There are a number of changes that your body undergoes when you are pregnant. Losing the mucus plug may be a sign of approaching labor and is often an exciting and frightening time in the life of the pregnant woman.
Before we can look into the implications of losing mucus plug, let us first understand what a mucus plug actually is.
Throughout the duration of the pregnancy there is an increased amount of creamy and white vaginal discharge. The mucus plug refers to the thick glob of cervical mucus and fluids present in the cervical opening. This mucus cover acts as a protective cover over the uterus opening and protects the fetus against bacterial and other infections.
As the pregnancy progresses, the cervix starts thinning and dilating in anticipation of the labor. When this happens a pregnant women loses the mucus plug. Most women will not even notice this as the mucus plug will appear as thick, stringy vaginal secretions quite similar to what you have had throughout pregnancy.
However in certain cases the discharge is tinged with pink, brown or red blood. This is known as a bloody show and is a signal that you may soon be going into labor.
Losing the mucus plug does not always mean that you may be approaching labor. Some women lose the mucus plug as early as in the 36th weeks. However the labor can be days or even weeks away.
While it does signal that labor is imminent since your cervix has started dilating and effacing, it does not necessarily provide a definite time frame for this. In fact in certain cases it can even regenerate.
Thus losing the mucus plug is not really a definite sign of labor. Moreover it is vital to distinguish this vaginal discharge with leaking amniotic fluid which is runny in consistency as opposed to the thick mucus discharge. Leaking amniotic fluid needs to be reported at once.
If the mucus is tinged with bright red blood it is a good idea to consult a health care provider as son as possible as this could be a sign of placenta previa or an early detachment of the placenta.