Throughout pregnancy, a mucus plug blocks the opening of the cervix to prevent bacteria from entering the uterus. Before labor, this mucus plug is expelled allowing the baby to pass through the cervix during labor and birth.
How soon after my mucus plug passes will labor begin?
Passing a mucus plug is a sign that your cervix is dilating and that your body is preparing for birth. Labor could be hours, days, or even weeks away as the cervix gradually opens.
What does a mucus plug look like?
It is usually clear, slightly pink or blood-tinged in color. It can be stringy mucous or sticky discharge. Some women might not notice the loss of their mucus plug since there is already an increase in vaginal discharge during pregnancy.
When should I call my health care provider?
If the mucus appears normal in color, there is no urgent need to contact your health care provider. You can give a report on your next visit with the provider.
You should call your health care provider immediately if your discharge suddenly becomes bright red and the amount of discharge exceeds an ounce (about two tablespoons), indicating the possibility of a complication such as a placenta previa or placental abruption.
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Compiled using information from the following source:
Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide. Simkin, Penny, P.T., et al, Ch. 9.