Mucus plug in expecting women is a sticky glob that acts as a protective barrier to the opening of cervix. It helps block bacterial and other infections from reaching your baby. Mucus plug comes off when your due date is closer. It is considered as one of the signs of approaching labor.
When you are in your 38 weeks or 39 weeks gestation, your body begins to prepare for labor by stretching muscles and bones. The cervix starts to dilate and this causes the mucus plug to loosen and come off. If the entire glob of mucus comes off at once, then you may be able to notice this, otherwise it can be hard to know for many pregnant women. When this happens, you may go into labor very soon or it may take a few days to few weeks in some cases.
In case you have to undergo cesarean delivery for some reason, then the left over mucus secretion gets discharged by your body through vagina. Along with mucus, tissue and blood are expelled by your body and this considered normal. This discharge is termed as lochia and it can happen for six weeks. The color of lochia changes from bright red initially, to light pink later on. Sometimes the mucus plug may come off when you get multiple cervical examinations in late pregnancy.
When does mucus plug discharge?
Mucus plug comes off as a vaginal discharge before labor begins. It may take a few more weeks before the onset of labor in some women, but the body begins to make mucus again to keep the baby safe. If the mucus discharge is accompanied with severe cramping and contractions or light bleeding, then your labor has started. Even if don’t experience these signs, after passing mucus plug, you should contact your doctor for suggestions. Sometimes you may experience bloody show when you are in late pregnancy. Bloody show means mucus that is tinged with blood and appears to be pink or brownish. This is totally normal too. As the cervix begins to stretch, some blood vessels get damaged and this may cause light bleeding. If you notice bright colored bleeding before the completion of 37 weeks gestation, you need to contact your doctor or midwife immediately, as this may hint preterm labor or other medical condition.