Losing Mucus Plug

image001 When you become pregnant, your body undergoes a multitude of changes and adjustments to accommodate the baby in your womb. One of these changes is your mucus plug. Its purpose is to protect your baby from bacterial infections by creating a barrier near your cervix opening. This keeps all the harmful germs away from him. As is the case with most other women, your mucus plug will stay put until you are almost ready for delivery.

What Is the Mucus Plug?

Most doctors and midwives assume that all women know what a mucus plug is and what it does for you during your pregnancy. As a result, they do not find it necessary to talk about it and explain its significance any further. If you are not sure what exactly a mucus plug is, read on to find out more information about it.

Much like your nose does, your cervix secretes mucus as a kind of protective barrier from harmful impurities. During your pregnancy, the mucus forms a plug inside your cervical canal. This plug will keep your unborn baby safely in your womb, away from bacteria and other germs.

Your mucus plug may appear in many forms. Because there is no specific way that the mucus plug should look like, you might have difficulty discerning if you have already lost yours when the time comes. You may find that it comes out in small quantities with noticeable streaks of blood, or as one solid mass with a gelatinous consistency. Its color may also vary and can be green, yellowish, pinkish, brown, clear, or any blend and combination of these. If you are not a first-time mother, you may notice that the appearance of your plug is different from that in your previous pregnancies. This is because the mucus plug is different for every woman and can even vary for each pregnancy.

The following photos are examples of mucus plugs dislodged during different stages of pregnancy. Although the photos are not pretty, they can be very informative for you.

Stage of Pregnancy

Photos

36 weeks, 5 days

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37 weeks

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37 weeks, 1 day

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38 weeks, 6 days

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39 weeks

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39 weeks, 1 day

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41 weeks

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Want to get more information about what the mucus plug is? Check out the video below:

What Does Losing Mucus Plug Mean?

When your mucus plug is dislocated from your cervical canal, your cervix is ripening and dilating in preparation for your baby’s birth. Sometimes, however, having sexual intercourse or undergoing a vaginal examination can also cause your mucus plug to get dislodged along with some bloody discharge.

Losing your mucus plug is a signal from your body that you are nearing your delivery. Nonetheless, this does not mean that you are in trouble if you have not yet lost yours even if you have almost reached your due date. You simply might not have noticed your discharge, or, as is the case with some other women, your mucus might stay in your canal up until you actually go into labor.

When Does Losing Mucus Plug Happen?

To prepare for your pregnancy, your cervix starts to become thinner and more dilated. As this happens, your mucus plug is let loose and discharged from your canal. Keep in mind that even if your cervix has already started its dilation, it may still be quite a while before you actually start your labor. When you do lose your mucus plug, you might still have to wait a few hours, days, or weeks afterwards before your baby is ready to come out.

Women usually lose their mucus plugs gradually, with their secretions increasing in the weeks leading up to delivery. Nevertheless, it is also normal, though more uncommon, for the mucus plug to get dislodged all at once in one solid mass. However, consult with your doctor immediately if you have not reached your 36th week, yet already notice bloody mucus discharge.

How Do I Know I Am Losing Mucus Plug?

Signs

Descriptions

Changes in consistency of mucus

During your early stages of pregnancy, discharge from your vagina should be thin and slippery. In contrast, your mucus plug has a thick, stringy consistency. If you start to observe differences in the appearance of your discharge, this means that you have already started passing your mucus plug.

Changes in color of mucus

Mucus plugs are usually a lot darker in color compared to regular vaginal secretions. Though it has no certain or specific colors, it is usually dark brown or red. It may also be yellowish or greenish, similar to the mucus discharged from your nose.

Blood around mucus

Unlike regular vaginal discharge, you mucus plug may contain slight traces of blood. The likelihood and quantity of bloody secretions increase as you approach your labor.

Date of passing versus due date

If your discharge changes in its characteristics a few weeks away from your expected due date, this is most probably already your mucus plug.

If you would like to know whether all women lose their mucus, you can watch the video below:

When Should I Call a Doctor for Losing Mucus Plug?

If your mucus plug has a normal color as well as consistency and is dislodged within the normal time frame, you have no cause for alarm. Just take note of when you first notice changes in your discharge and report it to your doctor during your next visit.

However, call your doctor immediately if you notice that your mucus plug comes out before your 36th week, and it becomes bright red, or gets secreted in excessive amounts. Discharge in quantities greater than an ounce indicates that there may be a complication in your pregnancy. Check to see that you do not have placental abruption or placenta previa.