Soft Signs of Labor

The baby dropping, passing the mucous plug, and bloody show are all soft signs of labor. They mean the body is getting ready but none of these are emergencies. You do not need to go to the hospital for any of these signs.

The mucous plug is really a bit of a misnomer as there is no true mucous plug in the cervix. As the due date approaches the cervix begins to thin out or efface, information on dilation effacement and station here. The effacement of the cervix causes increased mucousy discharge. This will often come out of the vagina and look like snot.  This is normal. Sometimes, instead of coming out, it will collect in the top of the vagina until critical mass is reached. It will then come out all at once and may look like a big plug of mucous. This is not a plug in the cervix and it has nothing to do with holding things in or keeping things out. If the “mucous plug” passes, it does not mean that labor is eminent. It only means the cervix is effacing or thinning out. You do not need to call your doctor or go to the hospital for this. We definitely do not want you to save it and bring it in to your next appointment.

Feeling the baby drop is another “soft sign of labor”. If this happens you do not need to be seen. As you get closer to delivery, the baby will often settle into the lower pelvis. This can be gradual or happen all at once. When it happens gradually it is often not noticed. When it happens suddenly it can be fairly dramatic. It will seem like you have room to breath again. Simultaneously, you will feel more pressure in the vagina.