Getting towards the pointy end of pregnancy means every little twinge and different discharge could be a sign that things are starting to happen. Lots of mums-to-be want to know if they’ve lost their mucus plug and if that’s an indication that they’ll be meeting their bub soon.
Mum’s Grapevine expert midwife Edwina Sharrock has answered everything you want to know about mucus plugs, including if it means you’ll be going into labour.
What is a mucus plug and how will I know that I’ve lost it?
The mucus plug is one of those things that everyone knows about as the near the end of their pregnancy but not too many people talk about openly. Afterall, a gloopy, pile of mucus that comes out of your vagina isn’t really the most glamorous topic, is it!?
Here is your quick reference guide to mucus plugs so that you know exactly what to expect and what it means when you lose yours.
What is the mucus plug?
The mucus plug essentially acts like a cork at the base of the cervix and helps to seal your bub inside of the womb. It acts as a physical barrier – stopping anything from going in or coming out of the cervix until your baby is ready to be born.
What does it look like?
There really isn’t a nice way of describing a mucus plug! I often tell my parents-to-be that essentially, they look like a golly or a chunk of snot. They are usually pale and creamy, or they can sometimes be streaked with reddish, brown colour. This is just a tiny bit of blood that slightly stains the mucus plug as it’s released from the cervix.
Your mucus plug will be thicker and more noticeable than your normal pregnancy vaginal discharge. If you’re questioning whether it is, then it’s likely the mucus plug.
How will I know if I’ve lost mine?
Sometimes you will notice that your mucus plug has come out when you go to the toilet. It may be in your underpants and quite noticeable or you may notice it on the toilet paper when you wipe. Other women don’t notice that they’ve lost theirs at all. Like all things in pregnancy and childbirth, every woman is different so the size of your mucus plug as well as when/if you notice it will vary.
Does losing my mucus plug mean I’m in labour?
Usually, losing your mucus plug is a sign that labour is imminent. For some women, it could mean labour is a few hours or days away and for others, it can mean that it’s already started. If you lose your mucus plug, there is no need to try and keep it to show your doctor or midwife. They’ve seen plenty, trust me! It’s a natural and normal part of the early labour process and nothing that should cause alarm.
It doesn’t always mean you are in labour just yet, but it’s a sign that things are starting to happen. Yay!
When should I worry about losing my mucus plug?
There are a few instances where you should contact your doctor or midwife after losing your mucus
- If you lose it early – generally if you lose your mucus plug prior to 37 weeks, it’s worth telling your healthcare provider. The mucus plug can regenerate but losing it this early may need a little more investigation to ensure everything is OK.
- If you notice bleeding after losing it
- If you happen to lose your mucus plug prior to a scheduled c-section
- Is there a yucky, unpleasant smell? This may indicate the sign of an infection.
Join your pregnancy group
If you have more questions, why not join one of the closed Mum’s Grapevine pregnancy groups on Facebook? You can talk 24/7 with thousands of other mums all due around the same time as you.
Click below and join your group today!
Edwina Sharrock is a registered midwife and mother of two. She’s also the founder of Birth Beat – an online antenatal course that is simple, easy and convenient to watch from the privacy of your home. Birth Beat includes prenatal yoga, a complete prenatal course, plus breastfeeding, sleep and settle. All delivered to you in easy to watch videos.