What Does a Fertile Cervix Look and Feel Like?

What Does a Fertile Cervix Look Like? Feel Like?

Illustrations of cervical opening in woman who has given birth and who has never given birth
On the left is an illustration of a cervix in a woman who has not given birth. The cervical opening is more rounded and slightly more closed. On the right is a picture of a cervix in a woman who has given birth. Instead of a rounded opening, it's more of a horizontal opening. Both are normal. Morphart Creation / Shutterstock

Your cervix looks and feels different when it's in the fertile stage of your menstrual cycle. You can use this information to detect ovulation. It's easier than you may think! 

When your cervix is high, soft and open, you are getting closer to ovulation. Your cervical mucus also changes—it becomes a raw egg-white consistency. This is the time for some baby making sex.

But what is a high, soft, and open cervix? What does a cervix look like? Or feel like? How will you know?

The "My Beautiful Cervix" Project

A student midwife decided to explore and demonstrate what these changes look like. She did this for herself and to help educate her students. She took photos of her cervix throughout the menstrual cycle.

With the help of a speculum, her boyfriend (to do the picture taking), a flashlight, and a digital camera, she documented the phases of cervical change on her website, My Beautiful Cervix.

Even if you know how to detect when your cervix and cervical fluids are fertile, you can benefit from seeing the photos. Plus, it’s fascinating!

Visit her website here:

  • My Beautiful Cervix (Warning! This website contains intimate, real photographs of cervixes, vaginas, and the female reproductive system.)

You can also participate in this project and send in photos. Check out her website for more information.

Some people may be uncomfortable with the project, but others find it inspiring and empowering. We know so little about our bodies and how they work. Her photos give us an opportunity to learn more about our reproductive organs and our fertility.

Getting a Visual Idea of What the Cervical Opening Looks Like

Maybe you're not comfortable looking at real images of cervixes. Here's another way to visualize what a cervix looks like.

First, be aware that when we talk about "checking your cervix", we're talking about the part of the cervix visualized during a gynecological exam. The cervix isn't just the end that you can feel, but extends up further into the body, serving as a pathway from the vagina to your uterus. 

The neck of cervical tissue is about 3 to 5 centimeters long. The length and position of the cervix change throughout your menstrual cycle, throughout pregnancy, and even during sexual intercourse. During childbirth, the cervix significantly shortens or "thins" in a process that is referred to as effacement. 

The opening of the cervix that you can feel with your fingertips is called the ectocervix. The "dimple" at the center is known as the external os.

Your cervix is located at the opposite end of the vaginal opening. If your vagina is a hallway, the cervix is the locked door at the end.

How to Check Your Cervix and Cervical Position

Once you're there, what are you feeling at the tip of your fingers?

Imagine a small rubber ball. Now, imagine that you slightly flatten the ball. It's still rounded but not as much. It's about 3 cm, or 1 inch, in diameter.

In the center of the squished ball is a small indentation. You can't put your finger past the indentation (nor should you!). It's like a dimple.

The dimple may be rounder or it may be more like a horizontal dimple. It may have a very slight opening or be very much closed. The opening may feel very smooth, or it may have a more jagged edged feel.

Next, imagine our dimpled ball is made of tissue with the smoothness and moistness of inside of your cheek. However, if you very gently pressed, it would feel more like you're pressing against the tip of your nose. 

Now, picture our imaginary cervix at the end of a warm, pinkish tunnel, the walls of which are moist and protective.

These walls gently and easily move apart when something is inserted between them and gently close back when removed. Kind of like slipping something beneath a thick heavy blanket and then removing it, the blanket returning into space.

This, more or less, is what your cervical opening and the pathway there looks like.

How the Cervix Changes Before, During, and After Ovulation

Your cervix will not always feel the same or be in the same position. 

Sometimes it will be low and easy to reach. Other times, it may be so high that your fingertips can't reach it.

Sometimes it'll be soft like your lips, and other times it will have a hardness more like the tip of your nose.

As ovulation approaches, your cervix will seem to move higher up into your body.

Your reproductive system is transitioning into positions that are ideal for sex and conception. 

When ovulation has occurred and your fertile time has passed, the cervix will drop lower and be easier to reach.

If you've ever wondered why sometimes your partner hits your cervix during sexual intercourse (ouch!) but other times doesn't, this is partially why. This is more likely to happen during the two-week wait than when approaching your most fertile time. 

Sexual arousal will also have an effect on the cervical position, no matter where you are in your cycle.

Not only does the position change, but also the cervical opening.

When you're ovulating, the cervix will feel more open. The dimple widens to allow easier passage of semen. 

The softness of the cervix also changes. When you're especially fertile, the cervix becomes softer. It feels more like your lips than like the tip of your nose.

The cervix is also moist around ovulation. This is from cervical fluids, secreted to create an ideal environment for sex and semen.

Cervical Mucus and the Cervix

If you could see your cervix, you'd see the mucus or fluids that secrete near the opening.

Cervical mucus, or cervical fluids, are an extremely important part of your reproductive system. 

When you're ovulating, the cervical fluids contain nourishment for sperm, maintain a healthier ph balance also for sperm, and provide an easier passage from the cervix to the uterus. 

When you're not ovulating, the cervical fluids are thicker and stickier. This is protective, just like how the mucus in your nose is protective. To keep foreign organisms out.

Cervical and vaginal secretions also automatically keep your things clean. You should not use soap and water to try and wash out your vagina. It has a natural system in place that already does. This is why you should not douche.

Douching washes away the natural fluids, which can lead to irritation, increase your risk of infections, and wash away cervical fluids meant to help you get pregnant.

Tracking how your cervical mucus changes throughout your cycle can help you pinpoint your most fertile days.

Taking a Peek at Your Cervix

You don't have to look at pictures of other women's cervixes and guess at what yours looks like. It actually is possible for you to take a photo of your own.

You'll need a speculum, a flashlight, and a mirror or smartphone. You can purchase a speculum online. Amazon.com sells them, as do many sex toy shops. You may also want to purchase a self-exam kit from BeautifulCervix.com.

Every speculum works slightly different, so giving specific instructions here isn't possible. However, some things to keep in mind include:

  • Practice opening, locking, and unlocking the speculum several times before you try inserting it inside yourself.
  • Make sure you wash the speculum before and between every use with gentle soap and warm water.
  • You can do this yourself, but having a partner or friend to help may be useful.
  • Use lubricant! Place the lubricant on your vulva. If you want to be able to see the cervical mucus, avoid thick lubricants like KY Jelly. A water-based lubricant is best.
  • Don't use cervical self-exam as a replacement for regular OB/GYN doctor checks.
  • Be gentle, be curious, and be patient!
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