@rugbygirl - You can certainly do it, or your partner can--it's not particularly difficult, although you might not be sure what you're feeling. You probably want to start practicing well ahead of time so that you can feel changes. A closed cervix feels a bit like a nose--kind of pointed and firm. Women who practice fertility awareness check their cervixes daily.
If you type "how to check my cervix for dilation" into a search engine, you'll find a lot of good suggestions. Basically, though, you'll use a position that you would use for inserting a tampon. Make sure your hands are scrupulously clean (maybe dry them on a paper towel) and/or wear a rubber glove. And DO NOT check yourself if your water has broken, because once that happens you're much more vulnerable to infection.
Good luck with your new baby!