Immediately she noticed the milky white discharge, Flora worried for her baby. Of course, she didn’t want anything to happen to her precious little one. Little did she know that it was a mucus plug discharge.
Early the next day, she left for the hospital where a kind and gentle nurse requested to observe the discharge before explaining to Flora that it was a simple mucus plug discharge.
During pregnancy, women tend to experience an increase in the frequency of vaginal discharge. As a result, it’s quite difficult to differentiate between a mucus plug and a vaginal discharge.
This article presents you with concrete information about what a mucus plug is. It goes further to provide you with a number of differences between a mucus plug and a vaginal discharge.
What’s A Mucus Plug?
It is also known as cervical mucus plug.
This plug serves as a barrier to the womb during pregnancy. The mucus plug protects the womb from unwanted organisms like viruses, bacteria and parasites which may creep in and harm the growing baby.
A mucus plug is made up of secretions from the womb which unite to form a barrier during early pregnancy. When delivery time is near, the cervix undergoes certain changes called effacement and dilation.
During effacement, the cervix becomes thin which spurs the removal of the mucus plug.
What Does It Look Like?
The mucous plug has a classic egg white appearance.
In some cases, it may contain a tiny tinge of blood. During late pregnancy, the mucus plug is thick, sticky and quite transparent.
In the latter stages of pregnancy and just before labour, the mucous plug dissolves and leaves the vagina as a continuous discharge. This discharge may last for more than a day.
What’s A Vaginal Discharge?
A vaginal discharge refers to any secretion that is released from the vagina at any point in time.
In most cases, a normal discharge is composed of shed vaginal skin cells, bacteria and vaginal secretions. A normal vaginal discharge is usually clear and milky with a gentle scent that is not unpleasant.
On the other hand, an abnormal vaginal discharge may be green or yellow. This is usually indicative of a possible infection.
Mucus Plug Vs Discharge
- A mucus plug is white in colour and odourless and may contain a tinge of blood. On the other hand, vaginal discharge can come in different colours and may have an unpleasant odour, depending on the cause.
- A mucus plug is seen inside the womb protecting the baby from unwanted organisms while a vaginal discharge is seen in the cervix.
- A mucus plug dissolves at the start of labour while a vaginal discharge can occur at any phase of pregnancy and post-pregnancy stage.
- Compared to vaginal discharge, a mucus plug discharge only occurs during pregnancy.
Losing the mucus plug may be a sign of intending but not immediate labour. Your labour may take a few more days or weeks to start even after a mucous plug discharge
Please consult your doctor if you notice an unpleasant or uncomfortable discharge from your vagina. This may be a sign of an infection or sexually transmitted disease.
Above all, keep a close eye on your health as an expectant mum. Attend your clinics regularly and take very good care of yourself.
- Naja Becher, Kristina Adams Waldorf, Merete Hein, Niels Uldbjerg (2010). “The cervical mucus plug: Structured review of the literature”. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica. Accessed from https://doi.org/10.1080/00016340902852898 on 21st September, 2020.
- Joshua (2011). Difference Between A Mucus Plug And A Discharge. Accessed on 20th September, 2020 from http://www.differencebetween.net/science/health/difference-between-a-mucus-plug-and-a-discharge/
- Olga Adereyko (2019). Mucus Plug vs Discharge: How Do You Know When You’ve Lost the Mucus Plug? Accessed on 21st September, 2020 from https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.flo.health/pregnancy/giving-birth/labor-and-delivery/mucus-plug-vs-discharge
- Agatha S. Critchfield, Grace Yao, Aditya Jaishankar, Ronn S. Friedlander, Oliver Lieleg, Patrick S. Doyle, Gareth McKinley, Michael House, and Katharina Ribbeck (2013). “Cervical Mucus Properties Stratify Risk for Preterm Birth.” PLoS One. Accessed on 22nd September, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3731331/#__ffn_sectitle