Are you losing mucus plugs? If so, what does this mean? When does the labor start once you lose the mucus plug? Having all these queries is common for someone facing pregnancy for the first time.
When to see the doctor? Or should you wait after losing the mucus plug? It is indeed a symptom that labor is coming. However, there are other more prominent symptoms like water breaking or contraction, suggesting that labor is coming.
Still, what does it mean when you lose the mucus plug? Here is a simple breakdown of the condition and suggestions regarding what to do in this situation. So, first, let’s learn what a mucus plug is.
What Is Mucus Plug?
The mucus plug is the protective collection of mucus inside the cervical canal. The cervix of a pregnant woman creates a jelly-like thick fluid that keeps that area moist and protected. Bit by bit, this fluid becomes a thick plug and protects the cervical canal like a seal. It prevents bacteria and different infections from entering the uterus.
To simplify, you can think of it as a differentiation between your uterus and the vagina. If you are tracking pregnancy symptoms, you should also be read for labor symptoms.
Among other signs of labor, losing the mucus plug is also a sign that labor is coming. When the cervix starts to open up for labor, the mucus plug gets discharged into the vagina. However, losing the mucus plug does not necessarily mean that the labor is coming soon.
There might be a huge time gap between the delivery and losing the mucus plug. When a pregnant woman loses the mucus plug noticeably, she is supposed to go into labor soon. It can happen within a few hours, or it can take some days as well. So, if you are wondering how long after losing a mucus plug, labor starts, there is your answer.
Why Do Pregnant Women Lose Mucus Plug?
During the pregnancy, the female body starts to prepare for labor. That is why the cervix starts to thin out, soften, and open eventually. As a result, the mucus plug gets lost from the cervix. The mucus also gets pushed out into the vagina. This process is called losing the mucus plug. Pregnant women lose their mucus plug during the 37th week of their pregnancy. In case you lose the mucus plug early before the 37th week, you should try to contact the doctor as soon as possible.
How Does Discharging Mucus Plug Look Like?
When you lose the mucus plug, it will supposedly look like this –
- Clear, slightly bloody, and off-white (usually brown or pinkish in color.)
- Jelly-like material that is stringy or sticky.
- It can be one inch to two inches in length.
- It usually does not contain any odor.
- It has a volume of 1 to 2 tablespoons.
You can lose the mucus plug in a single glob, or you may lose it little by little. It is normal to lose a small amount of blood during the process of losing mucus plugs. However, if you experience an excessive amount of bleeding, you should contact the doctors as soon as possible.
You can differentiate between the mucus plug and vaginal discharge by looking at their color. Vaginal discharge is normally thin, light yellow, or white in color. On the other hand, the mucus discharge is jelly-like and thicker. It can usually be tinged with brown, pink-colored blood. They are different both in color and density. A good way to understand their difference can be through a mucus plug color chart.
What To Do When You Lose Mucus Plug?
Pregnant mothers become worried after losing the mucus plug. They worry about when the labor might start. Are you worried about the same? If so, here is what you should do.
- First, you should see what the mucus looks like so that you can tell your doctor.
- The color of the mucus, size, and appearance of the mucus are some things you need to keep in mind.
A clear description of the mucus plug will help the doctor determine the signs of the discharge.
36 Or Fewer Weeks Pregnant
It is beneficial to track pregnancy symptoms week by week. If you are less than 36 weeks and have lost the mucus plug, they may recommend an evaluation. However, the evaluation is recommended if the doctors feel that you are too early for labor. They may want to check the baby or your cervix. So, if you are losing your mucus plug before the 36th week of pregnancy, you should call the doctor immediately and discuss the situation.
Pregnancy After 37th Week
When you are pregnant for more than 37 weeks, and there are no bothering symptoms, then you should not worry about losing the mucus. However, it is still good to stay safe and contact your doctor. You can call the doctor and report the symptoms you are facing. In the majority of cases, doctors will suggest you wait for further symptoms and inform them.
You may want to watch out for more regular and frequent contractions that become closer. When the discharge becomes more frequent, you can wear a panty liner or protective pads for prevention.
Should You Call The Doctor?
Losing mucus plug is normal in pregnancy. In most cases, it is a sign that the labor is going to start. However, if you see more amount of bright red blood in the mucus plug, it may be a concerning issue. Also, when the mucus couples with bleeding, it means that there are pregnancy complications. Placental abruption or placenta previa are some common things here.
It is a positive sign to lose the mucus plug. It means that you are proceeding toward labor, and the baby will finally come out. Most pregnant women lose the mucus plug during or after the 37th week of their pregnancy. It should not be a reason to worry about. Instead, it is a sign for delivery soon. We always suggest contacting your doctor whether the symptoms are normal or you are facing any severe issues.
However, if there are any questions or concerns, you can leave them in the comment section. We will get back to you as soon as possible.
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