The mucus plug is a thick mucus, secreted by the cervix, to protect the mothers womb and baby during pregnancy.
The mucus plug carries antibodies that are able to neutralize bacteria, viruses, and other disease-causing agents.
The mucus plug starts to build immediately upon pregnancy but does not reach its full size until you’re about 12 weeks along.
It acts as a barrier at the opening of the cervix and it stays there until your cervix starts to make changes, like dilating and/or softening. This usually happens in late pregnancy but can happen sooner than that.
The mucus plug can regenerate itself if it’s dislodged too soon before birth. Which is important to keep in mind if you lose your mucus plug early. And you should mention it to your provider if this happens before late pregnancy as it can be an indicator of preterm labor.
The mucus plug can be about 4 centimeters long. You can lose it in pieces or all at once.
The mucus plug looks different for every woman but it can vary from white, yellowish, beige/brown, clear and be tinged or streaked with pink or red which is associated with blood.
The consistency is similar to a thick snot or egg whites.
Losing your mucus plus is not a sure sign that labor is coming soon. Although some women report going into labor fairly soon after losing their plug in late pregnancy. It’s more of a sign that the cervix is making some changes.
You may not lose your plug at all until well into active labor and that’s perfectly normal.
You can also lose this protective barrier sooner than your body intended to when you consent to routine cervical exams during pregnancy when checking for dilation/effacement/station.
Losing your mucus plug is usually painless and odorless and there’s no need to avoid baths or sex.
There is a difference between a ruptured amniotic sac (water breaking) and loosing your mucus plug.
A water rupture will be the consistency of fluid and usually clear unless baby has passed meconium, and the mucus plus is thick and snot like.
Heavy bleeding before or after losing your plug is not normal and you should contact your provider immediately.
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