Yes, it is possible to get pregnant even if your cervix is closed. The cervix can sometimes close temporarily during certain parts of the menstrual cycle, but sperm may still be able to get through and fertilize an egg. Getting pregnant with a completely closed or damaged cervix is less likely, but can still occur in some cases.
What is the Cervix?
The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. It is a cylinder-shaped structure that is normally firm, closed, and positioned over the vaginal canal.
The cervix has a small opening called the external os, which allows menstrual blood to flow out of the uterus. Around ovulation, the cervix becomes softer and the os opens to allow sperm to enter into the uterus and fertilize an egg.
Cervix Positions Throughout The Menstrual Cycle
The position and firmness of the cervix changes at different stages of the menstrual cycle:
During Menstruation: The cervix is normally low, firm, and closed.
After Menstruation, During the Proliferative Phase: Under the influence of estrogen, the cervix gradually pulls upwards and becomes softer and more open.
Around Ovulation: The cervix is high, soft, open and may feel wetter due to cervical mucus production. This allows sperm to enter through the os.
During the Luteal Phase: After ovulation, the cervix lowers and becomes firmer and closed again.
During Early Pregnancy: The cervix remains closed and low while the uterus expands.
Can I Get Pregnant If My Cervix Is Closed?
Yes, it is possible to get pregnant if your cervix is closed. Here’s why:
- The cervix can temporarily close at different times during your cycle, even when you are fertile and ovulation is approaching.
- Sperm can survive inside the female reproductive tract for up to 5 days. So if you have sex while your cervix is open and then it closes, the sperm may still be viable when you eventually ovulate.
- Some sperm may be able to squeeze through the narrow opening of a cervix that is partially closed.
- For conception to occur, only a few sperm need to make it through the cervix in order to fertilize the egg.
However, the chances of getting pregnant decrease if the cervix remains tightly closed during your fertile window.
When is the Cervix Completely Closed?
In some cases, the cervix may be completely closed or blocked:
- During pregnancy – the mucus plug seals the cervix closed.
- After menopause – decreased estrogen causes the cervix to tighten.
- In cervical stenosis – when a severe infection, surgery or other damage causes scarring and tightening of the cervical opening.
- Congenital cervical atresia – a birth defect where the cervix didn’t fully develop.
With complete cervical blockage, it is very difficult for sperm to penetrate and fertilize an egg. However, pregnancies can still occur in rare cases.
Getting Pregnant When The Cervix is Closed
Here are some ways pregnancy can still happen when the cervix is fully or partially closed:
During Times of Temporary Closure
The cervix may appear tightly shut during certain phases of the menstrual cycle, even when you are fertile:
- Right after your period – estrogen levels are low and the cervix is tightly closed. However, it starts to open as you approach ovulation.
- Right before your period – progesterone causes the cervix to close and harden after ovulation occurs.
Since the cervix changes through the cycle, temporary tightness doesn’t necessarily prevent pregnancy if you had sex on fertile days.
When the Cervix Spasms Open
In some women, the apparently closed cervix may briefly relax and dilate open for short periods of time, allowing sperm to get through.
This temporary partial dilation of the cervix is known as cervical spasms. It can unpredictably create brief opportunities for sperm to reach the uterus.
With Cervical Crypts
The inside lining of the cervix contains many crypts or pockets. Sperm may hide and survive in these crypts even when the external os is closed.
When the Semen is Pushed Through
The force of ejaculation during sex can sometimes push semen through a partially open or closed cervix. This may allow sperm to reach the uterus.
With Cervical Ectopy
Cervical ectopy is a condition where the glandular cells from inside the cervical canal protrude outside through the os.
Sperm may be able to penetrate these cervical glandular cells even when the external os is closed. Having cervical ectopy can increase the chances of conceiving with a closed cervix.
Can a Closed or Damaged Cervix Be Fixed?
There are some options to help open a closed or damaged cervix, which may increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Surgical procedures can be done to correct cervical damage or openings that are too narrow:
- Cervical Dilation: Using tools to gradually stretch and open a stenotic cervix.
- LLETZ: Removing abnormal cervical tissue that is preventing sperm from passing through.
- Cervical Conization: Removing a cone-shaped portion of the cervix to allow the cervical canal to open.
These procedures potentially make the cervical canal more accessible to sperm. However, they can also cause scarring, so the benefits and risks should be discussed with your doctor.
For women with cervical stenosis, hormonal medications may help soften and dilate the cervix:
- Estrogen supplements can relax the cervix and stimulate cervical mucus production.
- Misoprostol pills help ripen and open the cervix before intrauterine insemination (IUI).
This hormonal treatment needs to be discussed with and monitored by your doctor.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures may enable sperm to bypass a closed cervix altogether through the direct placement of sperm.
However, the cervix may need to be opened using drugs or tools to allow insertion of insemination or embryo transfer catheters. Discuss with your fertility specialist.
When to See a Doctor
See your doctor if you notice the following signs that may indicate cervical blockage:
- No menstrual blood can pass through the cervix
- Significant pain during sex
- Recurring infections – a blocked cervix can lead to hematometra or pyometra (collection of blood or pus in the uterus)
- Inability to conceive despite regular unprotected sex for 6 months to 1 year.
A pelvic exam can determine if the cervix is closed or stiff and difficult to open. Your doctor may recommend imaging tests and surgical procedures to fix the issue.
Getting pregnant with a closed or damaged cervix is challenging but not impossible in some situations. The cervix can temporarily close at various points in the menstrual cycle, but open up again at the time of ovulation.
In other cases like cervical stenosis, trauma or congenital blockage, it is harder for sperm to pass through, but pregnancy can still sometimes occur. Certain interventions like surgery, hormones or IVF may improve the chances of conception.
Seeing your doctor promptly if you suspect cervical blockage is important, since it can impact your fertility and cause other gynecological problems. With evaluation and proper treatment, many women are able to conceive successfully even with cervical challenges.