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Answering Questions about the Mucus Plug

    The mucus plug forms soon after the fertilized egg implants in the uterus. The plug blocks the opening of the cervix until the gestational period is over. As the body prepares for labor, the mucus plug shrinks away and falls out of the cervical opening, making way for baby. Many pregnant women have questions about the cervical mucus plug and how to tell if it has been passed or is still in place.


    When I Pass the Mucus Plug What Will it Look Like?
    The mucus plug doesn’t look much different from normal pregnancy discharge. It may appear as a glob of mucus on your panties with a tint of blood. In some cases, the mucus plug falls out during urination or a bowel movement and is never seen at all.

    Do I Need to Rush to the Hospital When the Mucus Plug Passes?
    No, you do not have to rush to the hospital if the mucus plug passes unless there are other symptoms associated with the passing. Cramping and bleeding could be signs of a medical problem, so immediate medical attention is then required. It can take more than a week for labor to start after the mucus plug passes.

    Will I See the Mucus Plug Pass?
    Not all women see the mucus plug. Sometimes it will pass out of the body during a normal bathroom break or be passed in small bits with other pregnancy discharge. Often, the obstetrician is the one to inform the pregnant woman that the mucus plug has passed during a cervical check for dilation.

    How Long Will it Take For Labor to Begin After the Mucus Plug Passes?
    Labor does not typically start as soon as the mucus plug passes. The cervix will gradually open and for some women that takes weeks. In other cases, the passing of the mucus plug starts labor and the cervix dilates faster. The body will start labor when it is good and ready.

    When the Mucus Plug Falls Out is it Painful?

    There is no pain associated with the passing of the mucus plug. Women often notice extra discharge and may be concerned about the tint of blood, but pain is not often reported.

    By the time the mucus plug passes, the pregnancy is almost over. Labor will soon begin and a new baby is born. Pregnant women who have questions about the mucus plug or concerns about whether labor is starting should call their primary pregnancy care provider.