Person holding out a donut that represents the cervix

Nature's Gate to Another Dimension

AUGUST 31, 2022

Content Warning: There are two photos of a real human cervix about two-thirds of the way down the page.

Maybe I’ve been watching too much Stranger Things on Netflix lately, but I can’t stop thinking about how the cervix is like a gateway to another dimension.

The experience within the womb might be better described as the, “inside out” rather than the, “upside down," and I really hope the placenta is more pleasant company for a developing fetus than the disturbing monsters that run the upside down in Stranger Things. But whether we’re talking about a space filled with life-threatening vines or life-giving veins, it’s the opening or closing of a gate that determines who (or what) gets in. 

The cervix is a magical portal.

Anatomically-speaking, the cervix is the lower portion of the uterus. It changes position slightly in response to shifting reproductive hormones throughout the ovarian cycle. When fertility is high, then the cervical os (opening) widens the gate for sperm to enter. On infertile days, the gate is closed and protected by G-type mucus (produced in the post ovulatory phase under the influence of progesterone).

Three questions to help determine fertility status based on observations of the cervix include:

What’s the position of the cervix within the vaginal canal?
Does it feel high, medium or low? Is it tilted toward or away from the rectum?

How does the os (opening) of the cervix feel?
Does it feel very open, partially open, or firmly closed? If you’ve given birth and your cervical opening is more like a smiley-face than an “O” shape, how does it change throughout the cycle?

How does the tissue feel?
Does the cervix tissue feel soft like a well-moisturized lip, or does it feel hard like the tip of a nose? 

It takes time to interpret the cervix, but with a little daily attention and awareness you can distinguish its differential qualities with confidence. You may find that one or two characteristics are more noticeable or true for you.

Generally, a cervix that is more soft, open, high, and vertically aligned in the vaginal canal is associated with high fertility, whereas a cervix that is hard and closed indicates an infertile time.

Fun fact: Within the cervix itself are cervical crypts that produce cervical mucus under the influence of the hormone estrogen, which increases during the pre ovulatory half of the ovarian cycle. An open, soft cervix allows cervical mucus to pass through. When observed at the vulva, all cervical mucus is considered fertile (unless an experienced fertility awareness method user has identified exceptions.)

Cervix Images (And how to see yours!)

Cervix photo, never given birth

CERVIX | Age 34, never given birth

Cycle Day 11, ovulatory phase

soft, open, tilted forward

Cervix photo, postpartum 8 months

CERVIX | Age 36, 8 mo. postpartum

Cycle Day 33, 1 day before menstruation

hard, tilted back, opening not determined

If you’re interested in getting to know your cervix intimately, prop a leg up or stand in a squat position – whatever is comfortable for you - check in with yourself first, and then you can insert a finger into the vaginal canal to feel for your cervix. You may find that it’s too high to reach at first, and need to shift positions slightly and try again. This could also be a time of high fertility, and within a few days the cervix may shift to a more easily reached position.

You can check out The Beautiful Cervix Project for real cervix photos as well as at-home kits for viewing (and photographing, if you wish) your own cervix. You can also assemble your own kit! All you need is a speculum, lube, mirror, phone camera (optional), and flashlight (recommended).

Sending admiration to fertility gateways everywhere,

- Sara

This post is intended to support folks in understanding the cervix. It is not medical advice. At any point, this information may become outdated as new research is introduced.

[BACK] Postpartum Fertility, LAM and FAM Charting
Fertility Awareness Educator Sara at Reverence Fertility

About the Author

Sara (she/her) is a Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner and Fertility Awareness Educator serving clients virtually and locally in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Since 2016, Sara has used fertility awareness based methods to avoid pregnancy, optimize her fertility, time a pregnancy with her partner and navigate postpartum fertility.