During a normal menstrual cycle, the female body goes through a number of changes. Each month, the body prepares an egg to be released by the ovaries. This time of the month is known as ovulation and is typically around the middle of the woman’s menstrual cycle. If the egg is unfertilized, it is dissolved with any other tissues during menstruation about two weeks later.
While this process is taking place, hormones within the body stimulate changes in the vagina, cervix and ovaries. The cervix will change in position and texture when hormonal changes occur. These changes have been tracked during research studies and can be used to tell when ovulation is about to take place. At different times of the month, the cervix may be positioned higher or lower. It may be soft, hard, open or closed depending on the hormonal levels in the body.
What Does a Soft Cervix Mean?
There are several reasons why the cervix may be soft. While it is most commonly caused by ovulation, this can also be due to early pregnancy. If the woman is pregnant, it may occur right before labor is about to begin.
1. Early Pregnancy
During early pregnancy, it is normal to see a variety of cervical changes. The cervix tends to become soft during early pregnancy. Known as ripening, this texture was named because it feels similar to the softness of a ripened fruit. Before someone becomes pregnant, the cervix may feel harder like an unripened fruit. Increased cardiovascular activity can cause the cervix’s texture to change as it becomes bloated with blood.
You can easily see if your cervix is soft by touching it. At the start of the pregnancy, the cervix may be hard and feel like the tip of your nose. As the first trimester gets underway, the cervix will feel softer and as pliable as your lips. The cervical position will also change so that it is pointing toward the front of your body.
To see if these changes have occurred, you can easily check your cervical position at home. If you normally check your cervical position and texture, it will be easier to tell if you have a softer cervix than normal. Obviously, the easiest way to tell if you are pregnant is to take a pregnancy test after you miss your menstrual period or to go to the doctor for a more accurate blood test.
Some women feel a softer cervix and think that they are pregnant. Most of the time, the cervix becomes softer only because the woman is ovulating. During this time of the month, the cervix becomes softer like your lips and it will rise up slightly. It becomes dilated and the hole opens up slightly to allow sperm to enter easily. This helps your body to increase the chances of you conceiving. Once ovulation has finished, the cervix returns to its normal positions and becomes firmer. The hole narrows more because the body no longer needs sperm to enter the uterus.
3. Before You Start Labor
Often, the cervix will soften right before you are about to go through labor. For your body to go through labor, the cervix has to soften and dilate. This basically allows the cervix to stretch so that the baby can pass through the cervical canal. At first, the cervix is hard with a rounded shape to keep the placental fluid and the baby in. During the third trimester, the cervix softens and opens up so that the child can be delivered.
At this time, you may notice that the cervical tissue has become thinner. This is so that it will be easier for the cervix to dilate. Most women will not feel any pain or other signs that the cervix is dilating. In some cases, the woman may feel mild or severe contractions a week before the labor process actually begins.
You can easily tell when labor has started by timing your contractions. Once your contractions last for 40 to 50 seconds and occur every three to five minutes, labor has become. It is normal to have pre-labor contractions at random intervals, but you should always check with your doctor to make sure that you are not actually in labor already. You may also experience mild or severe pain as labor gets underway. Your body is basically stretching the cervix to four to five centimeters by thinning the cervix and making it more stretchable.
How to Check Your Cervical Position at Home
Ideally, you should check your cervix every day to learn what is normal for your body. You should do this in the same position and at the same time of day for it to be accurate. To check your cervix, you should do the following steps:
1. Wash your hands beforehand so that you do spread bacteria or viruses to your reproductive tract. If you already have a vaginal infection, wait until the infection is completely cured to start checking your cervix.
2. Sit on the toilet or prop one leg on the bathtub for a comfortable position to check your cervix.
3. You will find your cervix toward the back of your vaginal cavity. It will feel spongy like your nose and slightly firm.
4. Place your finger (your middle finger works best because it is the longest) in your vaginal cavity and reach backward. If you are not ovulating, the cervix will be fairly easy to find.
5. Check your cervix every day to spot changes. You can write down these changes on a calendar so that you can learn when you are ovulating or when you can expect your period to occur.