Losing your mucus plug? Is Labor Imminent?

Verified by Julie Gerdes,
Labor and Delivery nurse

There is no definite answer on when you’ll have your baby if you lose your mucus plug. It could happen imminently or it could still be weeks away.

If your mucus plug is accompanied by your bloody show, then ensure your bags are packed.

When I lost my mucus plug with my first, I was terrified. You hear so many horror stories about bleeding that it’s frightening.

I have listed common signs that labor is on its way to help put your mind at rest!

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What is a mucus plug?

Think of a bottle of champagne and the cork that sits on top protecting the liquid from flowing out. Your mucus plug works the same way and seals your cervix, which is the opening of your uterus, during pregnancy.

The cork, along with the amniotic sac, helps to protect your baby from the outside world until you’re ready for delivery.


What does it mean for the mucus plug to discharge?

If you’re losing your mucus plug, this is a definite sign that your cervix is softening and opening up, preparing your body for childbirth.


What does a mucus plug look like?

When you have your mucus plug release, you will notice that it is sticky, clear and basically a gelatinous glob of mucus. Sounds delightful, right?

Should you pull out your mucus plug?

No, let it do its job on its own. It could cause an infection if you pull it out and you definitely don’t want anything to affect yourself during pregnancy.


How long after losing the mucus plug does labor start?

It can differ depending on the person. I went into labor within a few days with my first after my mucus plug show. With my other children, It came literally just before I gave birth.

mucus plug

Is it okay if my mucus plug discharges early?

If your mucus plug shows weeks before your due date, don’t worry, there is no need for concern. It might not be until a few weeks that your labor will actually begin anyway and your baby will be safe even if your mucus plug has dislodged.

If your mucus plug does come away, due to your body still making cervical mucus to prevent infection, you can still do things like taking a bath, having sex and going about your usual business.

Your baby will be safely snug and sealed off.

Mucus plugs can actually grow back.

Some women will lose their mucus plugs more than once.

Mucus plugs can also come out in chunks or just small amounts at a time so that it looks like regular discharge which is why some women won’t notice they’ve lost theirs.


Will you always lose your mucus plug?

Your mucus plug will always discharge before you deliver. Although, it can be missed, so don’t worry if you feel like you haven’t yet seen it. No matter when your mucus plug shows, it doesn’t give any indication of how your birth will be.

brown mucus discharge

What to do if you have your mucus plug show

Sit tight, your baby won’t be here yet (unless you’ve had your bloody show too!). If you’ve just had your mucus plug, it could be an indication that your baby is going to be here soon, so ring your health visitors at the hospital and they will give you further instruction.

They might tell you to come in for a quick vaginal examination to determine how dilated you are and how close you might be to active labor.

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