The mucus plug is a thick barrier of mucus that collects at the cervix and seals it for protection, keeping the fetus safe against outside infections. The establishment of this plug takes on a vital role in safeguarding the fetus from harm. Your cervix is what produces the mucus and along with bacterial flora and old cells inside the vaginal walls, a plug is formed. Although it is believed that labor is on the way when you lose your mucus plug, this is not always the case.
It is true that near the end of your pregnancy, the mucus plug becomes less important because it naturally frees itself away from the cervix, because of vaginal exams and the cervix dilating. Some women never lose the plug and the others that do can go into labor immediately, in one day, or up to 3 weeks later. There is no set time frame; it depends on your body and how your cervix dilates.
The cervix goes through natural changes during pregnancy, and when the mucus plug dislodges, it usually means that your cervix is dilating and that labor is not far off. You may see the mucus plug in your underpants, and it may be slightly pink, tinged with blood, or clear in color. You may miss the mucus plug all together as it may get flushed without even knowing it.
Losing your mucous plug is a sign that your cervix is softening, which is natural. However, if you spot stringy mucous discharge streaked with blood, the blood vessels in the cervix may have just ruptured, and labor may be a day or two away!
The formation and expelling of the mucus plug is a completely normal occurrence and natural phenomenon for women who are pregnant. It is something that takes place during the labor process.
Women should not be worried by a slight increase in discharge but may want to talk with a doctor if the discharge has a lot of blood or seems much larger than usual.
Again, the mucus plug is a normal occurrence for women who are pregnant. If you are confused or want to make sure that you know what to expect, talk to your doctor. Your doctor will be able to talk to you about the mucus plug and help you to understand better what to look for.