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The cervix and everything you should know about it

The cervix is the entrance gateway into the uterus, the womb. It is situated at the top of the vagina, in the lower end of the womb. It has a tubular shape and its diameter is approximately 2,5 cm (1 inch). There is a small opening in its middle which is called the os. It is the opening into the uterus and it is possible to touch it.

Regardless of the regularity or irregularity of the cycle, by observing the cervix together with other signs of fertility (e.g. quantity and quality of the cervical mucus, data obtained by measuring the basal body temperature, etc) it is possible to determine when ovulation takes place. This information is essential not only for women, who are trying to conceive, but also for those, who currently do not plan so.

During the infertile phase the cervix is firm and closed and it is not a problem to reach and touch it as it is in its low position. Little by little, as the ovulation is drawing near, it is more difficult to reach the cervix which moves into its high position and the cervix itself changes and becomes softer and more open. We can compare touching the cervix in the fertile phase to touching a person's lip. It is also possible to insert the tip of a finger into the opening. After ovulation the cervix returns to its original position, it is set lower and becomes firm again.

When checking your cervix it is important to keep in mind a few rules. Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water before and after examination. In order to obtain reliable information it is inevitable to check your cervix in the same position during one cycle. That is either while lying down with your legs bended, sitting on the toilet or while resting one leg against the bathtub.

For beginners we strongly advise to start with the observation after menstruation has ended because the cervix is in its basic position. It is sufficient to check your cervix once a day but checking your cervix more frequently, for example twice a day, enables you to get to know your cervix better and get a more precise picture in which position and phase the cervix currently is. It isn't the best time to check your cervix in the morning after waking up because the cervix is situated in its higher position. The same applies to examining your cervix after bowel movement, because the pressure causes a slight opening of the os and therefore the discovered condition might not be in accordance with reality. It takes most women at least two months to gain practice in examining and assessing the position and status of the cervix correctly.

It is essential to keep track of the information concerning the condition of the cervix together with the information obtained by observing mucus and measuring the basal body temperature by the help of the menstrual calendar and to evaluate them at the end of the cycle.

A method which makes use of this information in order to estimate the time of ovulation and so assist conception also in the case of an irregular menstrual cycle is called the symptothermal method.

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