This series is part of the "Beautiful Cervix" project, a grassroots movement celebrating the beauty and intricacies of women’s bodies and fertility.
The pictures below are from a cervix of a 25-year-old woman who has never given birth before. Each photo was taken at approximately 10 p.m. every day starting the first day of her menstrual cycle. For the duration of this project, she used condoms as her birth control method so as not to introduce seminal fluid into the photoshoot. She did not use tampons or mooncups during her menstruation either.
This cycle is of normal/average length for her, about 33 days. Her cycle’s follicular phase (variable number of days preovulation) lasts until about day 20 or 21. Her fertile phase lasts from days 13 to 21 with ovulation on day 20. Her luteal (post-ovulation) phase is 13 days long (12-16 days is the norm and is not variable in a normal cycle).
This is a graph of her basal body temperature for this cycle. As you can see, after ovulation on about day 20, her temperature began to rise due to the heat-inducing hormone progesterone produced by the corpus luteum. This temperature shift signifies that ovulation has already occurred.
Check out more information about the Fertility Awareness Methodof birth control to learn more about cyclical temperature changes.
You may notice on the right side of some photos, some jagged looking skin, which is the remnants of her hymenal ring. Her os (opening in the cervix) is round because she has never given birth; the os becomes more of a slit after childbirth. On the sides of the photos, you can see her vaginal rugae, which are the ridges that make the elastic muscular canal of the vagina able to open/expand dramatically during arousal and childbirth.
She also tracked the depth/movement of her cervix in her vagina. These gradual shifts are not really distinguishable in the photos but was a tangible change as the depth she needed to reach a finger inside to touch her own cervix varied slightly each day. She also noted the firmness of the cervix and openness of the os — again a change she was feeling with her finger.
Her uterus is tipped backward (retroflexed or retroverted uterus), so you may notice that the cervix is pointing upwards in some photos. This is an anatomical variation that is present in about 20-30% of the population and is most often a genetic trait. It means that the body of the uterus lies more towards her back than over her bladder.