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.
In this article 📝
- What is your cervix and why is it important?
- How does your cervix feel in early pregnancy?
- Your cervix before your period vs. before you’re pregnant
What is your cervix and why is it important?
Your cervix is a ring of muscle between the top of your vagina and your uterus. It has a small opening to let sperm in, 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. Clever, right?
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?
What does the cervix feel like 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.
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. It 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.
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 一 unless a fertilized egg implants in your uterine wall.
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 early cervical dilation (which many practitioners still unfortunately call an “incompetent cervix”). This happens more often to women who have hypermobility or who’ve had previous surgery or an injury to this area.
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’s completely treatable. If your cervix is open in early pregnancy, doctors will usually make a small stitch called a cerclage to hold your cervix closed until your baby reaches full term.
Your cervix before your period vs. before you’re pregnant
So, to recap:
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.