Mucus Plug (Show) – What Is The Mucus Plug?
|Pregnancy Week (Select):|
Mucus Plug (Show) – What Is The Mucus Plug?
During pregnancy, your cervix secretes mucus which forms a thick mucus plug. This plug forms on the cervix and it’s purpose is to prevent any bacteria getting into the uterus – like an added layer of protection for your baby.
The mucus plug (medical term is operculum, i.e. plug in opening) is usually is cloudy or clear in colour, thick and sticky – some women describe it looking like a glob of semen or ‘snot’ or a mix of both! When your cervix begins to thin and dilate at the end of your pregnancy, there may be some slight blood loss due to small capillaries breaking from the movement. The blood then gets caught up in the mucus and this is why it’s also called ‘a bloody show’ as the mucus becomes blood stained.
During the last couple of weeks of pregnancy or up until labour itself, the plug will start to come away so the baby can pass through the cervix. Some women do not even notice their plug expelling as there is already an increase in normal cervical mucous due to hormones. The mucus plug often comes away like a continuous stringy discharge – sometimes it can actually resemble a plug. Some women do not see their mucus plug until well into labour – I was 5 centimetres dilated and it wasn’t until my waters had broken before I saw it!
According to a poll in the BellyBelly Forums, at the time of writing this article, 34% of women reported that they had lost their show around 2 days prior to labour starting, with a further 30% who lost the show during labour and 17.65% who never saw their show at all! The remaining percent lost their show 1-2 weeks before labour started. So if your show makes an appearance, you can be assured things will be on their way very soon, but be careful not to get too excited and tell everyone – you just might find the super frequent phone calls and unexpected visits a little overwhelming!
Some Quick Mucus Plug Facts From BellyBelly’s Midwife, Brenda Manning
Having your show, or mucus plug:
- Doesn’t mean labour is imminent
- Is common after the caregiver has done a vaginal exam, especially if s/he has done a strip & stretch (or stretch & sweep)
- Is common post love-making
- Can be brown – it’s just old blood
- Is a positive, encouraging sign that the birth is near during advanced labour because ‘a good heavy show’ usually means that the cervix is fully dilated.
The only time we are interested in it is when it’s confused with bleeding and women phone us (quite rightly) very concerned that they’ve had a bleed but on questioning it’s just blood-stained mucous (common after love-making).
If in doubt save it, bring it in on a pad and show your caregiver – s/he won’t mind, we see/smell/feel all sorts of stuff and are completely unaffected by it – truly!!!
Midwives do tend to get excited if a woman arrives in labour with a good heavy show because it means that things are happening and they can reassure you of that without having to do a vaginal exam.
Remember that you should always report any vaginal discharge or bleeding in pregnancy to your midwife or doctor for evaluation.
Kelly Winder is a birth attendant (aka doula), the creator of BellyBelly and mum to three beautiful children. Follow Kelly on Google+ and become a fan of BellyBelly on Facebook. BellyBelly is also on Twitter. Please note that all of my suggestions and advice are of a generalised nature only and are not intended to replace advice from a qualified professional. BellyBelly.com.au – The Thinking Woman’s Website For Conception, Pregnancy, Birth and Baby.
More Pregnancy Articles
- 10 Big Pregnancy Blunders You Should Avoid
- 10 Ways Pregnancy Is Totally Overrated
- 11 Things You Should NOT Say To A Pregnant Woman
- 16 Common Side Effects During Pregnancy
- 40 Reasons To Give Baby 40 Weeks Of Pregnancy
- 8 Things You Must Know About Preventing Postnatal Depression
- 9 BIG Reasons Why Independent Birth Education Gets Better Results
- Acne And Pregnancy – How To Deal With Acne In Pregnancy
- Alcohol During Pregnancy – Is It Safe To Drink Alcohol While Pregnant?
- Amniocentesis – What Is An Amniocentesis?
- Are You Prepared for Breastfeeding? Tips To Prepare For Success
- Baby Formula – What Baby Formula Makers Wont Tell You
- Baby Shower Games – 9 Fun Baby Shower Games
- Baby Shower Ideas – 7 Awesome Baby Shower Ideas
- Bleeding After Sex During Pregnancy
- Bleeding During Pregnancy – Causes of Bleeding During Pregnancy
- Blessingway – What Is A Blessingway?
- Boys Names – Baby Names For Boys
- Breakthrough Bleeding – What Is Breakthrough Bleeding?
- Breast Changes During Pregnancy
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Carpal Tunnel During Pregnancy
- Chemical Pregnancy – Symptoms Of A Chemical Pregnancy
- Coffee and Pregnancy – Can You Drink Coffee During Pregnancy?
- Colouring Your Hair During Pregnancy: Is It Safe To Colour Your Hair?
- Constipation During Pregnancy – Remedies & Treatment For Constipation
- CVS (Chorionic Villus Sampling)
- Depression and Pregnancy – Depression In Pregnancy
- Doesn’t Feel Right? Speaking Up and How To Do It
- Doula – What Is a Doula And Why Do So Many Women Want One?
- Down Syndrome – Expecting a Baby With Down Syndrome
- Early Pregnancy Symptoms – Early Signs Of Pregnancy
- Ectopic Pregnancy Symptoms – Signs Of Ectopic Pregnancy
- Essential Oils In Pregnancy – Which Essential Oils Are Safe To Use?
- Exercise And Pregnancy – Can I Exercise In Pregnancy?
- Flu Vaccine When Pregnant – Should I Get The Flu Vaccine?
- Flying When Pregnant – Tips for Flying When Pregnant
- Gas During Pregnancy – A Farty Problem
- Gender Dilemmas – Wanting a Boy – or a Girl
- Gender Disappointment – Tips For Coping With Gender Disappointment
- Gender Reveal Party Ideas – 16 Cool Gender Reveal Ideas!
- Genital Herpes – Giving Birth With Genital Herpes
- Gestational Diabetes – Treating Gestational Diabetes
- Girls Names – Baby Names for Girls
- Haemorrhoids – Treating Haemorrhoids in Pregnancy
- Hiring a Birth Attendant or Doula – Questions to Ask
- How Many Weeks Pregnant Am I?
- Internal Exams During Pregnancy and Labour – Are They Necessary?
- Irritable Uterus – What Is An Irritable Uterus In Pregnancy?
- Listeria and Pregnancy – What You Need To Know About Listeria
- Low Lying Placenta – What It Means To Have Low Lying Placenta
- Maternity Bra – When Should I Get A Maternity Bra?
- Miscarriage – What Is A Miscarriage And Why Do They Occur?
- Mocktail Recipes – Yummy Mocktails For Pregnancy
- MTHFR – Is The MTHFR Gene Mutation Affecting Your Pregnancy?
- No Period / Missed Period – Could I Be Pregnant?
- Nutrition in Pregnancy
- Obstetrician For Birth – 11 Questions To Ask
- Old Wives’ Tales and Pregnancy – Boy or Girl?
- Optimal Fetal Positioning – How It Helps You Have An Easier Birth
- Osteopathy and Pregnancy – How Osteopathy Helps
- Paid Parental Leave – How Much Is Paid Parental?
- Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) in Pregnancy
- Pets and Your New Baby – 6 Tips To Prepare Your Pet
- Placenta Previa – What Is Placenta Previa?
- Postnatal Depression – Prevention & Treatment With Chinese Medicine
- Preeclampsia and Symptoms of Preeclampsia
- Pregnancy Books – 4 Best Pregnancy Books
- Pregnancy Calculator – Try BellyBelly’s Pregnancy Calculator
- Pregnancy Photography – 10 Great Reasons To Have Pregnancy Photography
- Pregnancy Stages – The Three Pregnancy Stages
- Pregnancy Stress – 10 Tips For Dealing With Stress In Pregnancy
- Pregnancy Symptoms – 16 Noticeable Pregnancy Symptoms
- Pregnancy Test – When To Take A Pregnancy Test
- Pregnancy Tickers – Countdown to Baby With A Pregnancy Ticker!
- Pregnancy Week By Week – Your Pregnancy Week By Week
- Pregnancy Weight Gain – How Much Weight Is Normal?
- Pregnancy Yoga – Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
- Prenatal Testing & Screening – What You Need To Know
- Private Health Funds Covering Midwifery and Homebirth
- Public, Private, Birth Centre or Home?
- Red Raspberry Leaf Tea In Pregnancy – Benefits of Raspberry Leaf
- Rhesus Negative Factor in Pregnancy – Rh- Blood
- Sciatica – Treatment Of Sciatica in Pregnancy
- Seeing the Dentist in Pregnancy – FAQ’s
- Sex Toys During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?
- Shortness of Breath In Pregnancy – Are You Short Of Breath?
- Smoking During Pregnancy – FAQ’s on Smoking During Pregnancy
- Sore Ribs During Pregnancy – Relief for Rib Pain While Pregnant
- Stretch Marks – How To Get Rid Of Stretch Marks
- Tea During Pregnancy – Teas To Drink And Teas To Avoid
- The Importance Of Sleeping Position In Pregnancy
- Thrush During Pregnancy – Vaginal Thrush Symptoms And Treatments
- Unplanned Pregnancy – When Your Pregnancy Is More Shock Than Surprise
- Waxing During Pregnancy – Can You Wax While Pregnant?
- When Do You Start To Look Pregnant?
- When Does Morning Sickness Start? Morning Sickness FAQ’s
- Who Cares? Choosing a Model of Maternity Care
- Will Your Baby Be Born in a Baby Friendly Hospital?