The Real Poop on Labor
What you always wanted to know about childbirth but were too mortified to mention. Plus, learn the 16 early signs of pregnancy
I keep hearing about this mucous-plug thing and it sounds totally gross. When exactly is it likely to fall out, and will it clog up my toilet or what?
We cannot tell a lie: The mucous plug isn't pretty. It's basically a gelatinous glob that seals off the opening of your uterus (think of a cork in a wine bottle). You can lose the plug -- a thick vaginal discharge of mucus, sometimes tinged with blood -- all at once or in pieces. If you do lose your plug all at once, it's not going to be any worse than a menstrual clot, says Kate Abello, M.D., an obstetrician-gynecologist in private practice in Baltimore, Maryland. Wear a pad or panty liner and be alert for other signs of labor, which may begin soon after or still be weeks away. Note that the mucous plug is different from "bloody show" -- a vaginal discharge of stringy mucus streaked with blood that precedes labor by a day or two.