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During pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through changes. She endeavors quite new experiences throughout the gestation period. One such significant thing to be concerned about is the mucus plug that provides you with an insight about your newborns well-being and many other details. To be aware of these details is vital to ensure the birth of a healthy newborn and of knowing the physiological changes in the woman’s own body.
What is a mucus plug
A mucus plug may be defined as “a sealed entrance to the womb”. Just after a fertilized egg is conceived and settled in the uterus for development, the mucus plug starts to form. It settles in the cervix of the female’s body and provide a physical as well as an antimicrobial barrier between the uterus (where the fetus resides) and the external openings – vagina. This barrier will protect the fetus from the chances of interactions with bacteria and other microbes entering the female’s body due to sexual intercourse or physical body examinations related to the pregnancy.
Pregnancy mucus plug
The formation of the mucus plug is due to the action of hormones. Just after the pregnancy has started, or in the early pregnancy, there is a rise in the level of the hormones progesterone and estrogen. Furthermore, secretions from the cervix adds up to those rising levels of hormones resulting in the formation of the mucus plug. These are the secretions from the cervical glands. It reaches its full size when the pregnancy reaches twelfth week.
Significance of the mucus plug
Presence of the mucus plug at the cervix is very important. It protects the fetus and the uterus. Complications in pregnancies may arise without a mucus plug and sometimes, it may not occur at all if the mucus plug fails to form. This gelatinous substance protects the fetus by acting as a shield in the cervix. It doesn’t let the harmful bacteria and microorganisms get to the fetus in the womb and prevents its exposure to any thing that might cause infection. The cervical mucus is present with naturally rich antimicrobial components, but the mucus plug has double the amounts of bacteria busting properties.
Action of Lysozymes
Lysozymes are the enzymes present in the mucus plug that destroys the cell wall of the bacteria, thus, inhibiting their harmful action in any way.
Mucus plug as the hard hitter
Amniotic fluid is the fluid in which the fetus resides in and takes all its nutrients from. It is the last line of defense for the fetus whereas mucus plug acts as the hard hitter. It protects fetus from bacteria primarily and keeps the fetus safe.
Losing mucus plug
In the gestation period, the mucus plug is normally lost after the thirty-seventh or the thirty-eighth week. This occurs because the development of the fetus has reached a considerable level and its growth is taking place inside the womb. The secretions of estrogen significantly increase, and this stimulates the inhibition of developmental process for the fetus as it has completed. At this stage, the baby is dropped to the pelvis which causes the cervix to open.
When do you lose your mucus plug
After the thirty-seventh week, the cervix starts to ripen, and this ripening is stimulated by the hormone called Prostaglandins. This refers to the shortening and the softening of cervix to make the action for labor to occur. When the fetus is dropped to the pelvis it passes through the softened and narrowed cervix hence the mucus plug is broken, and the mother loses it.
Although losing the mucus plug means that the fetus has normally developed and now after its normal movements come to pelvis indicating the on-coming labor, it doesn’t necessarily tell the exact time for it. Different mothers have different experiences regarding the losing of their mucus plugs. Some delivered the baby just hours after they lost the mucus plug whereas some delivered days after they lost it.
What does the mucus plug look like
When the mucus plug is lost by a mother, it passes through some blood vessels (capillaries). It is known as a show or a bloody show. These vessels are ruptured and because of that the mucus plug gets a blood tinged appearance. It is already gelatinous and white with streaks of dull red color. It may go unnoticed by the mother while using the loo and she may never know she had lost it. Or it may be noticed by them and they know their bodies are preparing for the labor. It looks like a jelly or a jelly fish with a size of four to five centimeter. It may be lost at once or in a couple of times.
What happens after you lose your mucus plug
Losing the mucus plug in its normal color and after the thirty-seventh week of pregnancy is normal but there are some things to be concerned about. If a mother loses her mucus plug before this time it may not be considered normal. The doctor should be called and consulted with. If the mucus plug lost before due time was not stained with very dark red blood and the labor contractions have not started yet, then it suggests everything can go back to being normal. The plug can be formed again by the body itself as it keeps on thickening anyway. But if a mother loses it before time and it has bright red blood, it might be dangerous for the fetus and mother. A premature birth or a miscarriage can be indicated if things go out of hand.
How long after losing mucus plug does labor start
Once a mother has lost her mucus plug, the fetus resides in the cervical canal region and precautions may be observed to ensure the safety of mother and fetus. Personal hygiene should be cared for necessarily because the protection has somewhat lessened after the loss of that plug. Any way that proposes threat of an infection should be avoided. Access to hospital may be easy because the time for labor may occur at any time.
If the delivery date has not arrived yet and a mother has lost her mucus plug, she need not rush to the hospital. She needs to observe some extra care and consult the doctor as well to know if everything is in order. But not until the water breaks and the labor contractions are initiated that the exact time for labor has arrived. After this happens, the mother needs to go to the hospital and labor process may begin.
This article was written by Tammy Broccas, blogger at Broccas.com and content writer by profession. Leave her a comment below if you liked this article or visit her blog and contact her if you want to hire Tammy for content writing services.