When will I start labor if I lost my mucus plug and I'm 3 cm dilated?

Updated on September 26, 2006
M.J. asks from Portland, OR
5 answers

I am pregnant with my first baby and am curious about the progression of labor. Two and a half weeks ago I was in a rear end car accident. I was immediately monitored at the hospital and all looked normal and well with the baby. However, I was in extreme back pain and my OB recommended acupuncture. The treatment did provide some relief... Betwen the time of the accident and now I have lost my mucus plug and found out yesterday I am dialated to 3cm & 75% effaced. My DR told me to enjoy my last weekend without child. I have read mixed posts online... Some say if you are dialated to 3 and this much effaced that labor will come within a week (as my DR suggested) others say you can be dialated like this for weeks. I am of course excited to meet my little one but am really concerned about him coming so early. Please share your experiences...

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Labor is so unpredictable, and you just have to play it by ear and listen to your body for cues. Just because you lost your mucous plug doesn't mean labor is going to start. The mucous plug will regenerate if labor doesn't start. Check with your doctor.

So What Happened?

Hey all just wanted to let you know... At my 37 week appt. I was 4 cm 100% effaced and at 37.5 weeks I was 5 cm. I gave birth at 37 1/2 weeks to a healthy baby boy... 6lbs 12 oz, 20 inches. Thanks for your posts!

More Answers



answers from Portland on

Hi M.,

I am a doula located in Beaverton, OR and I can assure you that you can be dilated for weeks before your baby arrives. I have also had a client personally that was 75% effaced for some time before she ever went in to labor, though she had hoped she would at the time and she too was 3cm for which she will decare "forever". It is good to be dilated early. Once you hit 37 weeks you are pretty much in the clear.

Best of luck to you and your family. Enjoy the weekend and try to stay focused on anything BUT labor.

Kind regards,
T. Nelson CD



answers from Portland on

With my second son I was only dilated 1cm when I went into labor, with my last son I was dilated 3cm for over a month before they decided to induce shortly after my due date. So, everyone and every baby is different. And don't worry if you do deliver at 36 weeks because at 37 you are considered full term, your baby is perfectly fine to deliver now. Good luck!



answers from Portland on

Yes you can be that dilated and effaced for weeks with no progress. I too was excited when I lost my mucous plug, but online research revealed that can happen many weeks before actual labor and can even reform! The pace of dilation and effacement is really a very individual process. My doc doesn't even do cervical checks on her patients because they can be very misleading and don't accurately reveal when your due date will be. Believe me, I know how impatient you are to have your baby but try to enjoy the peace while you can. Good luck.



answers from Portland on

I was dialated to 3cm for a month with my last baby (she wanted to come at thanksgiving but it was too early so they stoped my labor and she came a few days after christmas) but if you have lost your mucus plug I bet you will go into labor anytime, I know with my second baby I lost my mucus plug in the morning and had back pain for most of the day and called the OB ward at the hospital and she said to come in and they would check me out, I told them I would be in after we put my oldest to bed and when I got to the hospital I was dialiated to 5cm and after being there an hour I had him in my arms. Glad I called the clinic, I was going to wait til the next day when I had my OB appointment. lol



answers from Portland on

I am a certified birth doula and have seen many women progress to 3cm or more, with 75% or more effacement, and not deliver for a couple of weeks. Having said that, I've also seen the opposite. Labor is so unpredictable, and you just have to play it by ear and listen to your body for cues. Just because you lost your mucous plug doesn't mean labor is going to start. The mucous plug will regenerate if labor doesn't start. Hope this information was helpful to you. My best to you for your upcoming labor.

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