As talk of female anatomy becomes more and more common, we hear different terms being thrown around. One of those being cervix.
Many of us are familiar with the magic of the cervix during labor. While navigating the portal that is childbirth, a birthing person’s cervix goes through a process of softening, dilating (opening), and effacing (thinning). This is to allow an opening for the baby to travel from the uterus, through the vaginal canal, and out into the world.
What many people don’t know, is that the cervix plays a powerful role in our reproduction, besides during the process of birth.
Although technically, the cervix is its own distinct anatomical structure, it is the lower part of the uterus, extending from the bottom of it. It is the gateway from the uterus to the vagina.
The cervix maintains sterility of the upper reproductive tract. Protecting the female reproductive organs from a bacterial infection.
The cervix is not stationary. Throughout your menstrual cycle, it intelligently moves up and down, as well as changing in opening and moisture levels.
During your period, the cervix stays low, and is firm like the tip of your nose. This is to allow blood to flow through freely. When your periods ends, the cervix closes tightly, but tends to stay low. During the luteal phase when the egg starts to travel down the fallopian tube, the cervix may stay soft, while your cervical mucus gets thicker, as well as cloudy and sticky. As our bodies move through our cycles, and closer to ovulation, the cervix moves up. It becomes soft, wet, and open- making it easier for the passage of sperm. A good way to remember this, is by using the acronym SHOW- soft, high, open, and wet. After ovulation, the cervix becomes firm, dry, and closer. While Progesterone plays a large part in our cycles, estrogen is the magical hormone that helps facilitate this process, causing uterine lining to thicken, and softening your cervix throughout the month.
These changes in your cervix make inserting your Mahina cup that much easier! With the cervix lower, it is more accessible. Your menstrual cup should sit just below your cervix. So during your period (with clean hands), you will fold your Mahina cup into a tulip shape by pressing the side edge all the way to the bottom with a finger. In a relaxed state, and on an exhale, you will insert your folded cup into your vagina, letting it sit just below your lowered cervix.
A great way to become more familiar with your body and your cycle, is by tracking the changes in your cervix. You can make it a ritualistic practice, by creating a calm, sensual space. Feel free to use a mirror, to be able to actually see your cervix. If you’re unable to see it, you can try using a flashlight, or wait a few days until you are in a different part of your cycle. Recording changes in your cervical positioning and discharge in a journal (or handy period tracking app), will give you an accurate picture of your cycle. This can also help you in the journey of conception- or preventing conception.
Understanding your reproductive organs from the inside out, gives you the freedom to understand yourself, and your fluctuations on a deeper level. Educating ourselves on our bodies and cycles is part of the path of liberation for female bodied people.
Fun facts about the cervix:
- The cervix can change positions after vaginal intercourse, despite where you are in your menstrual cycle.
- During pregnancy, the cervix may go through all sorts of changes. Some people say it changes colors- to blue or purple. It is also totally normal for it to become enlarged and puffy.
- The cervix often looks like a little pink doughnut. It also resembles the head of a penis!
- During ovulation, the consistency of your cervical mucus helps sperm travel to the egg, helping aid in conception.
- While HPV, human papillomavirus, is incredibly common, it also the leading cause of cervical cancer. Pap smears are important, as well as safe sex!
- And just for fun…Aardvarks have two cervixes!
I encourage you to start getting to know this hardworking piece of equipment. Understand your cervix and your cycle, to take charge of your fertility- and your body!
with love and self-exploration, Alilia Rose Grace, CEO Mahina Menstrual Cup