What is a mucous plug?
During their pregnancy-free cycles, women secrete a mucus called cervical mucus from their reproductive tract. Its purpose is to hydrate and facilitate sperm access to the uterus and fallopian tubes, thus helping fertilization. If no fertilization occurs during ovulation, this mucus is naturally evacuated with the periods. But if fertilization does occur and pregnancy is underway, the mucus coagulates at the entrance to the cervix, creating a protective plug at the entrance to the uterus. It is precisely this accumulation of cervical mucus that we call the mucous plug. Its purpose is to protect the fetus from infection, and it thickens and regenerates throughout pregnancy.
Loss of the mucous plug
At the end of pregnancy, and in particular under the effect of physiological contractions at the end of pregnancy, the cervix moves. With it, the mucous plug also moves, and will eventually be released and evacuated in the form of a sticky discharge. The loss of the mucous plug is painless and can also be synchronized with the opening of the cervix. Its color varies from woman to woman, ranging from white, grayish-white, pinkish, beige or brown. It may also contain small filaments of blood, which are in fact the relics of the small blood vessels that were ruptured when the mucous button detached.
However, the loss of the mucous plug does not necessarily occur at the end of pregnancy. It may occur all at once, or gradually, so that the pregnant woman is not necessarily aware of it, as it mingles with vaginal secretions. This loss often occurs a few days before delivery, on the day itself, or at the moment of delivery, but the mucous plug can also be evacuated during the third trimester of pregnancy, without heralding delivery. Although this is often nothing to worry about, it is advisable to consult a health professional. To avoid any inconvenience, you can use menstrual panties.
To signal the onset of labor, other signs must accompany the loss of the mucous plug, such as regular contractions of increasing intensity, or the breaking of the water. It's important not to confuse water loss, which is more or less abundant and very liquid, requiring a quick trip to the maternity ward as the baby is no longer protected from infection, with the loss of the mucous plug, which is more slimy and relatively small in quantity.