Mucus plug, as the name implies, is a plug created by mucus. When a woman is pregnant, the plug lodges and develops to block the cervical canal in cervix. It aims to protect the uterus from unwanted pathogens and bacteria that could come from vaginal exams or sexual activity. Cervical mucus basically contains many antimicrobial components, and also rich in the properties of busting the bacteria. Well, mucus plug can destroy the bacteria’s cell walls, thanks to its lysozymes. The plug is formed earlier during pregnancy, through secretions in the cervix and increasing progesterone as well as estrogens in ovum all the way to uterus. The plug lasts until childbirth, but it is constantly made by your body to keep it fresh every single day.
The Characteristics of Mucus Plug
1. The Colors
The colors of mucus plug could be varied. It can be white, transparent, yellow, green, brown, or slightly pink. It somehow looks similar to the mucus that’s expelled from our throat or nose. While inside the cervix, it is thick and looks similar to gelatin. But, once it is expelled, it becomes more liquid and thin. Usually, the plug is white-colored with some pink streaks. The size is around 4-5 cm long. In volume, it is approximately 1 ounce. It is common if the plug is not expelled all at once, which results in less volume.
2. The Reason Why It Comes Out
The reason why pregnant women lose their mucus plug is because the baby they are carrying goes into the lower parts of pelvis. Therefore, the cervix starts to open. When it is near childbirth time, the cervix begins to become softer for preparation. The plug will fall out as it is no longer firmly held in the cervix once it starts to ripen. The changes cause the bursting of capillaries in cervix, resulting in pink-colored mucus. Usually the plug is expelled during a shower, which makes it difficult for women to observe it. Sometimes, they even don’t notice that the plug is already expelled from their body.
3. The Time When It Gets Out
Usually, the time for plug to be expelled is around 37-42 weeks of gestation. It can also be expelled last minute before childbirth. The pregnant women’s body will make more mucus to protect the baby, so they can expel it way earlier during pregnancy. The mucus plug will be shed naturally when the women are preparing for childbirth as their cervix becomes wider, thinner, and softer. Some women also lose the plug after an internal exam or after having an intercourse.