With just a few weeks to go before your estimated due date, you will probably be on the lookout for all possible signs that may hint the onset of labor. Discharge of mucus plug or bloody show or a combination of both of these events can be considered as early signs of labor. Sometimes, these events may be accompanied by contractions as well. All these are normal occurrences in late pregnancy.
What is bloody show?
The name bloody show may sound like something scary, but it is a very common occurrence during late pregnancy in some women and nothing dangerous. Usually, the cervix is sealed with a thick mucus secretion in order to protect your baby from the microbes outside. When full term approaches, your body starts getting ready for labor, by softening the muscles and bones in your pelvis. This leads to the dilation of cervix and as it begins to open up, the mucus plug falls out and is expelled through the vagina.
Some women may notice this if the entire cervical mucus comes out at once. It is usually white and sticky and may come off as a string, which needs wiping off or pulling out with a tissue. Others may not notice this as the mucus may gets discharged in pieces over time and is completely normal too.
In some cases, the cervical mucus may appear to be brown or pinkish due to the presence of blood. The cervix is made of many blood vessels which may get damaged during the process of dilation and stretching. This causes slight bleeding, which may show up along with cervical mucus and is referred to as bloody show. It is normal to experience light bleeding in your late pregnancy. Bloody show may be accompanied with cramping and contractions in some cases. All these indicate that labor is near, but may or may not happen right away.
You may have been experiencing mild contractions every now and then throughout your pregnancy period or you may have them a few days before your due date. These Braxton Hicks contractions are totally normal and are preparing your body for labor and delivery. These contractions also help in softening the cervix, to open it up. Thereby, dislodging mucus plug when you are in your 38 or 39 weeks gestation. You must not mistake false contractions with true labor contractions. False contractions do not increase in frequency or pain. So, this means that you still have some time for true labor to occur. Know more about false labor here.
You should look out for other signs of labor when you experience bloody show. If you have uterine contractions or water breaking, then it’s time for your baby to finally show up.