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Fertility Files

The Fertility Files: The 3 Primary Fertility Signs Every Woman Should Know | Part III: Cervical Position

We have covered the top 2 signs every woman should know in order to optimize her fertility — Waking (Basal Body) Temperature and Cervical Fluid. This month we’ll discuss the third (and final) sign that informs you about your fertility — Cervical Position.

What is cervical position & why is it important?

Like body temperature and cervical fluid, the cervix itself prepares for a pregnancy every cycle by transforming into the “biological gate” through which sperm can pass on their way to finding your egg.  Without such transformation the “gate” would remain closed and block the sperm from reaching the egg, thereby preventing pregnancy.

How does cervical position change during a cycle?

As you move closer to ovulation, under the influence of estrogen, your cervix typically begins to become softer, more open and positioned higher in the vaginal canal, due to estrogen’s effect on the ligaments that hold the uterus in place. One of the easiest ways to remember how your cervix feels as you approach ovulation is the acronym SHOW: Soft, High, Open Wet.

Normally, the cervix is firm, like the tip of your nose, and only becomes soft and rather mushy feeling, like your lips, as you approach ovulation. In addition, it normally sits fairly low in the vaginal canal and is closed, feeling somewhat like a dimple. It only rises and opens in response to high estrogen levels around ovulation. It then abruptly falls lower again when estrogen drops and progesterone becomes the dominant hormone. Finally, as we explored last month, the cervix emits fertile, quality fluid when the egg is about to be released.

Why should I monitor cervical position?

While cervical position is an “optional” sign of fertility, it can provide clues to every woman about her impending ovulation. It can also be especially helpful if either of the primary signs (body temperature or cervical fluid) is confusing or difficult to read during a given cycle. It should never be relied upon alone, but can be a powerful addition to your monitoring efforts when attempting to achieve pregnancy.

How do I observe my cervix?

Even women who want to chart their cervical position, may initially be squeamish about checking. It’s understandable, as it is not something you are accustomed to feeling. It may also take a few cycles to be able to differentiate between high and low, soft and firm, and open and closed. But, if you breathe and relax, you can easily follow these steps:

  1. Begin checking your cervix once a day after menstruation.
  2. Always wash your hands with soap first.
  3. Try to check about the same time each day, such as after a morning or evening shower.
  4. The most effective position in which to check is squatting, as this pushes the cervix closest to the vaginal opening. A leg up on the bathtub or the edge of a chair also works well. Whichever way you choose, be consistent, as different positions will change cervical heights.
  5. Insert your middle finger (nails trimmed!) and use it as a convenient gauge, as you remember the acronym SHOW.

So, that brings us to the end of our exploration of “3 Primary Fertility Signs Every Woman Should Know” to optimize her fertility. Join me next month in the The Fertility Files when we explore supplements for optimizing fertility.

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