Today we continue our three-part mini-series where we go over the basics of getting a handle on our menstrual cycle. In Part I , we went into everything you need to know about your fertile secretions and how you can use them as a tool in your menstrual cycle. In Part II, we covered everything you need to know about your basal body temperature and what affects it. Today it's time for part three and now we're going to introduce you to your cervix (womb) and how you can use it as a tool to understand where you are in your menstrual cycle.
What is the cervix?
The cervix is the lower part of your uterus and is your uterine tube . It is your cervix that dilates during labor and allows the baby to come out (how cool?!). It is also the cervix that allows menstruation and fertile secretions to come out, but also allows the sperm to enter! One could see it as a gate that determines what can come in and out .
Feeling your cervix can be a supplement to find out about your menstrual cycle and when you are fertile or not. Because the position and structure of your cervix (how it feels) changes depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle. Before ovulation , we produce more estrogen ( here you can read more about the menstrual cycle and its phases), which makes your cervix softer, more open and moves towards a higher position in your vagina , while the progesterone that dominates after ovulation causes the cervix to lowers, feels more firm and closed.
How do I check my cervix?
In order for you to get an idea of how your cervix changes over the course of the month, a tip is to feel it at least once every day during an entire cycle to be able to identify changes.
Here's how: insert your middle finger into your vagina and feel your cervix to see how it feels. A good opportunity is, for example, to feel your cervix when you shower, as you are both naked and have clean hands. If it is the case that you have difficulty feeling your cervix, you can try squatting as it will be easier to reach it.
It is not certain that you will feel super obvious changes until you reach ovulation. Many people find it difficult to feel any difference and therefore give up after a few days, but be consistent and patient. During ovulation, you can simply feel that something changes, it sits higher up, is softer and more open. After you ovulate, you will feel a change in that it sits lower, feels harder and closed. Once you've learned to feel this change, you have another tool you can use to keep track of when you're fertile or not during your cycle.
Important things to keep in mind when it comes to starting to track your menstrual cycle!
We are all unique , which means that all components vary, such as how long our menstrual cycle is, how much fertile secretions we have, what basal body temperature we have and how our cervix changes during the month. It is completely natural. When it comes to understanding fertility, it's about getting to know your body and what affects it so that you can then determine when you are fertile and not .
Something that many of us miss today, and especially when we use apps as a contraceptive method, is that our bodies are not machines . Our menstrual cycle is not separate from our health, but when different things happen in our everyday life, it will affect our body and menstrual cycle in different ways. Exactly how and in what way we are affected is rooted in a multitude of factors such as genetics, background, lifestyle and age. Some women experience missed ovulation and periods, for someone else it may be an autoimmune disease, for someone else PMS or PCOS.
When it comes to understanding fertility , it's important to let go of the image that your menstrual cycle will always be regular and predictable, because it most likely won't be for all of your fertile years. You will be able to identify a pattern for how your bike is, which makes it easier to notice when something deviates. Even if you have a regular cycle for a long time, it is important not to blindly rely on the fact that your ovulation will occur on the exact same day each month, but be aware that it can change. Using an understanding of fertility as a contraceptive method is a powerful tool for getting to know the body and becoming aware of how various factors in your everyday life affect your menstrual cycle. By combining tracking your cycle, measuring your basal body temperature, looking for fertile secretions and possibly feeling the cervix, you will get a safe contraceptive method and a deeper understanding of your body.