What Is Mucus Plug In Pregnancy?
Towards the end of the first month of the pregnancy, the cervix becomes soft and swells a little. During this time, the cells in the cervix start to produce mucus that fills the uterine cervix without leaving any gap between the uterine wall. The mucus thickens over time and seals the cervix tightly, thereby, fully blocking the entrance to the uterus. The cervical mucus consists of antibodies that resist the infection causing bacteria and pathogens from entering the uterus. Also, the cervical secretion is a continual process. Therefore, the mucus plug remains fresh throughout the pregnancy.
Does Labor Start When You Lose The Mucus Plug?
Losing the mucus plug is considered an early sign of labor. Even then, losing the mucus plug does not mean labor is imminent. Labor could be hours away or it could likely start within the next 2 to 3 weeks. Also, some mothers lose their mucus plug only after they enter labor.
Can You Go Into Labor Without Losing Mucus Plug?
Yes, it is possible to go into labor without losing the mucus plug. Yet, at any rate, it will go with water break during delivery or the specialist will expel it amid the procedure of delivery.
How And Why Do We Lose The Mucus Plug?
Losing the mucus plug usually means that the body is preparing for labor regardless of the gestational age. When the baby is engaged, the cervix starts to ripen. That means the cervix starts to efface and dilate. This results in loosening of the plug as it cannot be held firmly in place. The mucus plug is, thus, dislodged. It can come out all at once, in one big lump, or it can come out in pieces over a period of time. How the mucus plug comes out primarily depends on how elastic the cervix is. The chances of the mucus plug expelled in a single piece is more if the cervix is more elastic.
When Do Women Normally Lose Their Mucus Plug?
The time of the mucus plug dislodging cannot be predicted as there will be no distinguishable signals prior to the event. There will be no physical pain or sensations. Some women may not even notice the passing of the plug. The mucus plug can dislodge from the cervix at any time during the gestational period. However, it is more likely to dislodge between the 37th and 42nd weeks of pregnancy. If the mucus plug is lost earlier than 37th week, it can be an indication of a preterm labor. However, the mucus plug can redevelop itself to some degree if it’s lost earlier than the 37-week mark. This depends on how much mucus plug is lost.
What Does It Mean When Some Of Your Mucus Plug Comes Out?
When the mucus plug starts to come out partially, it means your cervix is starting to thin, stretch, and dilate. That is why the mucus plug is not able to stay corked in one place. This also indicates that labor is not too far as the effacing and dilation of the cervix are part of the body’s means of preparing for labor.
Is Losing The Mucus Plug A Sign Of Labor?
Yes, losing mucus plug can be counted as one of the early signs of labor. But the labor can take place from two hours to a couple of weeks. However, if other signs like rhythmic back pain, rupture of the membrane, more frequent and severe contraction, loose motion, etc. appear together or follows just after the dislodging of the plug, your labor is very near. Just like you can’t stop the mucus plug from falling out earlier than 37 weeks if your pregnancy is preterm, you should not pull out the mucus plug in case you are overdue too. The mucus plug, if pulled out forcefully can generate infection.
What To Do If You Lose Your Mucus Plug?
Losing the mucus plug is not a reason to worry unless your due date is more than 4 weeks away. Losing it doesn’t always mean that labor is near. There will still be a couple of weeks more to go for you to go into labor. Stay relaxed and wait for the things to advance in natural course. However, if it is followed by water breaking or by contractions that increase in intensity and frequency, then it is highly recommended to seek medical attention because it could be a sign of labor. Even after losing mucus plug without other signs, it is highly recommended to stay close to the hospital. After all, losing the mucus plug is an early sign of labor and how fast you go into labor cannot be predicted.
What Are The Risk Factors From Losing The Mucus Plug Early?
- Losing mucus plug early is not really risky. Losing the plug doesn’t mean any harm to your unborn baby. Actually, the mucus protection is a secondary protection. The primary protective factor of the baby from the infections (and most importantly from accidents) is the chamber of water in which the baby is growing. Moreover, the cervix continues to produce mucus (even if it doesn’t get much time to harden as before) which resists the entry of the pathogens. Therefore, even if you lose the music plug weeks before due date, and if there are no contractions and there’s not a lot of bright red blood in the mucus and there is no pain of any kind, there is no reason to worry. Just follow some precautionary measures like:
- Never take bath in public areas like a swimming pool. Even bath tubs should be avoided.
- Change your undergarment frequently. This will lessen the chances of infection significantly
- Avoid intercourse
- Don’t apply anything near the vaginal area (even soap)
Consulting A Doctor If/When Losing The Mucus Plug Early:
Most of the time, losing the mucus plug is an early sign of labor. Therefore, if the mucus plug comes out partially or fully, inform the doctor to minimize the chances of preterm labor and delivery. Unlike the losing of the mucus plug, the breaking of the membrane poses danger and risk for the unborn baby. Therefore, if you are confused about any vaginal discharge during pregnancy, you should inform your doctor.