If you’ve lost your mucus plug, you’re likely near the end of your pregnancy, what an exciting time! In this blog, we’re letting you know some things to avoid after losing your mucus plug.
This blog includes:
- What is a mucus plug?
- What does the mucus plug look like?
- What do you do when you lose your mucus plug?
- How long after losing the cervical mucus plug does labor start?
- Things to avoid after losing mucus plug
- Serious signs to look out for alongside mucus plug vaginal discharge
When things change in your body, it can be tricky to know what the next step is. Towards the end of pregnancy, every woman loses their mucus plug. It usually occurs as the cervix starts to dilate. It’s usually safe when it happens after the 37-week mark, and you may need monitoring if it happens before then.
What is a mucus plug?
The mucus plug forms at the beginning of pregnancy and acts as a barrier into the cervix. The job of this plug is to protect your cervix from bacteria, which is why it’s so important. During pregnancy, the body forms a range of protective barriers. Another example is the amniotic sac, which helps to protect the baby.
The mucus plug will release before your waters break. This is all in preparation for you to give birth to your new baby. Be sure to attend every prenatal appointment and consider attending antenatal classes. This can help you to stay safe and learn about what happens when labor begins.
What does the mucus plug look like?
The mucus plug is usually clear or white and sticky in consistency. Even though it might feel like a lot is leaving your body, it usually isn’t. The mucus plug can release in different ways. For some pregnant women, it can release in one go, but for others, it can be a gradual release.
Sometimes the mucus plug can have streaks of blood in it. This slightly bloody vaginal discharge can sometimes be referred to as a bloody show. You must tell your doctor/healthcare provider when your mucus plug releases and if it has any blood in it. A small amount of blood is usually nothing to worry about as your body prepares for birth.
If your mucus plug falls with no blood, you shouldn’t worry.
What do you do when you lose your mucus plug?
Losing your mucus plug doesn’t mean that labour is about to start the same minute, but you should call your doctor. You’ll need to call them again if you notice signs of labor. Your healthcare provider will give you the best advice on when it’s time to visit the hospital.
If you haven’t packed your hospital bag yet, it might be time to!
Some women report having cramps while losing the mucus plug discharge. Again, let your doctor know about this. Seek further medical advice if your cramps become severe.
How long after losing the cervical mucus plug does labor start?
Everyone is different, so it’s difficult to predict when you’ll go into labor after losing your mucus plug. Some women begin noticing labor symptoms within a few hours, whereas others can be waiting for days or a few weeks.
If your mucus plug releases, your waters break, and you start having labor contractions, you can be pretty sure that the baby will arrive soon. Read our blog on: can your water break without being dilated?
It’s quite common to lose your mucus plug anytime after 37 weeks as the cervix prepares for giving birth. Again, you might still be waiting for a couple of weeks before the baby makes an appearance.
If you start losing your mucus plug and your body isn’t quite ready for labor, it can actually regenerate itself. However, if you believe you are losing the plug, call a doctor for advice.
If you start losing your mucus plug before you reach the 37-week mark, you’ll also need to seek advice. This could be your body preparing too early which can lead to preterm labor. Make sure you let the doctor know of any other changes in your body, such as pains, aches or bleeding. They will perform tests to ensure that you are safe.
Tell your doctor when you lose your mucus plug. They will assess where your pregnancy is up to and let you know the next steps. Read our blog on how to speed up labor after losing your mucus plug.
Things to avoid after losing mucus plug
After losing your mucus plug, you’ll need to be careful of a few things. Your doctor should let you know about these things and anything else you need to know about losing your plug.
Of course, if you lose your plug and then go into labor within hours, you might not have time to do much! It’s even more important that you avoid these things if you have lost your mucus plug before 37 weeks pregnant.
Your mucus plug is the first protective layer that your body loses in pregnancy. It occurs as the cervix dilates, leaving the baby slightly less protected. Don’t forget the amniotic fluid and sac also protect them.
You should avoid all penetration after losing the mucus plug, such as sexual intercourse. This could lead to bacteria entering the area.
You should stick to showers after you lose your mucus plug. This is because it’s usually not a great idea to sit in water. If you take any baths while pregnant, look out for the signs of overheating. Make sure the water is at a safe temperature and that you stay hydrated.
It’s a good idea to rest after you lose your mucus plug. After all, you’re going to experience much less sleep soon. Aside from tiring you out, swimming can also lead to bacteria entering the area. You could consider a nice walk outside instead.
Other things to avoid include:
- Raspberry leaf tea
- Castor oil
- Evening primrose oil
Serious signs to look out for alongside mucus plug vaginal discharge
Seeking advice when you lose your mucus plug is important. There are some things that you will also need to look out for. These signs could indicate that something isn’t quite right and you made need fast medical attention.
Keep your doctor and midwife updated with any bleeding during pregnancy. They will be able to monitor you and offer advice. If you notice bright red blood, get advice as soon as possible.
Remember that it’s normal to have some bloody streaks in your mucus plug, but also, don’t worry if you don’t. You should let your doctor know about this when you call. Bright red blood is different to having some streaks in your mucus plug, known as a ‘bloody show’.
The mucus plug protects your baby from bacteria. This means when it releases, you have a higher risk of infection. In some cases, an infection may be characterised by a poor smell or a different colour.
Typical plugs are jelly-like and white, cream or clear in colour. An infection may be signalled by a green colour. While this could be an infection, it could also be a sign of meconium. This is when your baby does their first poo while still in the womb.
It’s crucial that you tell your doctor about any of these signs. The medical professionals are there to help you and can offer you the most accurate advice based on your circumstances.
We hope this article has been useful. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy! Make sure to seek advice after losing your mucus plug, regardless of where you’re up to with your pregnancy. Signs of labor include water breaking, regular contractions and increased pressure as the baby drops. Read our blog on the childbirth pain scale 1 – 10.
Hey there, I’m Abigail!
I recently graduated with a degree in Marketing. I’m currently a freelance blogger and Marketing Assistant. I love learning new things and hope that you find my blogs useful and informative.
See you in the next article!