Checking Your Cervix

While cervical exams provide little useful information the majority of the time, there may be some instances in which you could benefit from knowing “what’s going on down there”.  This is especially true if you’re planning a homebirth, particularly if it will be unassisted.  I hope this information is helpful to those wanting to learn.

As always, safety and sanitation come first.  Always wash your hands thoroughly and trim away any sharp nails.  The cervix is well circulated with blood near the end of pregnancy, thus making it easier to irritate or scratch if you are not careful.

Also, vaginal exams are most successfully performed with the index and middle finger.  Be mindful of your thumb and keep it well out of the way.

Finding Your Cervix

It will be much easier for you to find your cervix if you were charting your fertility signs prior to your pregnancy.  When you’re not pregnant, your cervix will have a hard consistency like the tip of your nose.   It is similar to a soft, full donut complete with a “hole” (the “os” of the cervix, or the part that dilates and effaces) in the middle.  It will be closed and tight when not dilated.  However, if you’ve already had a baby, even by c-section, then the cervix never quite closes completely again.

When pregnant, your cervix will feel soft, open and warm with a mushier texture, much like your lips.

It’s quite possible that if you are attempting to check your own cervix, you won’t be able to reach or find it yourself.  You may have to enlist the help of your birth companion in this task.