When you becomepregnant, many changes happen to your body. The mucus plug, known medically as operculum(meaning plug in opening)is built up from mucus secreted by the cervix, working to provide the growing baby extra protection, and prevent bacteria from entering the uterus. You may wonder, what is the mucus plug like?
What Does a Mucus Plug Look Like?
When you enter the latter stages of pregnancy, the mucus plug is dislodged from the cervix. This process is known as bloody show, or just – the show. The substance expelled is jelly-like in texture, which can either be clear in color or pinkish. When the mucus plug is expelled, capillaries may break as a result of the movement, leading to some miniscule blood loss, which stains the mucus causing a bloody color. Therefore, the mucus plug can look blood streaked with brownish old blood.
The mucus plug may leave one’s body in one single motion or in smaller pieces over the course of several hours. The amount of the jelly-like substance expelled during the show is sometimes so little that some women may miss it completely, especially if it is expelled when using the lavatory. That being said, you may notice it on your underwear, or after wiping. After the bloody show, your labor may begin in days or weeks.
Learn more about passing mucus plug and how it looks like:
When Would You Lose the Mucus Plug and What Does It Indicate?
Once you know the answer to the question “What does a mucus plug look like?” you should then hope to ascertain what the expulsion of the mucus plug indicates, and when to expect it.
Generally, the mucus plug begins to come away in the last couple of weeks of your pregnancy, up until labor. A poll carried out by a pregnancy forum with its members found that around 34% of pregnant women experienced the bloody show two days before going into labor. Just over 17% reported that they never saw it at all, and 30% of women said that they lost their mucus plug during labor.
In most instances, your mucus plug becomes dislodged due to dilation of the cervix, which is often an indicator of the onset of labor. As the cervix begins to open in preparation for giving birth, the mucus plug is no longer held in place, causing dislodgement and eventually vaginal expulsion.
It should be noted that the mucus plug may be dislodged by other instances aside from labor, such as during a vaginal exam. In this instance, it may not be an indication of labor beginning. You may also experience early dilation if you are on a second or subsequent pregnancy, causing the mucus plug to become dislodged, but that does not mean labor is starting. As the cervix progressively opens, labor could be hours, days, or quite possibly weeks away.
Experiences of Other Moms
“After ascertaining an answer to the question “What does a mucus plug look like?” I knew what to expect. I lost my plug around a week before I gave birth to my first child. It was yellow-brownish in color and had a jelly-like consistency, although I believe it can be different for everyone.”
“It wasn’t until my fourth child that I noticed my mucus plug pass. It happened at around 36 and a half weeks, and have consistently been losing more each day. Mine was blood-stained, and I believe older blood caused the blob to have a brownish color. I am now at 39 weeks and am experiencing contractions on-and-off, but no baby as of yet.”
What to Do After Losing the Mucus Plug
In most instances, passing the mucus plug is no cause for concern. Normal signs of the mucus plug passing include:
- Dilation of the cervix, causing the mucus plug to pass through the vagina, either instantaneously or over several days.
- Losing the mucus plug when being full term.
- Regular contractions following the loss of mucus plugshould be met with advised protocols for labor and delivery.
Once you have ascertained an answer to the question “What does a mucus plug look like?” you should also consider instances where complications may arise. You should visit your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following applies:
- You have a medical history of preterm labor and believe that you have lost the mucus plug.
- You notice mucus discharge before reaching the 36th week of pregnancy, especially if it happened before 34 weeks.
- If you experience sudden bleeding bright red in color.
- If the amount of discharge is relatively large, over an ounce (around two tablespoons).