Ask the Educators: What does it mean to lose your mucus plug?

Childbirth education at Blooma serves families no matter what type of birth they are planning. All classes present evidence-based information for normal and safe birth, influenced by the Lamaze 6 Healthy Birth Practices. Classes provide information to expectant families to reduce their fear or anxiety while building confidence and preparing them for birth.

Each Blooma Educator is a seasoned birth doula, up to date on birthing practices and policies.

Our educators frequently hear the same concerns about pregnancy, birth, and beyond. We love hearing your questions, and helping you make informed decisions for your birth. Many mamas and partners want to know, what is the mucus plug, and what does it mean to lose it?

The mucus plug is exactly what it sounds like—a plug of mucus in the cervix that helps to protect the baby from infection. When a woman loses her mucus plug, like many early labor signs, it can be a sign that labor could start in the next few hours, days, or even weeks. It does not give us any exact information about when the baby will arrive. What it does mean is that the cervix IS making change—yay! It is thinning out (or effacing) and dilating. During this process, the mucus plug comes out. For some women, it really does look like a plug of mucus that comes out all at once, and for others, it’s more like a thinned-out, jelly-like substance that leaks out over a longer period of time. (Who said pregnancy wasn’t glamorous, right??)  Some women notice that they have passed their mucus plug, and some don’t. The mucus plug may be tinged with drops of blood and may be pink or red in color. Another term for this that you may have heard is “bloody show.”

It is common to experience a small amount of bleeding within 24 hours of a vaginal exam or having sex in late pregnancy.  This blood is likely brownish in color, and again, just a few drops is no big deal. This is not your mucus plug. The blood that may come out with the mucus plug is typically pink or bright red.

*When you lose your mucus plug, it should be mostly mucus with some blood. You do not need to call your provider if you lose your mucus plug. However, if it is mostly blood with some mucus, you should call your provider immediately. Any bleeding like a period (rather than just a few drops) needs to be taken seriously at any point in pregnancy.

Written by Mari Melby, a childbirth educator, doula, intuitive healer, writer, and a mama. Learn more on her website, www.marimelby.com.