Mucus plug : All the secrets that every pregnant woman needs to know
1) What is a mucus plug?
In the early stages of pregnancy, mucus accumulates in the cervix generated by the uterus during ovulation. On the barrel and as the mucus thickens, it seals the cervix firmly, blocking the way of any infection from the vagina to the cervix. Thus protecting the foetus hence the name “mucous plug”. Mucus contains antibodies that help the immune system fight against pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, etc.
2) What does it look like ?
- The form: Looks like a piece of mucus or jelly. For some women, it may even look like jellyfish.
- Colour: Usually, the colour of the mucus plug is yellowish-white, sometimes with a mixture of blood or rays of pink or pure white. You may also have beige or brown coloured mucus that is normal in some women.
- Urgent : If the detachment of the plug is accompanied by a heavy blood flow, you should contact your doctor immediately.
3) When does the mucus plug come out ?
Before labour begins, under the influence of oestrogen, the cap becomes thin and then takes off.
Premature labour starts in the same way as post-maturity work. Thus, the discharge of the mucus plug during early pregnancy indicates that something has gone wrong in the body of the pregnant woman. She must consult a doctor because in this case, the passage of the cap may be a sign of early work.
4) How does a woman lose the mucus plug ?
The loss of the mucus plug is different for women who are experiencing pregnancy for the first time and for those who have already lived it. This is because the cervix of primiparous pregnant women have a smaller diameter compared to women who have suffered the delivery process. As a result, women who experience first-time pregnancy may experience blood streaks in thick secretions.
The cervical mucus passes in different ways and different times depending on the woman. This can happen when a woman is in the toilet urinating for example, in which case you can simply feel as if something has fallen. In case a woman takes a shower, she may feel or see nothing. It might only be at night or during the day when the woman is wearing panties, that pieces of mucus can be seen on them.
5) What to do when it occurs ?
If you are sure that the cervical plug is out, DO NOT panic. The time remaining before labour and can vary from several hours to several weeks. So, if you know that the time for delivery has not arrived and that there is no sign of abnormality (it has a white colour or normal yellowish with or without blood streaks), you do not observe the burst of water, do not worry and be relaxed. However, later, it is best to consult a doctor and find out if everything is fine and when you can expect a job.
- DO NOT FORGET!
The detachment of the mucus plug is an early sign of labour. It is therefore best to stay near the hospital to avoid surprises.
- URGENT !
If after the loss of the plug, the water breaks, you have to go immediately to the hospital. In case of bleeding, do not hesitate.
The loss of your mucus plug during pregnancy does not mean that the protection of the fetus against vaginal infection is interrupted. There is the second and most important protective barrier which is a thick bag of waters. So in case you have lost the plug and labour has not started yet, do not worry,but you should take some precautions. Avoid swimming in the bath, pool or sea and pay more attention to personal hygiene. You should take a shower and change the undergarments and sheets more frequently. Regarding your sex life, after losing the plug, you must abandon it because the infection can come out of the vagina into the uterus.
6) Does the plug always come out before labour ?
No, sometimes it does not go out before work. But anyway, it will happen with the splitting of water or the doctor will eliminate it during childbirth.
7) Can the loss of mucus plug indicate a risk for the baby ?
- If you lose the plug earlier than 2 weeks before the due date for example at 33 weeks, this is a call for concern. This may mean premature delivery or separation of the placenta from the uterine lining (this condition usually occurs in the third trimester … placental abruption). In any case, you should go to the hospital.
- Another reason to visit your doctor is discharge with bleeding. If you see a large amount of bright blood in the mucus, there is a risk for health of the unborn baby and the expectant mother due to damage to the placenta.
TO NOTE! The plug should not have a bad smell. The offending smell is usually characteristic of an infection. Also note the discharge colour. Greenish mucus plug can indicate foetal hypoxia, so you should inform your doctor as soon as possible.
8) Is the loss of the mucous plug painful ?
Sometimes women experience pain and itching in the lower abdomen that looks like pain during menstruation. However, this is not a general rule and the mucous plug can be really painless and even imperceptible to a pregnant woman.