High or low? Hard or soft?
It might be the first thing that lets you know whether or not you’re pregnant.
Let’s talk about your cervix in early pregnancy.
If you’re in the TWW (the two-week wait), you might be searching for any early hints which could give you an answer without waiting to miss your period.
Well, we’re here with good news: your cervix might be able to tell you that you’re pregnant before a home test.
This may be the first time that you’ve ever given this little muscle any thought, but read on to find out about the changes to your cervix in early pregnancy.
A quick caveat before we begin: checking your own cervix can lead to some confusion and anxiety during pregnancy, and is often unnecessary, according to Dr. Kiarra King.
“Unless you’ve checked hundreds/thousands of cervices it may be difficult to really assess changes associated with pregnancy. This is not a practice I would recommend throughout pregnancy, as you may run into introducing bacteria into the cervix. Certainly, if someone has cervical insufficiency I wouldn’t recommend a patient sticking their fingers in and unknowingly rupturing their amniotic sac.”
If in doubt, check with your doctor first.
In this article: 📝
- What is your cervix and why is it important?
- How does your cervix feel in early pregnancy?
- What about the position of the cervix in early pregnancy?
- Cervix in early pregnancy pictures
- What causes the cervix to open in early pregnancy?
- How soon does your cervix change in early pregnancy?
- Your cervix before your period vs. before you’re pregnant
What is your cervix and why is it important?
Quick anatomy lesson!
Your cervix is a ring of muscle found at the base of the uterus.
Its opening allows communication between the top of your vagina and your uterus.
It has a small opening to let sperm in and menstrual blood out, but it keeps things like water out of your uterus to protect you from infections.
It also has the pretty crucial job of holding your baby inside the uterus until they’re ready to come into the world.
You probably already know that the cervix changes during labor.
It dilates (opens) and effaces (thins and shortens) so that your baby can make their grand entrance.
But what you may not know is that it also changes a lot during a normal monthly cycle.
If you get to know those changes by feeling your cervix in the months before you conceive, you might be able to tell when something is a little different, and that might be the first sign that you’re going to have a baby.
Now, of course, checking your cervix is definitely not a conclusive pregnancy test and the only way to know for certain is to wait until your period is late and then test.
But there’s never any harm in knowing your body better and understanding what’s normal for you.
How does your cervix feel in early pregnancy?
In a regular, non-pregnant cycle, your cervix should usually feel slightly hard and open at the beginning of the month (during your period).
When we say “hard” in this context, we mean that it feels something like the tip of your nose.
(Bet you’re touching your nose right now…)
As you get closer to ovulation, it should feel increasingly soft, and pretty similar to your vaginal wall.
This softening happens because of extra estrogen and increased blood flow to your uterus around the time you ovulate.
Your cervix then gradually hardens again in the week after the egg is released.
If you do get pregnant, your hormone levels will rise and your body will start sending lots more blood to your uterus to allow it to start making things comfy for your baby.
Your body also has to form the placenta and make the mucus plug which will block your cervix until you go into labor.
So that means that if you’re pregnant, your cervix probably won’t harden again after you ovulate.
Instead, there’ll be a couple of extra weeks when it feels as soft as it usually does in the middle of your cycle.
The catch is that you have to be quick to notice this early sign of pregnancy.
Once the mucus plug is ready, the cervix will probably stay hard and closed for most of your pregnancy.
Can your cervix be slightly open in early pregnancy?
During pregnancy, your cervix will be high and form ‒ closed ‒ to prevent infection and keep both you and baby safe.
But in the early stages of pregnancy, it’s totally normal for your cervix to feel slightly open ‒ it’ll be starting to close at this point, but it should feel increasingly higher and more closed as your pregnancy progresses.
But if your cervix feels open (the same way it feels when you’re not pregnant), it’s worth checking in with your doctor.
Does high and soft cervix mean pregnant?
High and soft cervix doesn’t automatically mean there’s a baby on the way.
It’s also the position and feeling of the cervix during ovulation.
Then, after ovulation, it gets lower and harder again.
But a high and soft cervix can be an early indicator of pregnancy ‒ although it’s best to check with a pregnancy test, too.
What about the position of the cervix in early pregnancy?
Another good indication that you might be pregnant is if your cervix feels “high” in your vagina.
Usually, at the beginning of your cycle, your cervix is low down and open.
It pulls up towards your uterus and closes as your body gets ready to ovulate (which can make it a little harder to find, by the way).
It then lowers again after ovulation ‒ unless a fertilized egg implants in your uterine wall.
Is your cervix high or low if pregnant?
If you’re pregnant, your cervix will be positioned high ‒ it might start lower, then gradually get higher.
This is a “closed” cervix ‒ and it’ll stay that way until the last weeks of your pregnancy.
What if you have a low cervix in early pregnancy?
It might just be a little too early for your cervix to be “in position”.
So if you have a low, hard cervix at 4 weeks pregnant, try not to worry ‒ it’s still early days.
It’s likely to be slowly, almost imperceptibly, moving up higher, if you’ve conceived.
Give it some time.
How far up is your cervix when pregnant?
Oof. How long is a piece of string?
Everyone’s bodies are different ‒ some people have a longer cervix or vaginal canal while others might be shorter.
But very generally speaking, most cervixes are about 4-7 inches inside your vaginal canal during pregnancy.
Although we don’t recommend sticking a ruler up there.
Cervix in early pregnancy pictures
OK, so, unfortunately, we can’t share pictures of cervices (that’s the plural of cervix, dontcha know?) here.
But there is an amazing resource full of pictures of cervices, called the Beautiful Cervix Project, where you’ll find snaps of cervices from all walks of life.
So take a peek, if you’re curious.
What causes the cervix to open in early pregnancy?
If your cervix feels open instead of closed in early pregnancy, you may be among the 1% of women who goes through painless cervical dilation (which many practitioners still, unfortunately, call an “incompetent cervix” or “cervical insufficiency”, which are both terms we’re not keen on).
Early cervical dilation is a problem for your baby who still needs time to grow before they make their debut, but it’s important to remember that it’s not your fault and it can be treatable.
Dr. Kiarra King explains: “As it is due to painless cervical dilation and in the mid-second trimester, it’s not often recognized until delivery is fairly imminent. Patients diagnosed can be treated in future pregnancies with early ultrasound screenings and a prophylactic cerclage, done around 13-14 weeks. An urgent or rescue cerclage and be performed if a patient is stable and there is enough cervix through which to place a stitch.”
How soon does your cervix change in early pregnancy?
For some people, their cervix can get into pregnancy position about 12 DPO (days past ovulation), sometimes before the pregnancy has even been confirmed, and for others, it can take a bit longer.
It’s not an exact science here ‒ there’s no specific timeline that your cervix will be following.
It’ll be taking cues from your body and the embryo growing inside.
Your cervix before your period vs. before you’re pregnant
Check your cervix roughly between days 21 and 28 of your cycle (one week before your period is due and the time when you’re actually late).
If you find that your cervix feels low, hard and (possibly) open, it might be that fertilization hasn’t happened this time around, and your period is on its way.
If you feel your cervix and it feels soft, higher up (and probably) closed, there might just be a BFP in your near future.