What is the purpose of the cervix?
[.highlighted] Q: Dear Teal, [.highlighted] The cervix is a bit of a mystery to me. What is its purpose?
A: The cervix produces cervical mucus that cleans and hydrates the vagina. Because it responds to hormonal changes, cervical mucus changes throughout the menstrual cycle. Perhaps if you’ve tracked your cycles or tried to conceive, you’ve noticed or looked for changes in your cervical mucus. Near the time of ovulation, the mucus is thin and slippery, promoting sperm to pass through. It can also be a source of sexual stimulation for some women during intercourse.
The cervix also plays an important part in pregnancy and birth. During pregnancy, it develops a protective thick mucus plug which helps prevent infections. It is the part of the uterus that opens/dilates during labor, allowing the fetus to move through the birth canal during a vaginal delivery. “Fully dilated” means your cervix is fully open.