If you are pregnant, you must have heard of the mucus plug, but you don’t know much about it and have many questions about it such as: what is the mucus plug? How is it different from other vaginal discharge? How to tell it fell out and what happens after it falls. Answers to all these questions and more are in this article.
It is a lump of mucus that is formed in your cervix in the early days of your pregnancy. It is made of transparent to white gelatin-like mucus. It serves as a buffer to protect the uterus and the fetus from any external infections or bacteria that can come through the vagina. This plug is an essential factor in the survival and continuation of the pregnancy. The formation of the plug is influenced by pregnancy hormones, progesterone that densifies the plug at the beginning of the pregnancy, and Estrogen that thins it out towards the end of the pregnancy.
The mucus plug is thick, transparent to white, and sometimes yellowish, it is often mixed with blood so you can see stripes of red, pink, or brown. The plug may fall out all at once making the amount much larger than any other vaginal discharge. It may also fall gradually often after the 37th week of pregnancy. The other pregnancy discharges, however, have different colors and are thinner, and come out in regular amounts.
As your body prepares for labor your cervix becomes thinner, and shorter making it easier for the plug to fall out. Your cervix will open up after the mucus plug falls out in preparation for labor. The plug might fall out all at once, then you can see on your underwear a large amount of thick mucus that is sometimes mixed with blood, or it can fall out gradually so you see lesser amounts of bloody thick mucus.
Sometimes the falling of the plug is accompanied by other symptoms like:
The falling of the mucus plug indicates that your labor is going to happen soon, it may happen in a few hours, days, or weeks. It is important to stay alert for other signs of labor to know when to go to the hospital.
If the plug falls before the 37th this may indicate you might go into preterm labor therefore you need to see your doctor to have a proper evaluation and get the needed treatment.
Go see your doctor, or head to the hospital to get checked and evaluated maybe you are already in labor, so you need to make sure you and your baby are fine. Ask your doctor or midwife for guidance and avoid following popular recipes and advice to protect your overall well-being and the well-being of your baby.