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Mucus plug! When it forms, the loss, recognize it, color and onset of labor

Have you lost your mucous plug and wonder when the contractions start and how long are you missing from delivery?


Dear mom, you are in the right place!


In this article I will tell you all about the loss of the mucous plug: when it is lost, how to understand if it is amniotic fluid or mucous plug, what color it is, what it means when it is streaked with blood and after how long you give birth



Mucus plug! When it forms, the loss, recognize it, color and onset of labor


I lost the mucous plug and now?


The loss of the mucous plug during pregnancy is one of the signs that mothers await with trepidation in the last weeks of gestation and which, together with uterine contractions, indicates the approach of labor. One of the questions that mothers at the end of pregnancy ask themselves is "With the loss of the mucus plug, how long is it before delivery and if the gelatinous losses really anticipate labor?" It is important first of all to know the appearance and function of the mucous plug inside the cervix in order to be able to recognize it and understand the signs that birth is near.




What is the mucous plug? When does it form?


The mucous plug is a real vaginal plug that forms in the cervix in the first weeks of pregnancy and is made up of white gelatinous material with a mucous and dense appearance, odorless and composed mainly of water and glycoproteins. The main function of the gelatinous mucus in pregnancy inside the cervix is ​​to protect the fetus from infectious agents and harmful substances that could rise up from the cervical canal. The loss of the plug is a phenomenon that occurs in the last weeks of pregnancy and when there is its descent it is a sign that the cervix is ​​changing, for example it has shortened and brought to an anterior position and therefore is preparing to labor. White watery and mucous discharge at the end of pregnancy is physiological and a sign that the vagina is becoming more lubricated in preparation for delivery. The increased vaginal hydration takes the name of leucorrhea which, however, differs totally from the loss of the mucus plug.



How to recognize the mucus plug?


The appearance of the mucous plug differs from woman to woman according to the conformation of the organs of the female reproductive system and the hormone levels unique to each pregnant woman, in particular progesterone which induces thickening of the cervical mucus.


The density, color and amount of secretions that are excreted can vary.


The mucous plug has a characteristic appearance: it appears as a mass of gelatinous, filamentous, watery mucus with a color ranging from milky white to yellowish and in some cases it may appear bloodless or streaked with blood.


When the cervical plug is lost, there is a feeling that something is coming out of the vagina and by checking oneself, the transparent, pink or brown substance is found in the panties.

The loss of the mucous plug is therefore a loss of gelatinous mucus that can have a different color:


  • thick, transparent white mucus;

  • pink mucus;

  • mucus of yellowish brown color;

  • a loss of mucus with streaks of blood;

  • discharge of mucus followed by a slight loss of blood, in this case it is said that the woman is marking and it is a clear signal that labor will begin shortly thereafter.



How does the expulsion of the gelatinous cap take place?

The leakage of the cork can have different times, the mucus plug can be lost little by little or all togethe The descent can be slow and precede labor by days or weeks or it can be all in one moment, for example, at the beginning of labor from delivery. The mucous plug is located in the cervix therefore the cervical modifications, such as the shortening of the neck in the prodromal phase (with preparatory contractions) determine its expulsion from the vagina to the outside, but this event must not be confused with the beginning. of labor. Losing the mucous plug is certainly a sign that labor is near but regular contractions and cervical dilation are necessary to be defined as active labor.



Loss of mucus plug or amniotic fluid?


The loss of the mucous plug and the rupture of the waters, even if they are prodromal signs of labor, are two totally different events. The rupture of the water causes an abundant and continuous leakage of amniotic fluid that wets panties, clothes and often also legs and floor. The loss of the mucous plug, on the other hand, causes a damp sensation in the linen but almost never gets to wet the woman. However, if you have doubts that the leaks are not mucous plug but amniotic fluid, it is always good to have a check by your obstetrician also because in case of confirmed rupture of the membranes and positive vaginal swab for streptococcus it will be necessary to administer an antibiotic to protect the fetus from any infections. For further information: breaking of the waters


When is the mucus plug lost in pregnancy?


The gelatinous losses in pregnancy that mark the approach of childbirth usually occur at the end of gestation and therefore in pregnancy to:


  • 38 weeks

  • 39 weeks

  • 40 weeks

  • 41 weeks


Expulsion of the mucus plug in preterm pregnancy


We must always take into account the circumstances in which the gelatinous loss occurs, if this occurs at the end of pregnancy it is a clear sign that the birth will be shortly and there is no danger, but if the loss of the cork occurs well in advance of the end of pregnancy is a signal that the cervix presents a dilatation and therefore a risk of premature birth. The loss of mucus in pregnancy before term requires obstetric monitoring to evaluate the presence of contractions, the dilation of the uterine cervix and measure the length of the cervix with cervicometry to ascertain and possibly start a suitable therapy for the threat of premature birth.


Loss of the mucus plug, when missing the birth? When does labor begin?


It is very difficult to establish with certainty the union of the mucous plug in childbirth, because the phenomena that lead to the initiation of contractions vary from pregnancy to pregnancy. Women with their first child may have the loss of the plug even days or weeks before the onset of labor, while women who have already given birth tend to lose the mucous plug and immediately go into labor. Obviously there is no precise and defined rule, it could also happen that a woman at the first birth loses the cork and immediately goes into labor and a woman who has already had children loses the gelatinous cork and goes into labor after days. It all depends on the contractions. There are signs accompanying clear mucous discharge and brown jelly-like discharge and are a clear signal that labor will begin soon:

  • exhaustion

  • low belly

  • back pain

  • contractions closer and closer


It is not possible to determine when labor will begin, in some cases it may take days between the release of mucus and birth, in other cases the two may be closer in time. There are factors that favor the loss of the mucous plug such as:

  • an internal obstetric visit to stimulate childbirth by detaching the membranes

  • a sexual relationship in which the cervix is ​​mechanically stimulated both with coitus and with orgasm.


Loss of mucous plug after membrane stripping


Term of pregnancy it is possible to stimulate the birth with the detachment of the membranes which is called stripping. Basically, when the cervix is ​​slightly dilated, the midwife with a thorough examination detaches the membranes from the uterine walls near the cervix. This maneuver favors the onset of contractions and in most cases could cause the mucous plug to come out. Therefore losing the cap at term of pregnancy after the membranes have been detached is completely normal


Loss of mucus plug what to do?


Once the mucus plug has leaked, it is necessary to perform good intimate hygiene and monitor the presence of uterine contractions, in particular if they are from the latent phase of labor or from the active phase or are completely absent. Attention must be paid to vaginal discharge following the expulsion of the plug and therefore with:

  • leakage of amniotic fluid;

  • bleeding;

  • brown or pink discharge.

If the mucous loss is followed by abundant fluid loss, then the rupture of the membranes may have occurred so it is necessary to go to the hospital bringing the report of the vaginal swab. Brown discharge in late pregnancy is normal but should not be followed by profuse blood loss, in which case always go to the first nearby hospital. Finally, if losing the cork is followed by a valid and intense contractile activity, labor could have started.


Loss of mucus plug and signs to watch out for


There are cases in which the loss of the mucus plug has clear pathological signs:

  • loss of mucous plug before term with risk of premature birth;

  • leakage of the cork accompanied by abundant leakage of liquid, probable rupture of

  • the membranes;

  • mucous plug of greenish color;

  • loss of the cork accompanied by bleeding;

  • yellow, foul-smelling mucous plug.



Leakage of the mucus plug, when to go to the hospital?


  1. If the loss of the mucous plug occurs in a period before the end of pregnancy it can be the signal of a threat of preterm birth, therefore, it is necessary to consult your doctor promptly.

  2. If the loss of the mucous plug is accompanied by abundant loss of fluid and secretions, it is advisable to do an obstetric check-up to assess whether there has been rupture of the membranes with leakage of amniotic fluid.

  3. If the mucous plug is greenish and smelly, it is absolutely necessary to perform a check in a very short time to assess whether the fetus is in fetal distress.

  4. If the loss of the mucus plug is accompanied by profuse loss of bright red menstruation-like blood, you should go to the hospital immediately to rule out a placental abruption.

  5. If the loss of the mucus plug is yellow and gives off a bad smell, it is advisable to perform an obstetric check-up to exclude the presence of infections, in these cases it would be desirable to undergo a vaginal swab to search for bacteria and fungi.

I hope this guide was useful to you! Tell me how you lost the mucous plug and after how much you gave birth, I will be happy to read you.


Mom. Mather pocket obstetrics and gynecology


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