Almost all the pregnant women get worried when they notice some bloody discharge. Perhaps it is because they aren't sure whether it means that they are about to deliver soon, whether it is just a normal side-effect of their current state, or whether it means there is something wrong with their baby. Well, actually, bloody discharge during last stages of pregnancy can be a sign of the bloody show which is quite normal.
What Does Bloody Show Look Like?
Bloody show is a term that refers to vaginal bleeding at the end of gestation. As for the color of the blood, it can be brown, pink, or very bright red, with the last one being the most common.
If the bloody discharge develops automatically during the last stage of pregnancy, the chance that it is actually bloody show is very high.
What Does It Mean When I See Bloody Show?
Well, it means that you are about to deliver your baby into the world! During the last stages of pregnancy, a woman's cervix becomes softer, which leads to the breakage of capillaries around it and thus bloody show occurs.
Although the bloody show means that the labor is near, it doesn't necessarily mean the labor will start soon. Every woman is different. While some give birth to their babies within 24 hours after noticing bloody show, some give birth a couple of days later.
The number of kids you've had before also affects the occurrence of bloody show. Women who are about to deliver their first child are more prone to having it before the labor, and even a couple of days before it; those who have the experience of delivery don't develop bloody shows until full dilation, in which case they can expect to deliver within the next 24 hours.
What to Do If You See Bloody Show?
If you are experiencing early symptoms of labor such as bloody show, there are a couple of things that you can do to prepare yourself for it.
Get enough rest since the process of labor takes a lot of energy. Stimulate the production of oxytocin, the so-call ''feel-good'' hormone that makes the whole process easier and more natural by meditating, breathing properly, and relaxing as much as possible.
When to See a Doctor
After you know "What does bloody show look like?", you may want to see your midwife after noticing it to make sure that everything is okay. However, you don't need to do so in a hurry; wait until you start having regular contractions. If you do not have other signs of going into labor, talk to your midwife, and if you notice a lot of bright-red blood, you must call her immediately to rule out any possible danger. Call your OB if you are having bloody show and are experiencing following symptoms at the same time:
- Your cervical mucus plug gets released before 36th week of the pregnancy.
- You are dealing with painful cramps.
- You are having other symptoms that you think are strange.
An abnormal amount of bleeding could indicate that you have developed placental abruption or placenta previa, which are both serious conditions that you must seek immediate medical help. However, if you aren't experiencing any symptoms that point out that something is wrong, just lay back, relax and watch out for other signs of near labor.
Other Mothers' Experience About Bloody Show
"As I have never had a child before, I wasn't sure 'What does bloody show look like, or what does it mean?' However, once I have noticed a large amount of stretchy, pink mucus that wouldn't stop, I knew that I was about to deliver. I started having the bloody show at 1 am in the morning, and my contractions started soon after. I gave birth the next day at 4 am."
"My discharge wasn't bright red, but rather brownish and sticky. It started 2 weeks before I gave birth."
"My son came into the world 6 hours after I have first noticed the stretchy, reddish-pinkish mucus."
Are There Other Labor Signs, Besides the Bloody Show?
1. Your Braxton Hicks Contractions Increase
Those false contractions that you might have been experiencing for the last couple of weeks will become more painful and frequent towards the labor. While at first, they felt like regular menstrual cramps, now you can feel them in your whole abdomen.
Once the Braxton Hicks contractions start becoming so frequent that you can count them, get ready for the hospital as you are most probably going into labor.
2. Your Baby Drops
This phenomenon is especially noticeable if this is your first gestation. Basically, while you got used to your baby being just under your ribs, now you will notice that it has moved into your pelvis. This will allow you to breathe easier; however, having the baby there will make your abdomen feel heavier.
3. Your Water Breaks
What does bloody show look like? Now you know the answer and know that it means you are about to give birth. What are other signs of labor? Actually, once your water has broken, regardless of whether you've had a bloody show or not, you must deliver the baby within 24 hours. When the water has broken, a large amount of clear fluid will come out of your vagina. You could be experiencing contractions prior to this, but you could also have no contractions, whatsoever, in which case, you are going into labor.
4. Changes in the Cervix
Your gynecologist will notice that your cervix has softened up a couple of weeks prior to the end of your pregnancy. Your cervix could also have dilated a little, especially if you aren't with your first child, in which case it could open up to two centimeters before labor.
However, if this is your first pregnancy, there's a fair chance that you will dilate only one centimeter upon reaching the term and won't be giving birth for a couple of days. That's why undergoing an exam is important at this time, as it helps your doctor estimate when you will be going into labor.
5. Other Signs
There are a couple of other symptoms that could indicate that you are reaching labor, and they include diarrhea, frequent urination, as well as pain in your back.