Okay, at first read, this might sound rather weird, confusing, and funny all at the same time, but yep, this does happen and it is absolutely normal! Without any ado, let us first get straight to the point!
What is a Mucus Plug?
A Mucus Plug is defined as this jelly-like, thick barrier that exists between the cervix and the uterus. The mucus plug starts to form in the cervix right at the time of implantation and completes its formation around the 12th week of pregnancy. In its final size, it is right about the size of a quarter.
The purpose of a mucus plug is to restrict the entry of bacteria and viruses into the uterus. It is one of those really small elements of pregnancy that may not sound like a big deal but actually plays a rather huge role in your pregnancy.
What Does a Mucus Plug Look Like?
A mucus plug looks exactly like it sounds by the name of it- like a blob of mucus. It is stringy, jelly-like, and sticky inconsistency, and ranges between one-two ounce of tablespoons in weight.
The color of the mucus plug varies from mother to mother. The range of ‘normal’ colors for a mucus plug includes-
- Light beige/brown
- Blood-tinged in color
At this point, it is important to note that though ‘blood tinge’ is normal and acceptable, bright red is not. If you have some bright red discharge, you should contact your doctor immediately.
How Do I Know If I Have Lost My Mucus Plug?
While some women might know immediately after losing the mucus plug, some might remain absolutely clueless. It comes out as a large glob or a large spot on your underwear. It might also come out after a woman’s water breaks. Why some women might not realize that they have lost the mucus plug because it looks very similar to any other vaginal discharge. However, you realize or you don’t, there really is nothing to worry about.
What Happens After You Lose Your Mucus Plug?
Losing the mucus plug in most cases is your body’s sign that it is preparing itself for childbirth. However, if the mucus plug happens to come out after the 38th week and is followed by labor pain, water breaking, or contractions, you’re all set to welcome your angel!
If you lose your mucus plug, before the 37th or the 38th week, there’s nothing much to worry about. Just take note of the date and be sure to disclose it to your doctor. If in case, you don’t happen to realize it, it is no big deal either.
How Early Can You Lose Your Mucus Plug ?
For the very basic fact that losing the mucus plug is a sign of the cervix changing its form to prepare for labor and delivery, the mucus plug should be lost only after the 37th-38th week. If you happen to lose the mucus plug earlier, make sure that you speak to your doctor to rule out any complications.
How Long After Losing The Mucus Plug Does Labor Start ?
The mucus plug, unfortunately, can only give you some hints and clues around your labor and it cannot definitely tell you if labor is set to start. Losing the mucus plug is only one of the signs of labor, it does not mean that it will definitely be followed by labor. The breaking of the mucus plug, as discussed earlier, only means that your hormone levels are rising, the cervix is changing in size and thickness and the body is gearing up for delivery.
But when exactly would that delivery happen after the mucus plug is lost? That varies from mother to mother and could range from hours to days to weeks in some cases.
Final Takeaway :
As our final piece of information, we would like to quickly discuss Bloody Show, a phenomenon commonly confused with mucus plug discharge.
Bloody show sure sounds like it is straight out of a Halloween night but in reality, it is very commonly experienced as a part of preliminary labor. The bloody show can also be a part of the process of losing the mucus plug.
The cervix begins to expand once the mother nears the due date and since the cervix is a blood-loaded organ, the expansion leads to some bleeding called the bloody show. This blood, at times, mixes up with the mucus plug, making it one and the same thing as losing the mucus plug for such cases. This is also why, earlier in the blog, we discussed that a pink-streaked or blood-tinged mucus plug is acceptable while a bright-red mucus plug might call for professional consultation.