Signs of Ovulation: How Your Cervix Changes During A Cycle
Understanding your cervix can help when you're trying to conceive. Signs of ovulation can help conceive your baby easier.
An important part of tracking your fertility is getting to know your cervix, as it can provide interesting information about where you’re at in your fertility cycle. As the lower part of the uterus (womb) that projects into the vagina, the cervix does an important job in your monthly cycle. Every woman has a different ‘normal’, but certain changes in your cervix throughout the month indicate when you may be ovulating. Those are her signs of ovulation.
Alongside your Basal Body Temperature (BBT), Cervical Mucous (CM) and tracking your menstrual cycle, notes on cervical changes should be integral to your fertility diary. Noting just a few words of how it feels (‘open’, ‘dry’, ‘tight’) may help clarify when you ovulate after a few months of tracking.
How your cervix changes throughout the month
When you start your period (Day One of your cycle), there’s no need to feel your cervix for changes, as you’re clearly menstruating.
Once your bleeding stops, you may have a few days (possibly up to a week) as a ‘pre-fertile’ phase. This is the time from when the bleeding finishes and when the fertile phase begins.
During the pre-fertile phase, the lining of the uterus starts to thicken, regenerating after the period has finished. At the same time, a group of eggs in the ovaries start to ripen.
Feeling your cervix at this time, it should feel relatively low, firm and only slightly moist (or even dryish) and tightly closed when compared to other times in the menstrual cycle.
Signs of Ovulation: Fertile ground
After your pre-fertile phase, you move into the fertile phase of your cycle, which is when you really want to start noting any changes in your cervix, particularly if you’re having trouble tracking your cervical mucus (CM).
As oestrogen levels increase, a woman’s uterus and cervix start to produce a special fertile mucus which is capable of protecting the man’s sperm and helping them survive for up to three to five days in the woman’s body.
The fertile mucus sits in the opening of the woman’s cervix and lines her uterus and fallopian tubes. The mucus acts as a continuous stream to transport sperm up into a woman’s fallopian tubes, in readiness for when an egg is released. Once the woman releases an egg (or ovulates) it only survives for around 12 to 24 hours.
The fertile phase is also called the follicular or proliferative stages, as the egg is still maturing and the lining of the uterus continues to thicken. A woman’s fertile phase usually starts about three to five days before ovulation, until the egg is released.
If you feel your cervix it should be higher, softer, wetter and slightly more open when compared to the previous days.
During ovulation, your cervix will now be at it highest point and may even be difficult to reach. It should feel very wet, soft and open.
The time after ovulation is the post-fertile phase of the menstrual cycle. The post-fertile phase lasts for about 14 days (ranging from 12 to 16 days) until the bleeding starts again. The medical terms for this phase are the ‘Luteal phase’ – which refers to the capsule left in the ovary that encased the released egg called the ‘Corpus Luteum’ (or ‘white body’).
The corpus luteum produces the progesterone hormone, bringing the lining of the uterus (or ‘endometrium’) to maturity. Or the alternative, the ‘Secretory phase’, because the lining of the uterus is now able to secrete glucose, aimed at feeding a developing baby until they fully implant in the lining of the uterus and start to draw on their mother for nourishment.
At this time, your cervix should feel quite similar to the pre-fertile phase: lower, firmer, only slightly moist or even dry and tightly closed again.
This article was republished with permission from KidSpot.