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Can You Go Into Labor Without Losing Your Mucus Plug? A Doctor Explains

Trust your body.

by Cat Bowen
Originally Published: 

As you near your due date, you’re probably on the look out for any signs of labor. One of the most hyped up precursors to the big event is the loss of the mucus plug. But can you go into labor without losing your mucus plug? Some people have elevated losing the mucus plug to some sort of timestamp on delivery. But what does it really mean to lose a mucus plug. What even is a mucus plug, exactly, and does everyone have one? For all the buzz you may hear about it towards your last days and weeks of pregnancy, there is still a lot of confusion about how much it really matters. If you feel contractions, but haven't seen your mucus plug, is it possible that you could be in labor?

Can you dilate without losing your mucus plug?

You shouldn't fret if you think labor is happening, but haven't seen your mucus plug, Dr. Natasha Chinn, an OB-GYN, tells Romper. “Yes, you can go into labor without passing a mucus plug. The reality is that not everyone has a true plug. Some have a thick circular plug and others just a copious amount of mucus.” So yes, you can dilate without losing your mucus plug, and you can go into labor without losing (or noticing that you’ve lost) a mucus plug.

However, on the flip side, if you have lost your mucus plug, it could still be a few weeks between the time you lose that plug and the time you actually go into labor, Chinn explains. That is a real bummer when you feel precisely too pregnant to be mobile — when you feel like your baby has stayed beyond what is polite.

What to do if you lose your mucus plug

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If you do think you’ve lost your mucus plug, it’s fine to let your OB or midwife know about it. Though it doesn’t necessarily mean that labor is starting right away, or that you’ve dilated, it’s a good idea to take it as a reminder of something you probably already know: that Baby is coming relatively soon. You should hydrate, take frequent walks, rest as much as possible, and be on the look out for more obvious signs of dilation and labor. Because whether it's hours, days, or weeks, your baby is coming, and it's only a matter of time.

I lost my mucus plug before going into labor with my children, and let me tell you, it is bit of a messy thing. I lost mine on a Friday at about four in the afternoon. I went into labor the following Sunday morning, and delivered my son three hours later. But regardless, if you feel like you’re in labor and haven’t seen any sign of a mucus plug, trust your body and call your health care provider right away.


Dr. Natasha Chinn, MD, FACOG, OB-GYN, Brescia and Migliaccio Women’s Health

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