The cervix is the lowest part of the uterus. It’s a small passageway connecting the vagina to the uterine cavity, about 1–1.5 inches or 2.5–3.8cm long (1). The Latin, cervix uteri translates to the womb’s neck. In the vagina, the cervix looks like a smooth fleshy O, about an inch or 2.5cm in diameter, with a hole in the middle — similar to puckered lips.
Your cervix does a lot for you: it keeps unwanted bacteria and viruses out of your uterus, it opens and closes to let sperm in and menstrual blood out, it produces its own lubrication and even grows its own plug if you become pregnant (called a mucus plug). Like the vagina and clitoris, the cervix also contains nerve pathways involved in the sexual response.
Learning how to check your cervix is easier than you think. It may sound like something only taught to doctors and nurses, but there’s no reason a woman can’t learn where her cervix is and how to notice changes in cervical position over the course of the menstrual cycle.
It’s a key part of the female reproductive system. More specifically, it allows for the passage of a baby during childbirth, and the release of menstrual fluid during a period. For conception to occur, the sperm must journey through the cervix to get to the uterus.
HOW DEEP IS THE CERVIX?
For anyone debating between menstrual cup sizes, this is a great question to answer. When the average woman is unaroused, it’s 3 to 4 inches deep. For someone who has a high cervix, it’s 4 to 5 inches deep. For someone with a lower one, it’s less than 3 inches deep.
Keep in mind that the vagina lengthens when aroused. This is why many women are able to have pain-free intercourse. Though experiencing pain during or after sex, also known as dyspareunia, is extremely common: Some research found that 60% of women experience it at some point.
Why Check Your Cervix
If you’re trying to get pregnant, checking your cervical position can provide key information to help identify your fertile window (or the ideal time to have sex for the best chance to conceive). Your cervix goes through subtle changes throughout your menstrual cycle.
Your cervix also changes during late pregnancy and childbirth. You probably know this from the movies. When the television doctors say “She’s 10 centimeters,” they are talking about dilation of the cervix.
The cervix shortens, thins, and dilates during childbirth. It morphs from being tightly shut and hard at the start of pregnancy to 10 centimeters wide and completely effaced (or thinned out) at birth. It is possible for you to notice these changes yourself.