Written by Sarah Biddlecombe
“How to find your cervix” is one of the most googled gynecological queries, so we’re here to help you find the answer.
Your cervix is a small part of your uterus that plays an essential role in your reproductive cycle, and locating it can help you uncover lots of interesting information about your body.
Let’s find out more and hear a doctor’s step-by-step guide to help you find your cervix.
Your cervix is a small, round part of your uterus that joins the top of your vagina to the lower part of your uterus. It’s usually around an inch long, although this can change depending on your age, menstrual cycle, and whether you’re pregnant.
Are you wondering what your cervix looks like? Dr. Angela Jones, MD, FACOG, award-winning and board-certified obstetrics and gynecology expert and Flo Medical Board member, says: “Merely for visual purposes, imagine the cervix is like a tiny donut; round in shape with a hole in the middle. The cervix is firmer than the vagina and will have a dimple at its center.”
It may be small, but your cervix plays a vital role in your reproductive system. It produces mucus that protects your uterus, ovaries, and uterine tubes from bacteria that could cause an infection. This mucus forms the discharge that you might notice over the course of your cycle, which is often clear or white. During ovulation, this mucus becomes thinner than normal, which helps sperm to move up the vagina to your uterus, so it can fertilize an egg.
Your cervix has an opening called the os, which opens and closes at different points during your cycle. It opens slightly just before ovulation and again during your period, when it allows blood to flow out of your uterus.
During pregnancy, your cervix remains closed to keep your baby in your uterus, and then softens and dilates during late pregnancy and childbirth. Ever heard a doctor on TV reference how many centimeters dilated someone is when they’re giving birth? This is what they mean.
Your cervix sits at the top of your vagina, but there’s no definitive answer for how far it is from the opening.
“This is person-dependent, as everyone’s body is unique,” explains Dr. Jones. “It may be centrally located or more deviated to one side. Vaginal lengths vary; needless to say, an individual with a long vagina may find they have a more difficult time locating their cervix.”
It can be really helpful to know where your cervix is, especially if you want to understand your cycle and figure out when you’re ovulating. To do this, Dr. Jones recommends noting where your cervix is positioned(whether it’s higher or lower in the vagina), what it feels like (firm like your nose or soft like your lips), cervical mucus composition (the amount and consistency), and whether the os is open or closed.
Dr. Jones adds that knowing where your cervix is can also help you to check the strings of your IUD or coil to ensure it’s still in place (she recommends doing this monthly) and help determine what size menstrual cup you need. If you’re pregnant, finding your cervix might also help you determine whether you’re dilated.
Plus, as Dr. Jones points out: “Your cervix belongs to you, and knowing what it feels like can be pretty empowering! I fully support anything that helps women feel more in touch and aware of their own bodies.”
Your cervix will naturally move higher and lower throughout your cycle, although you won’t feel this happening. During your period, your cervix will likely move lower, which could be a tactical move to help the blood leave your vagina.
Your cervix will then move higher just before ovulation, which is the optimal position for conception, before moving back down again once ovulation is complete to start the cycle again. Clever, eh?
Are you ready to find your cervix? Dr. Jones has shared some useful tips to help you find your cervix and understand what your cervix feels like.
Wash your hands. First things first: make sure your hands are clean to prevent bacteria from entering your body. Dr. Jones also recommends cutting your nails short to avoid infection and reduce the potential for scratches. You can also wear sterile gloves.
Check your timing. “Some people will say not to check your cervical position after or during sex; this is likely due to the fact that cervical position changes during sexual arousal, which makes locating your cervix more difficult,” she says.
Is this your first time finding your cervix? “You set yourself up for more success in locating and feeling your cervix when it’s lower in your vagina (after ovulation and during your period),” Dr. Jones explains.
Get into a comfortable position. What this looks like varies from person to person, so just go with what feels best for you and gives you the easiest access to your cervix. “Some may prefer the shower; others may prefer a squatting position,” she says. “A position similar to what is done when inserting a tampon or menstrual cup may be preferable for some. Remember, nothing beats a try.”
Insert your finger into your vagina. Dr. Jones recommends using your middle finger, as it’s the longest finger for most of us, but you may prefer to use your index finger instead, or even both.
Start by slowly reaching your finger upwards until you touch your cervix. “Contrary to popular belief, your vagina is not a never-ending tunnel,” she explains. “The vagina does come to an end, so to speak, and it is at this end that you will find your cervix.” You could also use a mirror as a guide. However, you may not always be able to see your cervix.
Feel your cervix. Dr. Jones notes that your cervix will likely feel harder than your vagina. But, how can you tell if your cervix is open or closed? “When the cervix is firm, like your chin or the tip of your nose, the opening of the cervix is likely closed. You will likely be able to feel the dimple or opening of the cervix,” advises Dr. Jones.
“When the cervix is open, its consistency will be much softer, and you may or may not be able to slightly feel inside the opening.”
Try again. Don’t worry if you can’t find your cervix on your first attempt. This is completely normal, but don’t be put off.
“Try, try, and try again,” encourages Dr. Jones. “It can take practice, especially if you’ve never felt your cervix before. Finding the best position to feel your cervix may also take some time.” So relax, breathe, and enjoy getting to know your own body.