What is the mucous plug during pregnancy?

Qu'est-ce que le bouchon muqueux pendant la grossesse ?

What is the mucus plug?

During their cycles and without the presence of a pregnancy, women secrete a mucus called cervical mucus in their genital tract. The purpose of this mucus is to hydrate and facilitate the access of spermatozoa to the uterus and fallopian tubes, thus helping fertilization. If no fertilization takes place during the ovulation period, this mucus is naturally evacuated with the menstrual period. But if fertilization occurs and a pregnancy is underway, the mucus coagulates at the entrance to the cervix to create a protective plug at the entrance to the uterus. It is precisely this buildup of cervical mucus that is called the mucus plug. Its purpose is to protect the fetus from possible infections and to do so, it thickens and regenerates throughout the pregnancy.

The loss of the mucous plug

During the end of pregnancy, and particularly under the effect of the 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 one woman to another, ranging from white, grayish-white, pinkish, beige or brown. It can also sometimes contain small filaments of blood which are in fact the relics of the small blood vessels that were broken when the mucous plug broke off.

Nevertheless, the loss of the mucous plug does not necessarily occur at the end of the pregnancy. It can happen all at once, or it can happen gradually, so that the pregnant woman does not necessarily notice it, because it mixes with vaginal secretions. This loss often occurs a few days before delivery, on the day of delivery, or at the time of delivery, but the mucous plug can also be shed during the third trimester of pregnancy, without announcing delivery. Although this is often not a cause for concern, it is advisable to consult a health professional. To avoid any inconvenience, you can therefore bring menstrual panties with you.

In order to announce the beginning of labor, other signs should accompany the loss of the mucous plug, such as contractions at a regular rhythm that becomes more and more intense, or the rupture of the water bag. It is important not to confuse water loss, which is more or less abundant and very liquid and which requires a quick trip to the maternity ward because the baby is no longer protected from infections, with the loss of the mucous plug, which is more sticky and of rather small quantity.

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