WTF is a Mucus Plug? No like seriously.

By Babe | Illustration by Ana Hard

During those last few weeks of pregnancy, you’re just jonesing for a sign of WHEN, OH WHEN you might go into labor, and sadly there are very few to be had until it’s go time. The passing of your mucus plug could be considered one such sign, but not always.

Your mucus plug is, as it sounds, a little plug of mucus that builds up at the cervix throughout your pregnancy.

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It actually blocks the opening of your cervix during pregnancy and forms a seal to prevent bacteria and infection from getting into your uterus and reaching your baby. Think of it as a barrier between your vagina and your uterus. You will lose the plug as your cervix begins to dilate (open) and efface (soften and thin) in preparation for labor.

When your cervix begins dilating, the plug might drop into your vagina and appear as a pink or slightly bloody little glob. Chic, right? This “passing of” the plug (most likely into the toilet when you go to pee) might be considered a sign that labor is on the horizon, at the very latest one to two weeks away, which is basically like next year. Most women don’t lose their mucus plug until after 37 weeks of pregnancy. In some cases, losing the mucus plug happens days or weeks before your baby’s due date.

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If you lose your mucus plug sooner than 37 weeks of pregnancy, contact your healthcare provider as a precaution.
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What does mucus plug discharge look like?

  • Clear, off-white or slightly bloody (red, brown or pink) in color.
  • Stringy, sticky and jelly-like in texture.
  • 1 to 2 inches in length.
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons in volume.
  • Odorless

Just remember, you may or may not lose your mucus plug before you give birth, and even if you do, that may or may not indicate that you’ll go into labor ASAP. Like everything else with childbirth, it’s a wait and see situation. So just be patient, and this too shall, ahem, pass.