Cervical mucus plug

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A cervical mucus plug (operculum) is a plug that fills and seals the cervical canal during pregnancy. It is formed by a small amount of cervical mucus.[1]

The mucus plug acts as a protective barrier by deterring the passage of bacteria into the uterus,[2] and contains a variety of antimicrobial agents, including immunoglobulins, and similar antimicrobial peptides to those found in nasal mucus.[3]

Normally during pregnancy, the mucus can be described as cloudy, clear, thick, salty and sticky, although viscoelasticity may be the most appropriate term to describe it.[4] Toward the end of the pregnancy, when the cervix thins, some blood is released into the cervix which causes the mucus to become bloody. As the pregnant woman gets closer to labor, the mucus plug discharges as the cervix begins to dilate. The plug may come out as a plug, a lump, or simply as increased vaginal discharge over several days. The mucus may be tinged with brown, pink, or red blood, which is why the event is sometimes referred to as "bloody show". Loss of the mucus plug does not necessarily mean that delivery or labor is imminent.[citation needed]

Having intercourse or a vaginal examination can also disturb the mucus plug and cause a pregnant woman to see some blood-tinged discharge, even when labor does not begin over the next few days.[5]


  1. ^ "Mucus Plug".
  2. ^ "Mucus Plug: Information and overview at iVillage Pregnancy & Parenting". Archived from the original on 2010-04-27. Retrieved 2008-08-13.
  3. ^ Joseph Jordan; Albert Singer; Howard Jones; Mahmood Shafi, eds. (2006). The cervix (2nd ed.). Malden, Mass.: Blackwell. ISBN 9781444312751. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
  4. ^ Becher N, Adams Waldorf K, Hein M, Uldbjerg N (2009). "The cervical mucus plug: structured review of the literature". Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica. 88 (5): 502–13. doi:10.1080/00016340902852898. PMID 19330570. S2CID 23738950.
  5. ^ Signs of labor - BabyCenter