May 3, 2022


August 10, 2022

What Is A Mucus Plug?

A mucus plug is a collection of mucus that forms in the cervical canal in early pregnancy, preventing bacteria or infection from entering your uterus.

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Pregnancy is not how it used to be in the olden days, or at least in the time when my grandmother was pregnant. Expecting parents today have so many more options and resources when it comes to dealing with pregnancy. With so many more choices also comes more confusion. Ahead, we explore mucus plugs: what they are, what they look like, and how to speed up labor after losing your mucus plug. 

What is a mucus plug?

The mucus plug is a thick, sticky piece of mucus that blocks the opening of your cervix during pregnancy to prevent bacteria from entering the uterus and reaching your baby. This plug is dislodged as the cervix begins to dilate and efface in preparation for labor.


What does a mucus plug look like?

The look, size, and texture of your mucus plug discharge vary. It can range from being thick and gelatinous like snot or egg whites to more watery and stringy but sometimes thicker than either - dependent mainly upon the stage of the labor process & uterine strength.


Typically, the mucus plug is:

  • Clear, off-white, or slightly bloody in color.
  • Stringy, sticky, and jelly-like in texture.
  • 1 to 2 inches in length.
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons in volume.
  • Almost no odor


Your mucus plug may come out in one piece, or you may lose it gradually over time and never notice it. A small amount of blood is expected, but severe bleeding may signify placental abruption, placenta previa, or other pregnancy complications. You should contact your healthcare provider immediately.


Mucus plug discharge vs. regular discharge

It is normal during pregnancy to experience increased vaginal discharge. Vaginal discharge is typically thin and white or light yellow. Discharge from the mucus plug, however, is thicker, more gelatinous, and more significant in volume. The mucus plug discharge may also be slightly colored with red, brown, or pink blood.


Mucus plug discharge vs. a bloody show

A bloody show describes bleeding during late pregnancy as a woman's body prepares for labor. The bloody show results from blood vessels rupturing in your cervix as it expands. It may be accompanied by other signs of labor like cramping, pelvic pressure, and contractions.

The mucus plug and a bloody show are similar but still different. Both occur late in pregnancy as your cervix begins to prepare for labor. Mucus plug discharge is stringy and jelly-like. It is a collection of mucus, whereas a bloody show is a bloody discharge that can contain small traces of mucus. 


When do pregnant people lose their mucus plug?

Generally, pregnant people don't lose their mucus plug until after 37 weeks. Sometimes, you may not lose your mucus plug until days or weeks before your baby is due. Some people don't lose their mucus plug until they are in active labor. If your mucus plug falls out sooner than 37 weeks of pregnancy, we recommend contacting your healthcare provider as a precaution.


How to know when the mucus plug has fallen out

Some pregnant people notice blood-tinged mucus discharge after losing their mucus plug. Alternatively, because it can come out in small pieces over time, some pregnant people may not notice any changes after losing their mucus plug.

In some instances, a pregnant person may experience other early signs of labor after losing their mucus plug, like:

  • pelvic pressure
  • period-like cramps
  • contractions
  • low back pain


How to safely speed up labor after losing your mucus plug

Try red raspberry leaf tea

Red raspberry leaf tea may help strengthen your uterine walls, decrease labor time, and reduce the use of birthing interventions.


Stimulate your nipples

Research shows that up to 50 percent of women who try nipple stimulation go into labor the next day. 37.5 percent of the women went into labor by day two, and by day three, 33 percent had gone into labor. 


Eat dates

Research suggests that eating dates in the four weeks leading up to childbirth may shorten the latent phase of labor, increase cervical dilation, and lessen the chance of an emergency c-section.


Have sex

Sperm contains hormones called prostaglandins which may help induce labor, although the research is currently limited. Having an orgasm may also start uterine contractions.


Use a birthing ball

Birthing balls help encourage the baby to move down as they help open your hips. They may also help with all the aches and pains that come along with pregnancy.

How to use your birthing ball to induce labor:

  • Bounce on the ball for a few minutes at a time.
  • Sway your hips in a circle while sitting on the birthing ball, keeping contact with the ball the entire time.
  • Hold the ball directly in front of you with straight arms, and raise it above your head as you squat. Repeat as many times as you like.

Prepare for your birth with Anja Health

Consider banking your umbilical cord blood and tissue as you prepare to give birth. It contains powerful stem cells that could save your child's life.

Anja Health is the first affordable Stem Cell Safe that makes it easy to collect, freeze, and store your umbilical cord blood and tissue for future treatment options.

Before your due date, order a stem cell collection kit from Anja Health. Bring it with you when you give birth, and let your care team know you have your kit ready for collection. The kit includes all materials and instructions required for collection.

Anja Health will pick up your kit from the hospital and deliver it to our AABB-certified laboratory to be processed and stored.

Learn more about how Anja Health works:

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