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Int J Fertil. 1988;33 Suppl:10-6.

Self-palpation to assess cervical changes in relation to mucus and temperature.

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Serena Canada, Montreal, Quebec.


Women experienced in cervical self-palpation recognize fertile characteristics when the cervix is high, open, soft, and straight; this happens under estrogenic influence. The cervix is said to show infertile signs when it is low, closed, firm, and lying against the vaginal wall; that change occurs quickly under progesterone influence. The objective of this study was to assess the time relationship among changes in the cervix observed by self-palpation, changes in cervical mucus as observed by women, and the shift in basal body temperature during ordinary cycles. A total of 215 symptothermal charts from natural family planning users were analyzed. The duration of the change from the maximum fertility characteristics to the postovulatory return to definite signs of infertility was measured. This duration ranged from 1 to 7 days, with a mean of 2.65. The timing of maximum fertility signs in the mucus was compared with that of maximum fertility signs in the cervix: it varied from 3 days before to 6 days after, with a mean of 0.48 day. The timing of the first high temperature was compared with that of return to definitely infertile characteristics: it varied from 6 days before to 3 days after, with a mean of -0.69 day. Some of the variation may be due to the presence of inexperienced users in the sample. However, a mean difference of half a day between the most fertile cervix and the most fertile mucus on one hand and between the first day of infertile cervix and the first high temperature on the other hand suggest that the cervical changes could be useful indicators of estrogen and progesterone actions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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