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A thick clump of mucus forms at the cervix during pregnancy. When the cervix begins to dilate (open) several days before labor begins or at the start of labor, this plug is pushed into the vagina. When this happens you may notice an increase in vaginal discharge that’s clear, pink, or slightly bloody. Some women expel the entire mucus plug.

See How to Tell When Labor Begins to learn more about signs of labor.

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Published: October 2020

Last reviewed: October 2020

Copyright 2021 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. All rights reserved. Read copyright and permissions information.

This information is designed as an educational aid for the public. It offers current information and opinions related to women's health. It is not intended as a statement of the standard of care. It does not explain all of the proper treatments or methods of care. It is not a substitute for the advice of a physician. Read ACOG’s complete disclaimer.