Every mum handles pregnancy and the various bumps it throws us differently. Some mums welcome every little hurdle and glow through it all.
Other mums freak the f out at every strange symptom, google obsessively and convince themselves they are breeding an alien.
I fell into the latter category. And nothing freaked me out more than losing my mucus plug.
Before you go into a mucus-plug-induced panic attack (like I did), let me share what the mucus plug actually is and what you can expect when you lose it. Hopefully it clears a few things up and better prepares you for this fun finale in your pregnancy journey.
Losing your mucus plug: just another gooey mess to look forward to
A mucus plug is a super gooey, super thick plug of mucus that is lodged at the end of your cervix. It literally acts as a cork to your cervix that ‘pops’ when labour is near.
It’s kind of like popping the cork on a celebratory bottle of champers. Except it’s not a bottle. It’s your cervix.
The point of this gooey thing is to protect anything from coming in or going out of the cervix and to provide a barrier between bub and the big bad outside world. But, when baby is fully cooked, you will lose your plug, signalling it’s time for baby to exit his safe zone and descend.
What the hell just came out of me?
When you do lose your plug, you might be a little concerned about what your body just extracted. Without going into too much detail, a mucus plug kind of looks like a massive pile of snot. It’s usually clear or whiteish and might have a bit of a red or brown tinge to it.
It’s weird, I know. But it’s normal. So don’t freak out.
Did I just lose my mucus plug?
Most women will discover they lost their mucus plug after going to the toilet. Instead of the usual discharge on the tissue paper, you will find a big glob of thick mucus.
You may also find that the mucus plug drops into the toilet. You don’t have to save it or show it to anyone. Just accept that, yep, it’s gone. And labour is coming.
I lost my mucus plug. When will labour start?
For many women, losing your mucus plug is an early sign of labour. But not always. It could mean that labour is only minutes away or it could mean days away. Some women lose it weeks before labour starts and others don’t lose it until they are already in labour.
Can your mucus plug regenerate?
Oh yes. Because your body is a mucus-generating machine during labour. If you happen to lose your plug too early, your cervix simply makes another one. Yay. More mucus.
Losing your mucus plug and the bloody show – are these the same thing?
You’d assume that losing your mucus plug would be the grand finale in grossness. But there’s actually a prequel (or sequel depending on your body). This is known as the bloody show.
These two go hand in hand. Your bloody show is cervical blood that often comes with release of your mucus plug and mixes with mucus. It can be just a streak of blood or it can be a lot more (and super gooey as well).
When should I be concerned?
Hopefully this information explain a little bit more about losing your mucus plug and confirm that, no, you’re not breeding an alien. Losing this gooey thick cork is all part of the process.
However, contact your GP if you experience the following:
- Loss of mucus plug before 37 weeks
- Loss of mucus plug before a scheduled cesarean
- Foul smelling mucus plug
- Loss of mucus plug accompanied by bleeding
What else can you expect during your pregnancy? Have a look at these additional unexpected symptoms to expect when pregnant.