A mucus plug is mucus that grows in the cervix during pregnancy that acts as an additional protective barrier between baby and the outside elements. Some unsuspecting parents discover what does a mucus plug look like towards the end of pregnancy or in labor, when using the toilet.
Other parents hear rumors from friends and family about this mysterious and potentially horrifying phenomenon, and turn to websites like Mother Rising to check out photos of mucus plugs for themselves.
Curious about what does a mucus plug look like? I was too. Get ready, because I’ve got mucus plug pictures. 😉
What Does a Mucus Plug Look Like?
A mucus plug is thick mucus shaped like it came from a large smoothie straw, and can be clear, opaque, pink, tinged with red, or brown.
How Big is the Mucus Plug?
When it comes out all at once, a mucus plug is around the size of a small pinky. The below photo is a great representation of a large piece of a mucus plug without blood.
What It Look like When It Comes out in Pieces?
A mucus plug typically comes out in pieces instead of all at once. Instead of a straw-like shape, women may wipe and see pieces or chunks on their toilet paper.
Does a Mucus Plug Look like Snot?
Some say a mucus plug looks like the snot on a tissue after blowing the nose, but I think that’s an understatement. If I blew my nose and what came out looked like any of the mucus plug photos on this page, I would absolutely call my doctor. Something would be terribly wrong! LOL
Does a Mucus Plug Look like Egg White or Egg White Cervical Mucus (EWCM)?
In my opinion, a mucus plug does not look like egg white cervical mucus. Cervical mucus, when not pregnant, is not as dense, gelatinous, or thick.
What Does a Mucus Plug Look like in the Toilet?
If you look at the mucus plug below, you’ll notice that it blends in well with the toilet paper. I think that if this particular mucus plug fell in the toilet it would be easy to not see it at all. If a mucus plug falls into the toilet a woman may never know it happened!
If a mucus plug is tinged with blood, it would be easier to see in the toilet, but still pretty difficult, especially if you’re not looking for it.
What Does a Mucus Plug Look like after a Membrane Sweep
A membrane sweep is a natural way of inducing labor that care providers sometimes offer a full-term woman that “wants to get the show on the road”. Basically, a care provider sweeps their fingers between the cervix and the amniotic sac to separate any connective tissue. This often “stirs things up”, causes lots of contractions, and can sometimes help labor to get going if a woman’s body is already ready.
As you can imagine, this is a pretty invasive procedure and is very uncomfortable, if not painful. If you don’t believe me, scroll up to the anatomy photo at the top and try to figure out how this procedure even happens.
After a membrane sweep, it’s common for a woman to experience bloody show, and see pieces of mucus plug tinged with blood. The color should be pink and there should be no bleeding, but what comes out can be enough to warrant a thin pad.
Sometimes a membrane sweet starts labor. And sometimes it doesn’t.
If labor does not start, it’s it can be common for the mucus plug to continue to come out in pieces, but as time moves forward, the pink color may change to brown. Brown blood signifies old blood.
What Does a Mucus Plug Look like in Labor?
As early labor progresses to active labor, and finally moves through transition, the cervix opens all the way to 10 cm releasing lots of mucus, or “baby goo” as a friend of mine calls it. Bloody show, or mucus mixed with blood is common, and even anticipated at this point.
Blood tinged mucus is a sign that the cervix is changing (opening, thinning, and moving forward), which allows for the baby to move down through the pelvis and get closer to the pushing stage of labor. Which is what we want, right? 😉
What Does a Mucus Plug Look Like?
For more information about mucus plugs and to answer common questions (like “How long after losing a mucus plug does labor start?”, check out my mucus plug 101 post. It’s fascinating!