serious symptoms. Are you prone to anxiety, menstrual migraines, or severe cramps? You can look ahead and plan accordingly. Don’t make plans to go to a party if you know you’re going to want to binge watch your favorite show with a pint of ice cream!
Know right away if your period is later than expected.
How do you track your menstrual cycle?
The symptoms you choose to track are totally up to you! You can keep track of just the length of your cycle, or you can track everything on the list — even add your own information! Our downloadable period tracker includes spaces to track your flow, basal body temperature, cervical fluid, common PMS symptoms, and mood, along with blank lines so you can add any additional information you want to keep track of.
Let’s take a closer look at how to track and use some of this information.
This one is fairly self explanatory: keep track of when your period starts and how long it lasts. The first day of your period is Day One of your cycle, so start a new sheet on that day. Fill in the appropriate box for each day of your cycle according to how heavy your flow is. You may even want to use different colors to make it easy to spot changes over time.
If you like, you can include additional data such as blood color or flow volume.
Basal body temperature
What is basal body temperature (BBT)? Your BBT is the lowest body temperature reached during rest. As you sleep, your body temperature drops slightly. The average BBT range is between 97.0 and 97.7 during the first part of your cycle, and it increases slightly after ovulation.
If you’re interested in keeping track of when you ovulate, your basal body temperature can tell you! Start taking your temperature first thing every morning when you wake up, before you get out of bed. You can use a regular digital thermometer, or if you want to get super exact, use a basal body temperature thermometer specially designed for tracking ovulation.
Hormones released during ovulation make your BBT increase slightly. Midway through your cycle (typically around day 14), you should notice a sudden spike in your BBT. This means you have ovulated! If you’re trying to conceive, now is the perfect time to have intercourse. On the other hand, if you’re not trying to get pregnant, this is NOT a good time to have unprotected sex.
Have you ever noticed a white or off-white discharge in your underwear or on the toilet paper? This cervical mucus, or cervical fluid, is another indication that ovulation is approaching. Cervical fluid is produced by the cervix, and it changes in appearance and consistency as estrogen levels rise and your body prepares for ovulation.
For a few days after your period, you likely won’t see any fluid. During this time, a follicle in your ovary starts producing estrogen as it prepares to release an egg. As estrogen levels increase, more cervical fluid is released. It may change from a creamy, white fluid to a clear, stretchy fluid that is often compared to egg whites.
The purpose of cervical fluid is to help your body get pregnant. The fluid gives sperm a substance to swim in; otherwise, the sperm wouldn’t be able to reach the egg after it’s released. You can use your period tracker to keep track of cervical fluid so that you know when you’re about to ovulate.
Keep track of any other symptoms you experience, such as bloating, cramps, headaches, fatigue, or acne. After a few months of tracking, you may start to see some patterns emerge. This will help you predict when these symptoms are likely to occur during your next cycle so you can be prepared.
How do you calculate when your next period will be?
After ovulation, your cycle enters a stage known as the luteal phase, which lasts until menstruation. This is when the body prepares for a possible pregnancy. Levels of the hormone progesterone begin to rise, triggering the body to thicken the lining of the uterus. If you get pregnant, the fertilized egg has a nice, soft spot to implant and grow. If you don’t get pregnant, that lining is shed during your period.
Here’s the cool thing about the luteal phase: it’s very consistent. So if you know from tracking your cycle that your luteal phase is around 14 days, and if you also chart when you ovulate, you can get a really good idea of when your period will start.
What if your period is late?
Tracking your period will allow you to see right away if your period is late. After you’ve tracked for a few months and have a good idea of the length of your luteal phase, you should know within a couple of days if it’s time to go to the store for a pregnancy test!
You’ve probably heard that stress can delay menstruation. This is true — sort of. Stress can delay ovulation, but it won’t affect the luteal cycle. That means that stress during the first half of your cycle can delay your period, but stress that occurs after ovulation won’t have any effect on the length of your cycle. So if your period is late and you think worrying about it will just delay it further, it won’t! But, if you have severe or unusual stress around the middle of your cycle, it might be a good idea to note that on your tracker.
The end of your cycle
When your period starts again, it’s Day One of a new cycle. Make a note on your tracker of how long your cycle lasted. Unless you have a condition that affects menstruation, like PCOS, you’ll likely start to see a pattern emerge. If you know that your cycle is usually 28 days, you can plan around your period for months in advance!
Your period doesn’t have to be a mystery. Start tracking your cycle and you may be amazed at what you can learn about your own body! This is a lot of information, so don’t worry if it takes several cycles to get the hang of it! If you want to learn more about all of your menstrual symptoms and what they mean, check out the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility.
As always, if you have any questions, we’re here to help! We’d love to know how tracking your cycle has helped you. Drop a comment below to let us know!