How to Check Your Cervix for Early Pregnancy

Using Cervical Changes to Predict Pregnancy

The two-week wait between ovulation and your period’s due date can feel like an eternity when you are eager to find out if you've successfully conceived. Pregnancy causes a lot of changes within the body, including changes to the position and firmness of the cervix. While only a test can officially confirm pregnancy, checking your cervix might give you some insight into whether you conceived before you even miss your period.

Where Is the Cervix, and Why Should You Check It?

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The cervix resides in the lower end of the uterus, where it is nestled between your uterus and vagina. During pregnancy, the cervix fills with mucus and serves as a protective barrier for a developing fetus. The cervix changes position by going higher or lower at different points in your cycle. The position of the cervix and the consistency of the mucus around it can help you determine if pregnancy has occurred, which is why it's helpful to check it.

How to Check the Cervix

The first step in checking your cervix is to know what you’re looking for. Located about 3 to 6 inches inside your vagina, the cervix is a narrow, tubular structure that feels a bit like a miniature doughnut with a tiny hole in the middle. Next, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and warm water. Make sure your nails are trimmed to avoid discomfort or accidental injury. While sitting on the toilet or standing with one leg on the edge of the tub, gently insert your longest finger into your vagina and keep reaching a few inches until you find your cervix. It might take a few tries before you are confident that you are feeling the right thing. Remember to feel for something that feels like a small doughnut with a tiny hole right in the center. The more you check your cervix, the more familiar you will become with the way it changes at different points in your cycle, and the more likely you are to notice deviations from the normal changes if you happen to conceive.

What Should the Cervix Feel Like?

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When you are not pregnant, the cervix feels firm, like the tip of your nose or a fruit that hasn’t ripened. Your cervix rises and becomes soft and open during ovulation so that sperm can easily enter. Once ovulation is over, the cervix shifts lower and becomes firmer again. In early pregnancy, though, the increase in blood flowing to the cervix causes it to soften. The cervix also rises during early pregnancy, but because the timing of this rise varies widely from woman to woman, the position of the cervix is a less-reliable indicator of pregnancy than the softness of it. It's possible to have a low cervix and still be pregnant. A soft cervix that feels more like lips than the tip of your nose and a sudden change in your cervical mucus are good indicators that you may have conceived. Some women get watery mucus in early pregnancy, while others get thick and sticky cervical mucus, so just watch out for any consistency that deviates from whatever the norm is for you.

Charting Changes in Your Body

Changes in your body are easier to identify if you have been tracking patterns for at least a few cycles. Many fertility apps are available that can help you chart your cervical position and hardness, cervical mucus patterns, basal body temperature, ovulation and menstruation. While cervical changes can offer useful insight into whether you've successfully conceived, there's still a wide margin for error. If your cervical exploration leads you to believe that you might be pregnant, take a pregnancy test and check with your doctor for confirmation.