What is that thing?! The mucus plug serves as a seal for the cervix once pregnancy is established, and it generally looks kind of like “snot,” although it may be pink, grey, or clear. Think of it as the “caulk” that occludes the opening between the amniotic sac and bacteria in the vagina. This helps to minimize the risk of infection in the uterus during pregnancy both by sealing the opening as well as via antimicrobial properties.
When it comes out, is my baby going to fall out, too? Regardless of whether this is a hopeful question (please say my baby’s coming!) or fearful question (my little one isn’t ready to come yet!), the answer is still the same. Passage of the mucus plug happens when the cervix either thins or dilates slightly, and the timing of when a woman passes her mucus plug in relation to when she actually delivers can vary A LOT. For some women, it can be a sign that labor is imminent, but for others, this can happen weeks before labor occurs. That’s usually when I see this face :(
Can losing the mucus plug ever mean anything bad? It can if you’re also having contractions, heavy bleeding or your water breaks. The difference between the mucus plug and when your water breaks is both the consistency (the mucus plug is thicker) and the volume (the mucus plug is generally only a few tablespoons in size vs a constant “flow” or big “gush” when your water breaks). In that case, be sure to contact your doctor or go to labor and delivery. Oh, the labor and delivery nurses asked me to inform you that you are not required to bring your mucus plug with you to labor and delivery. They’ll take your word for it :)
There you have it! Now you know all about your mucus plug and how it affects pregnancy. If you pass yours, keep in mind that it doesn’t always signify the baby is coming immediately, nor does it mean that you will instantly develop an infection inside the uterus; however, you should probably take some precautions such as avoiding intercourse, swimming or other activities that may introduce more bacteria into the uterus. If you do have questions about your mucus plug or your pregnancy, be sure to ask your provider for more details, and remember, no matter how ugly the mucus plug, the baby will always be cute :)