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Everything About Mucus Plug

Published on Oct 15, 2021 and last reviewed on Oct 20, 2021   -  4 min read

Abstract

A thick clump of mucus collection that protects the cervical canal is known as the mucus plug. It forms during pregnancy and blocks the cervix, thus preventing the entry of bacteria. Please read the article to know more.

Contents

Introduction:

Losing a mucus plug is not confirmatory of upcoming labor all the time. If the mucus plug is lost, then packing and leaving for the hospital or preparing to wait for days will depend on the patient. Losing the mucus plug is not the only symptom of the upcoming labor, and it is also not the most common symptom, such as water breaking or contractions.

But it is important to recognize the loss of mucus plug and also to understand the symptoms and signs of labor to know when to reach the hospital or call the doctor.

What Is the Mucus Plug?

The protective collection of mucus in the cervical canal is known as the mucus plug. At the time of pregnancy, the cervix starts secreting a thick, jelly-like fluid that helps to keep the area moist and protected. Eventually, the fluid accumulates, and it seals the cervical canal, creating a thick mucus plug. Thus, the mucus plug acts as a barrier and prevents the unwanted bacteria from traveling into the uterus.

At the time of pregnancy, losing a mucus plug can be a precursor to childbirth, and the time of losing the mucus plug and going into labor may vary. As the cervix opens wider for delivery, the mucus plug will get discharged into the vagina.

What Signs and Symptoms Succeed A Mucus Plug Loss?

There may be several symptoms of impending labor, and losing a mucus plug is one of them. However, some women lose the mucus plug and still carry the baby for several more weeks, and some women go into labor within hours or days after passing a noticeable mucus plug.

When the mucus plug is lost, and you experience the following labor symptoms, you may be closer to delivery. The signs and symptoms of labor include;

1) Lightening:

When the baby starts to drop lower into the pelvis, lightening occurs, which helps the mother breathe easier but causes the baby to press on the bladder more. Lightening indicates that the baby is getting into a position to support labor.

2) Rupturing of Membranes:

The membrane rupturing is also known as water breaking, and this occurs when the amniotic sac tears and releases fluid. The fluid gets released in a tremendous rush or can come in a slow, watery, trickled fashion. Contractions can occur when the membrane ruptures, which can be more frequent and long-lasting as the cervix dilates and softens for the preparation of childbirth.

3) Cervical Thinning:

The cervix should become thinner to allow the baby to pass into the birth canal. The doctor will conduct a cervical check-up to estimate the change in the cervix when the delivery date is near.

4) Dilation:

The stretching and thinning of the cervix are two major signs of impending labor. A dilated cervix of 10 centimeters means the woman is ready to give birth.

5) Strong and Regular Contractions:

The thinning and dilating of the cervix are bodily contractions, which make the baby come forward. The strong, regular contractions mean it is time for the delivery, and you have to head down to the hospital.

Thus, losing the mucus plug is not the only symptom, and losing the mucus plug does not usually require treatment. You should go to the hospital once the water breaks or in case of experiencing consistent regular contractions, which are the two symptoms that usually indicate impending labor.

How to Identify if the Mucus Plug Is Lost?

Throughout pregnancy, most women experience vaginal discharge. So it will be difficult for the woman to determine when the mucus plug has been lost. But, the mucus plug appears stringy or thick to jelly-like substance, clear, pink, or slightly bloody, unlike typical vaginal discharge.

Why Is Mucus Plug Lost During Pregnancy?

The mucus plug is lost in most cases because of the cervical softening. The cervical ripening or softening means that the cervix is becoming wider and thinner in preparation for delivery. Thus, the mucus plug is not held in place and may be discharged.

Also, some pregnant women may lose the mucus plug after a cervical examination. During the examination, the mucus plug can be dislodged, and having sexual intercourse, can also cause the mucus plug to loosen and break free.

So, it is important to keep in mind that a mucus plug does not necessarily indicate an upcoming delivery. However, it often suggests that the body and cervix are going through consistent changes to prepare better for childbirth. In addition, the cervix softens and dilates so that the baby can pass through the birth canal at the time of delivery.

What to Do After the Mucus Plug Is Lost?

After losing the mucus plug, the next step depends on how the mucus plug looks and how far you are in your pregnancy. When you are not able to see the mucus plug, think about how to describe it to the doctor in terms of size, overall appearance, and color, and these descriptions can help the doctor to come to a diagnosis.

If You Are Less than 36 Weeks Pregnant: Inform the doctor, and when the doctor is very much concerned that it is too early for the mucus plug to be lost in the pregnancy, then they may recommend an immediate evaluation to examine the baby and your cervix.

If It Occurs After 37 Weeks of Pregnancy: When you are more than 37 weeks in your pregnancy and do not have any symptoms that concern you, losing your mucus plug should not cause any concern. When there are additional concerning symptoms, then call the doctor, or discuss the event at the next appointment. Do not be unsure about whether or not to call the doctor at the time of pregnancy. It is always better to make the call. The doctor or healthcare provider will help at any time and wants you and your baby to stay healthy. Follow the doctor's instructions, and the doctor might ask you to keep an eye for signs of labor, such as contractions. When the discharge is present, the doctor asks to wear a pad or panty liner for protection.

Conclusion:

Losing a mucus plug is not negative, and it can be a positive thing because it shows the progression in the pregnancy. There are no complications in losing the mucus plug during or after the 37th week of pregnancy. While the mucus plug is lost, do not worry and call the doctor when there are any questions or concerns.

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Last reviewed at:
20 Oct 2021  -  4 min read

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