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31 Weeks – Cervical Dilation and How To Check Your Cervix | Mother Rising

Did You Know? Dilation is not spelled or pronounced “dial-ation.” It’s actually, pronounced, “dye-lation.”
As one nears the last six weeks of pregnancy, I often have moms ask me “At what point will they do a vaginal exam on me?”. Or, “When will they check me?”

My Response has Two Parts

First, it’s your body and your vagina, so if you would like a vaginal exam this is the perfect time to get one, or to have a conversation with your care provider about getting one.

If you don’t want one, make your desires very clear when initiating conversation with your care provider about such an exam.

My second response deals with what sort of information a vaginal exam will and will not tell, and the emotional implications that may or may not ensue.

Here’s a fun little post I wrote all about that entitled Your Vagina is Not a Crystal Ball.

vagina is not a crystal ball

What is a cervix?

Did you know that your cervix is your uterus? The cervix is talked about so often, that I think we forget that it’s not its own entity.

The cervix is part of the uterus, the opening or the mouth. Isn’t that cool?

I am a Self-Proclaimed Cervix Checker

Since having read and implemented the information found in Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler  I have been aware of my cervix and how it changes during my monthly cycle and in pregnancy.

In early pregnancy it was soft and mushy, in the beginning of the second trimester is was hard, firm (like the tip of my nose) and VERY anterior (angled towards the front of my body).

Now, in the third trimester, it is posterior (facing towards my back), hard to reach and very mushy.

Today (at 31 weeks) I checked my cervix and it was mushy, gushy and hard to reach. I’m pretty sure I’m 1/1.5 centimeter(s) dilated (which I think is pretty common for a mom who has already had a baby??)

Here’s How I Check my Cervix

  1. When I take a shower I get all clean and make sure my hands are super clean.
  2. I get into a squat position and
  3. Use my index and middle finger, put them in my vagina
  4. And go back as far as I can go. Waaaaay back there I can just barely reach my cervix.

Since I have been checking my cervix for years I have a frame of reference – I know where I’ll usually find it, and what it feels like.

Have you ever tried to check your cervix? Here are step by step instructions on how to check your cervix during pregnancy.

Reasons You’ll Want to Check Your Cervix in Pregnancy

1) So that you’ll know what your body is doing and you won’t have to ask someone else what is going on. It will make you feel more in control, more part of the process rather than that the process is happening to you.

2) You’ll want to be able to check your own cervix in labor because, you know what… vaginal checks in labor freaking suck. Typically, you have to climb on a bed, which causes a contraction, get on your back, which causes another contraction and then the vaginal exam in itself causes a contraction. At least, that’s how I remember my vaginal exam when I was in labor; it REALLY SUCKED. I’d rather just figure it out for myself and skip the extra suckage, as I’m sure you would. The situation was already tense enough.

Did or do you check your cervix in pregnancy, labor or in general? I’d love to hear your experience!

I checked my cervix myself in daughter #1’s birth and daughter #2’s birth as well. I was glad I did (or tried to). It helped me to know what was going on all by myself. Very empowering!

When should you NOT check your cervix in pregnancy?

  • You should not check your cervix if your care provider has told you it’s not a good idea.
  • You should not check your cervix if you have had any pre-term labor/dilation issues.
  • You should not check your cervix if you have a low lying placenta OR your placenta is covering your cervix (placenta previa).
  • You should not check your cervix if you have a cerclage.
  • You should not check your cervix if your water has been broken. Remember, your vagina is not a vacuum cleaner BUT if you introduce bacteria via a vaginal exam you are increasing your chances of developing an infection.
vagina is not a vacuum cleaner

Uche Brenda

Tuesday 13th of September 2022

What does the cervix looks like


Friday 10th of September 2021

I’m 33 weeks and tried to check mine tonight but it seems to be too far for me to reach. I know where my cervix is at because I checked it to see if I was pregnant and used to check to see if I was ovulating that way. I’m going to an all natural birth center and from my understanding I will not be checked for dilation until they either see my labor has stalled or if I get to 41w6days. So it would be nice to know if I have dilated any. My baby has been hitting his head against my cervix making me have lighting crotch. Im almost 34 weeks and want this baby to at least wait until 37 weeks to make his appearance. I also know you can be at 1cm for weeks but I’m a first time mom and being a bit of a worrier!


Sunday 13th of January 2019

I always think it's so funny when people are afraid of cervical checks and think they will cause some sort of problem. These same people have no problem with sexual activity though and having their husbands fingers and willy up there touching their cervix. At least when we check it we make sure we are clean.


Thursday 4th of July 2019

Thank you. I actually had a bit of a panic attack thinking I’d get an infection because of sex, especially because I tend to get bumped in the cervix, and because when fingers go up there, they’re not always washed, especially in the heat of the moment.


Wednesday 10th of April 2019

Thank you! Finally someone said it


Thursday 28th of September 2017

Ive been checking since baby #6, who also happen to coincide with me finsihing up my nursing program and gave me more confidence in what I was looking for. Nice to have a better gauge of when I should be headed ro the hospital since I am a vbac momma and have had very fast labors. Now expecting baby #10 but my first previa.....

Drew Bessen

Tuesday 6th of June 2017

I would be interested to know what obstetrician-gynecologists think about your suggestion to examine your own cervix during pregnancy.


Thursday 12th of October 2017

I can give you that opinion. As an obstetrician the only time I will examine a cervix manually (with a finger) after the first trimester is if that patient looks like they are going in to active labour, or after 37 weeks. The reason for that is that cervical stimulation can bring about labour, hence why a sweep works. I wouldn't want to cause any pre term labours as I could land a baby into NICU, or worse. So yeah, maybe best not to do it. I get it may be "empowering", but it doesn't really tell you anything. I've known people at 2-3 cm at 33 weeks delivering at term, and those at less that one cm at 39 weeks. It means very little unless you're actively contracting and is a great route for infection with none clean fingers.