Throughout pregnancy, a mucus plug blocks the opening of the cervix to prevent bacteria from entering the uterus. Before labor, this mucus plug is expelled so that the cervix can open to allow the baby to pass through during labor and birth.
How soon after my mucus plug passes will labor begin?
Passing a mucus plug is a sign that your cervix is dilating and your body is starting to prepare for birth. Labor could be hours, days, or even weeks away as the cervix gradually opens over time.
What does a mucus plug look like?
A mucus plug may be clear, slightly pink or blood tinged in color. It may be stringy mucus or sticky discharge. Some women may not even notice the loss of their mucus plug because there is already an increase in vaginal discharge during pregnancy.
When should I call my health care provider?
If the mucus seems normal in color, there is no need to contact your health care provider immediately. You may just want to let them know at your next visit.
You should call your health care provider immediately if your discharge suddenly becomes bright red and the amount is more than an ounce (about two tablespoons). You could be experiencing a complication such as placenta previa
or placental abruption
Terms Of Labor And Birth
Abruptio Placenta (Placental Abruption):
The placenta has started to separate from the uterine wall before the baby is born.
Amniotic Fluid: This protective liquid, consisting mostly of fetal urine and water, fills the sac surrounding the fetus.
A measurement of the newborn's response to birth and life outside the womb. The ratings, APGAR, are based on Appearance (color), Pulse (heartbeat), Grimace (reflex), Activity (muscle tone), and Respiration (breathing). The scores, which are taken at 1 & 5 minutes following birth, range from 10 to 1, with 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest.
When the fetus is positioned head up to be born buttocks first or with one or both feet first.
Cephalopelvic Disproportion(CPD): The baby is too large to safely pass through the mother's pelvis.
A medication used to ripen the cervix before induction.
: An incision through the abdominal and uterine walls for extraction of the fetus; it may be vertical or more commonly, horizontal. Also called abdominal deliver
y; commonly called C-Section
This is a thin, white fluid discharged from the breasts in the early stage of milk production, and usually noticeable during the last couple weeks of pregnancy.
The baby's buttocks are presenting at the cervix, but the legs are folded “Indian style,” making vaginal delivery difficult or impossible.
The regular tightening of the uterus, working to push the baby down the birth canal.
: When the baby's head has passed through the birth canal and the top or “crown” stays visible at the vaginal opening.
The extent to which the cervix has opened in preparation for childbirth. It is measured in centimeters, with full dilation being 10 centimeters.
This refers to the thinning of the cervix in preparation for birth, and is expressed in percentages. You will be 100% effaced when you begin pushing.
The baby's presenting part (usually the head) has settled into the pelvic cavity, which usually happens during the last month of pregnancy.
A common method of anesthesia used during labor. It is inserted through a catheter which is threaded through a needle, into the dura space near the spinal cord.
An incision made to the perineum to widen the vaginal opening for delivery.
Condition when the baby is not receiving enough oxygen or is experiencing some other complication.
Soft spots between the unfused sections of the baby's skull. These allow the baby's head to compress slightly during passage through the birth canal.
Tong shaped instrument that may be used to help guide the baby's head out of the birth canal during delivery.
The baby's buttocks are presenting at the cervix and the baby's legs are extended straight up to the baby's head.
Inability to control excretions. Urinary incontinence can occur as the baby places heavy pressure on the bladder.
Labor is started or accelerated through intervention, such as placing prostaglandin gel on the cervix, using an IV drip of the hormone oxytocin (Pitocin), or by rupturing the membranes.
Condition in newborn babies, reflected in yellowing of the skin, caused by the immature liver's inability to process excess red blood cells.
Regular contractions of the uterus that result in dilation and effacement of the cervix.
When the baby drops in preparation for delivery (Engagement).
This is the greenish substance that builds up in the bowels of a growing fetus and is normally discharged shortly after birth.
A specialist who cares for newborns.
Acronym standing for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Synthetic narcotic pain reliever commonly used in labor and delivery.
Hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that stimulates contractions and the milk-eject reflex. Pitocin is the synthetic form of this hormone.
The muscle and tissue between the vagina and the rectum. Phenergan: A sedative administered that also controls nausea and vomiting.
The tissue that connects the mother and fetus to transport nourishment and take away waste.
When the placenta partially or completely covers the cervix.
The baby is in a face-up position during delivery. Normal presentation is anterior which is face down.
The period after childbirth.
Pregnancy lasting more than 42 weeks.
Babies born earlier than 37 weeks.
Medication used to ripen the cervix before induction.
Usually refers to the breaking of the fluid filled sac surrounding the baby. The fluid may come as a gush of water or as a slow leak. Slow leaks are sometimes mistaken as incontinence.
An instrument used to open the vagina slightly wider so that the cervix can be seen more easily.
Contractions are measured from the beginning of one contraction until the beginning of the next contraction.
: Baby's body length is horizontal in the uterus. If the baby cannot be moved, it will have to be delivered by cesarean .
The cord that transports blood, oxygen and nutrients to the baby from the placenta.
Instrument that attaches to the baby's head and helps guide it out of the birth canal during delivery.
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