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Mucus Plug in Early Pregnancy

Most women are quite familiar with what mucus is – it is actually a type of vaginal discharge that helps keep vagina clean and lubricated. You may notice a change in the color and consistency of vaginal discharge, which may range from a heavy thick discharge to feeling moist. It is quite common to experience mucus discharge during early pregnancy, but it can also be a sign of an infection. As for mucus plug, early pregnancy is the period that needs special attention.

Why Does Mucus Plug Forms in Early Pregnancy?

When you are still in early pregnancy, you will experience mucus discharge from your vagina. Some of it will accumulate in the uterine cervix and become thick over time. Eventually, it becomes thick enough to seal the cervix and protect it from invaders. It helps protect the fetus and prevents infections. Mucus plug in early pregnancy is a gelatinous mass that eventually fills the cervical canal. It develops after the implantation of the ovum in the uterine cavity, which usually happens by the end of the first month of your pregnancy.

It is important to note the secretion of mucus from cervical glands is supported and controlled by a high level of progestin and estrogen – both these hormones are also responsible for the fetal development. There is a constant release of cervical cells that helps keep the cervix mucus plug fresh. It fills the uterine cervix in a way that there is no opening between the uterine walls.

What Does Mucus Plug Look Like?

Mucus plug, early pregnancy and coming babies do stir lots of concerns. Getting more information will help you feel relieved. Mucus plug in early pregnancy usually looks like a piece of jelly or simply mucus – some women even find it look like jellyfish. When it is in the uterine cervix, it is not that large and is up to 5cm long. Discharge can be even smaller because it comes out in parts. Its color may be pure white, white-yellowish, or it may have streaks of pink due to blood. Some women may notice some variations in color and have taupe, beige, or even brown mucus plug.

What Does Losing Mucus Plug Mean?

It is important to ensure that what you noticed is your mucus plug because it is quite common to have discharges during pregnancy especially at the late stage. When you lose your mucus plug in pregnancy may vary a lot. Some women lose it a few weeks before labor, while others have to wait longer. Some may experience piece of the plug coming out at times, while others lose it in one fell swoop.

Losing mucus plug, early pregnancy, first babies, etc. always make people think of unstable pregnancy and lead to fears of losing the baby. But that is not always the case. Even if you have lost some mucus plug early in your pregnancy, it can form again. In fact, it is lost several times during your pregnancy, but grows back again. You do not need to worry if you lose your plug and there are no other symptoms such as bleeding or pain. Here are some of the reasons why you may lose mucus plug during pregnancy:

  • You may lose your mucus plug during routine vaginal exam. Having it dislodged during exam does not mean labor is beginning.
  • You may lose it if it is not your first pregnancy because you may dilate early when you are on a second or subsequent pregnancy. Labor may not start right away.

In most cases, you lose your mucus plug naturally when your cervix dilates in the anticipation of labor. Your cervix will open up, leaving nothing behind to hold your plug in place. This may not be the case though if you lose it during early pregnancy.

Rather Than Losing Mucus Plug, It Could Be Yeast Infection

When you connect losing mucus plug, early pregnancy and possible miscarriage together, do just panic and scare yourself. That discharge may not be mucus plug at all and it could just a yeast infection. With a change in glucose and hormonal levels during pregnancy, you are at a greater risk of catching bacterial and yeast infections.

  • Symptoms: You are more likely to have a yeast infection if your vaginal discharge has cottage cheese-like consistency. There will be other symptoms too, such as redness, pain, itching, and pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Prevention: Yeast infections can cause several complications in your pregnancy, so it is important to take preventive measures. For instance, you should wear cotton underwear and avoid tight jeans or pants. Take a bath frequently, especially after you swim or engage in sexual activities. Also, change your sweaty clothes immediately and never use hygiene sprays. Including yogurt in your diet will also help prevent yeast infections.

What Happens After You Lose Mucus Plug

You should not panic even if you are sure that you have lost your mucus plug. If you are under 37 weeks pregnant, just go talk to your healthcare provider. They will examine everything and look for other signs of premature labor. It is not the case if you are over 37 weeks because you are moving close to labor. Do not call your doctor immediately, but do it when you experience steady contractions that increase in intensity over time.

When Will Labor Begin Afterwards?

As for losing mucus plug, early pregnancy is not the first thing comes into mind. Labor does. But there is no way to give a clear answer to when labor begins after losing mucus plug. It may take from several hours to several weeks to enter labor after losing your mucus plug. However, you need to pay attention to other signs of labor, such as tension in the abdomen, mild pushes, and feelings associated with menstruation. You will experience cramps that will turn into contractions if your labor is around the corner.

Do not rush to the hospital if you are experiencing regular contractions. You need to go to the hospital when there is less than 10 minutes interval between contractions. There is no need to panic or go to the hospital if the contractions are not intense and the interval between them is longer than 10 minutes. Just prepare for the labor – keep your documents around, take a warm shower, and get ready for hold your baby in your arms. Do keep in mind that you should go to the hospital right away if your water breaks. 

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