Pregnancy and labour is one of the most intimate journeys. We can learn so much about our body – it’s capacity, strength and adaptations. The female body goes through many changes during pregnancy – hormonal, physically and mentally. In this pregnancy Q&A we chat to Dr Elgey about cervical mucous plug in pregnancy.
What is a mucous plug?
When a woman is pregnant the cervical mucus that is normally secreted each month builds up and forms a thick, sticky plug at the base of the cervix. Cervical mucous during pregnancy is a lot thicker than what it usually is each month. The mucous plug sits at the opening of the cervix and as the uterus expands and the cervix opens, the plug is often passed in one clump. This is what pregnant women refer to as ‘losing their mucous plug’ and also sometimes known as ‘a bloody show’.
What colour is a mucous plug?
A colour not good for the squeamish – a mucous plug is a creamy green in colour, sometimes with a little bit of old ‘brown’ blood. It is similar in size to a 50 cent piece.
Should I try to pull out my mucous plug?
No! never! The mucous plug actually acts as a barrier to external bacteria entering the uterus. We need to avoid infection at all cost as this can be harmful to baby and to mum. Never try to reach the mucous plug and let mother nature run its course.
Do all pregnant women lose a mucous plug?
Not all women will pass a mucous plug in one lump. Sometimes it can slowly dissipate nearing the end of pregnancy without knowledge. Some women may lose their mucous plug at the very start of labour and others may lose it at home when least expecting it. Some women may experience loss of the mucous plug close to term – around 37 to 41 weeks of pregnancy. Sometimes it can mean the onset of labour – but not always. It is important to let the obstetrician or midwife managing your pregnancy know that you have passed your mucous plug.