Charting cervical changes for fertility
On the topic of Fertility Awareness this month; did you know that your cervix actually physically changes during your cycle? It changes so much so that you can use it in combination with tracking temps (or in lieu of) to further pin point your peak fertile day. It works especially well when combined with tracking mucous changes and may actually be preferable over temp charting for those of you who do not sleep a straight 6-8 hours through or awake at the same time each day.
The cervix is the opening to the uterus and becomes the gateway to the birth canal (you know, the part that has to open 10 cm before you can push?). When you are not fertile, your cervix stays lower in the vaginal canal. It also remains closed and dry. During ovulation, when you start getting more cervical fluid, it starts to raise up higher into the canal and starts to open and soften. This allows the sperm to travel more freely and effectively.
Finding your cervix is relatively easy, but you must get over any uneasiness to do so.
It’s easiest if you prop one leg up on a tub side or toilet seat, and of course – wash your hands, trim your fingernails. You place one or two fingers into the vaginal canal and reach as far back as you can. You’ll honestly feel something that seems like a nose (when not fertile) or something as soft as your lips (when you’re fertile), and it will feel completely different from the vaginal walls.
You might also notice that there is a small depression in the middle of it, this is the opening into the uterus and the part that opens slightly when you are at your peak time for ovulation. If you are unable to find it, just wait a few days and try again. You’ll also have to keep in mind that it may be easier to find while in a lower position, such as after your period or after ovulation. (if you’d like to see actual pictures of the changes, go here)
Charting your cervix is an effective way to practice Fertility Awareness/Natural Family Planning when combined with charting your temperature. When used together they give you a window in to what your body may be doing during each phase of your cycle and can help you pinpoint ovulation and achieve pregnancy.
More articles of interest about charting for fertility: