Throughout pregnancy, a mucus plug blocks the opening of the cervix to prevent bacteria from entering the uterus. Before labor, this mucus plug is expelled so that the cervix can open to allow the baby to pass through during labor and birth.
How soon after my mucus plug passes will labor begin?
Passing a mucus plug is a sign that your cervix is dilating and your body is starting to prepare for birth. Labor could be hours, days, or even weeks away as the cervix gradually opens over time.
What does a mucus plug look like?
A mucus plug may be clear, slightly pink or blood tinged in color. It may be stringy mucus or sticky discharge. Some women may not even notice the loss of their mucus plug because there is already an increase in vaginal discharge during pregnancy.
When should I call my health care provider?
If the mucus seems normal in color, there is no need to contact your health care provider immediately. You may just want to let them know at your next visit.
You should call your health care provider immediately if your discharge suddenly becomes bright red and the amount is more than an ounce (about two tablespoons). You could be experiencing a complication such as placenta previa or placental abruption.
Compiled using information from the following source:
Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide. Simkin, Penny, P.T., et al, Ch. 9.
American Pregnancy Association, http://www.americanpregnancy.org