Changes in Cervix Before Period Vs Pregnant – A DIY Pregnancy Test!
A skipped period might be worrisome for some and a harbinger of hope for others. Your body has all the answers hidden inside! Let your cervix lead you to the right verdict.
On Nov 28, 2023 – 9 minutes read
Changes in your cervix before period vs while pregnant can be telling. For example, a high cervix can indicate pregnancy, whereas before period, it usually stays low. If you have no idea about this trait of the ‘doughnut tube’, keep reading to find out what all your cervix can tell you.
What is the Cervix?
If you didn’t know, the cervix is the tube-structured, circular band of muscle that is the entrance to the womb. It separates the vagina from the uterus.
Though 3 to 5 centimeters in length, the cervix feels like a ball high inside your vagina. It sits between the uterus (at the bottom of it) and the vagina, and serves basically as a pathway from the vagina to your uterus.
Checking the Cervix for Pregnancy
The cervix position before period and after are not the same, which is why tracking its changes can help you detect early pregnancy even before you use ovulation tests to boost your chances of pregnancy.
If you are trying to conceive, checking the changes in your cervix can help you identify your fertile window —the ideal time to have sex, detect ovulation and your fertility window, and also indicate when ovulation has already occurred. So, if you know what to look for, you get to pick on your pregnancy cues way earlier than you planned.
You can check your cervix easily by yourself at home with your fingers.
Cervical Changes During the Menstrual Cycle
You can spot the changes in the cervix during the follicular phase, ovulation, luteal phase, menstruation, intercourse, conception, early pregnancy, and after pregnancy.
There are four changes you can feel —position, texture or tissue softness, cervical discharge, and cervical opening. These changes can happen even during sexual intercourse, which is why it is not recommended to do the test right after sex.
|Clear and stretchy
not conceived after ovulation
|Before pregnancy/if conceived
Once you get comfortable enough, check for these changes in your cervix:
Changes in the cervix position – high or low – indicate different times of your cycle(1) or hormonal changes.
As you approach your fertile window, when your ovaries release an egg, your cervix moves up and high to prepare for conception. It may even be so high that you cannot reach it with your fingers. This is the optimal time for you to have sexual intercourse.
When there is no sign of conception, it drops down to the period position to allow menstrual tissue to pass through the vagina. But if you have conceived, the cervix will remain higher in the vagina, similar to the position during ovulation.
Cervix position during cycle will be low.
TL;DR: The cervix position before period will be low if you haven’t conceived. If you are pregnant, you will have a high cervix after ovulation.
The KNUCKLE RULE to Find the Normal Cervix Position
- High cervix: When you slide your finger inside, if you feel your cervix between your 2nd and 3rd knuckle, or barely reach, you have a high cervix.
- Medium cervix: If you feel your cervix at your 2nd knuckle —middle of your finger— you have a medium cervix.
- Low cervix: If your finger cannot go past the first bend, you have a low cervix or very short vaginal canal.
The cervix feels similar to the tissues lining your inner cheek to the touch.
When you approach ovulation and when you are fertile, it could be soft as your lips because estrogen(2) softens the cervical tissue. When it feels as soft as your vaginal walls and also moist, almost blending in with the vaginal walls, it is because the cervix has become super soft. Meaning, the ideal time to have sexual intercourse if you are trying to conceive.
If you conceive, your cervix will be soft at the beginning and gradually become firm due to the increased supply of blood. The texture of the cervix changes in early pregnancy due to increased blood flow.
On the other hand, when you have not conceived, it could be firm to touch as the tip of your nose. Should the cervix be hard before the period? Yes, it becomes firm like an unripened fruit. Your cervix will remain firm after your menstrual period until ovulation.
TL;DR: Before period, your cervix will feel hard like an unripe fruit until period starts. If you are pregnant, your cervix will be soft at the beginning and gradually become firm.
Also known as vaginal discharge or cervical fluid, cervical discharge keeps your vagina clean.
When you are ovulating, the cervical mucus offers natural female lubrication and ensures sperm an easier passage into the uterus, provides nourishment and maintains a healthier pH for their survival. It is not uncommon for women to experience occasional spotting during ovulation.
The same hormones that affect other changes in your body will also affect the cervical discharge. It changes throughout the cycle and some women use its consistency to track their menstrual period as well as pregnancy.
When you are not ovulating, the consistency of the discharge will be thicker and stickier. Well before ovulation, the discharge becomes sticky and appears white or yellow. But close to the fertile window, the discharge will increase and become opaque and creamy.
The cervical mucus during ovulation will resemble egg white and will be stretchy.
After ovulation, if you do conceive, you may notice discharge increasing —clear, thick, and sticky— instead of drying. This is because of the increased production of glandular cells that help form the mucus plug to protect your uterus and your baby from infection. Some may notice a slightly pink discharge, caused by implantation bleeding during pregnancy.
If you aren’t conceived, the discharge will begin to dry and thicken. While the cervical mucus before the period will be white, it will reduce immediately after a period and the vaginal dryness may last for three to four days.
TL;DR: Before period, the white discharge will tend to be dry and thicker if you haven’t conceived. If conception happens, you may notice increased discharge —clear, thick, and sticky.
Imagine your cervix as a soft, small ball about 3 centimeters. In the center of it, there is a small indentation —called the external os, which can vary from woman to woman. Shaped like a horizontal dimple, it may have a slight opening, or it will be completely closed. You can feel around your ectocervix (the external portion of the cervix), which protrudes out into the top of your vagina, to find the external os.
Just before ovulation, the cervix will be slightly open (no more than a thin slit). It will open just before as well as during menstruation to allow the blood to flow out. After the menstrual period, it remains closed. Immediately after ovulation (or several hours and even several days), the opening will be closed.
Even when pregnancy(3) occurs, the opening will remain closed until the third trimester. During childbirth, the cervix shortens, effaces, and dilates from being tightly shut to 10 centimeters wide and completely thinned or effaced.
TL;DR: If you haven’t conceived, the cervix will be slightly open before period to let blood out. When you’re pregnant, it will remain firm and closed until birth.
How To Check Cervix At Home?
When you are checking for the first time, expect to fail to locate the cervix.
If you are a first-time checker, place a mirror underneath your pelvis to actually see your cervix. If you separate your labia, you can see it clearly.
1. Empty the bladder: Empty your bladder before you start the checking.
2. Clean your hands: Wash your hands clean thoroughly with warm water and antibacterial soap.
3. Get into a comfortable position: Position yourself for easy and comfortable access to your cervix. This could be while standing with one foot elevated on the toilet seat or a stepstool or squatting.
4. Lubricate your finger: Although optional, if you lubricate your finger, you can slide your finger inside without friction or discomfort.
5. Insert and feel: Once you are comfortable, slide your middle or index finger (or both!) on your dominant hand into your vagina to feel the cervix.
Tips to Check Your Cervix
- Try to check the cervical position every other day, even when you are not ovulating. It is easier to locate the cervix when you are not ovulating anyway.
- Also, check the position at the same time of the day. Once in the shower and before bed the next day.
- It is best to check it right after the shower when your fingers are clean to avoid infection. Also, you will be more relaxed after a shower.
- Keep your nails trimmed to avoid any bruise to the cervix.
- Remember to not check the cervix position during or after sex. Because the cervix actually moves around depending on the level of sexual arousal.
- To detect pregnancy, check daily throughout your cycle. It may be difficult at the beginning, so keep a journal to monitor the differences. This way, you can gauge your cervical changes after a month of checking.
- If you have yeast, or vaginal infection, or UTI, don’t insert your finger inside. You can try buying a self-exam kit with a reusable speculum, flashlight, mirror, and additional instructions.
- Don’t do the test if you are pregnant or if your water just broke.
How Reliable is the Cervix Test for Pregnancy?
The cervix starts to change texture and position immediately after conception. Therefore, for those who cannot rely on a missed period to foresee pregnancy due to irregular cycle, checking your cervix is a good option to start with.
But is it a reliable pregnancy test or not? No, a positive reading of the cervix doesn’t make the pregnancy definite. You can get a positive pregnancy result before the cervix moves into the pregnancy position (high).
Everyone’s body works in its own unique way. Always use a reliable pregnancy test or visit a gynecologist for a blood test to be sure.
When To See A Doctor
If you check your cervix regularly and find any of the following, get medical attention immediately:
- Cysts, polyps, or other lumps.
- Noticeable changes: blue, red, or black lesions on your cervix.
- Cervical discharge that is green, bloody, or foul-smelling.
- Vaginal itching or pain.
Knowing your cervix before period vs pregnant can help you read the early signals your body gives you. Whether you’re trying to conceive, or worried about a missed period, these cues will guide you.
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