Mucus plug in pregnancy: what is it and when does its expulsion occur

The mucus plug is a secretion located in the cervical canal, which during pregnancy keeps the cervix sealed, constituting a physical-chemical and immunological barrier.

It is formed around the seventh week of pregnancy and its function is very important during pregnancy, as it protects against the entry of germs and other infectious agents.

What is a mucus plug?

The mucus plug is made up of the cells of the epithelium of the cervix of the pregnant woman, of a gel-like consistency with around 90 percent water and the rest of glycoproteins that give it the characteristic mucus consistency.

This substance is usually transparent or yellowish or brown in color, sometimes tinged with blood, with pinkish or reddish tones.

Expulsion of the mucus plug

In term pregnancy, expelling the mucus plug is a sign of imminence of labor, which can occur in hours or days, perhaps weeks. Some women do not notice that they have expelled it. Expulsion occurs because the cervix begins to dilate as the time of delivery approaches.

The woman will notice a small amount of thick, slimy, mucus discharge. It can be lost all at once, or in the form of heavy vaginal discharge over several days. This is usually due to a capillary rupture that occurs with effacement or dilation of the cervix.

The sex or vaginal examination may also affect the mucus plug flow and cause a bloody, even if delivery is not going to start in the coming days. For this reason, it is not necessary to go to the hospital if only the plug detaches and there are no rhythmic contractions or the water has not broken.

In any case, if very red and abundant blood losses are noticed, it is necessary to notify the gynecologist and go to the hospital to determine the cause, since it can be a sign of a complication.

Alert symptoms

If the woman detects the detachment of the plug, it is advisable to consult the gynecologist if it is convenient to avoid sexual intercourse and baths, since the uterus will be more exposed to external infections.

The early expulsion of the mucus plug before reaching the end of pregnancy is a symptom of immature and preterm labor, it could be due to an incompetent cervix.

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