Bloody Mucus Plug But No Braxton Hicks – When To Expect Labor?
Many people want to know exactly what day and time their baby is going to be born. It’s just human nature to want to know when the new bundle of joy is going to arrive. Some women try to use signs that the body provides in order to predict when labor begins. And, some occurrences during late pregnancy can provide clues into the progression of gestation towards delivery. But, it’s not an exact science, and nothing about mucus color or Braxton Hicks contractions is going to preemptively identify when labor will begin. But, that doesn’t keep anxious mothers-to-be from trying to piece together clues from a bloody mucus plug in hopes that it can provide labor indications.
The “bloody show” is a phrase used to describe the plug that seals the cervical canal, according to BabyCenter.com. Essentially, it’s comprised of mucus that is much thicker than that which is found elsewhere, and this is because its function is to provide protection. Typically, the bloody show presents itself as a single lump, or a heavy increase in discharge that can occur over a period of a couple of days. Most of the time, visible blood in cervical mucus is evident, presenting as pink or red or even brown in color, which is what gives the event the name “bloody show”. In many cases, labor can begin shortly after the appearance of the bloody show. But, that is definitely not always the case.
For instance, the bloody mucus plug can be disturbed well before labor is coming which can mimic the symptoms of the bloody show without the actual plug being passed. Sexual intercourse or an exam of the vagina can lead to a bloody mucus discharge resulting from disruption of the plug. This discharge is often pink to red in color and can occur over a period of a couple of days. Depending on how close to full term the pregnancy is, Braxton Hicks contractions may or may not be present. These two symptoms together can be characteristic of false labor.
The passing of the bloody mucus plug does in fact most often signal soon to come labor. But, nothing about the mucus plug provides much information other than an inkling to be prepared. While the color is most often pink or red tinged, a clear mucus plug with only subtle streaks can occur as well. Nothing about the color, consistency or timing provides any true indication as to when labor will begin.
Braxton Hicks contractions can occur right alongside the bloody mucus plug, and the two together can certainly be an indicator that labor and delivery are near. However, Braxton Hicks contractions can often start weeks ahead of actual delivery. And, when the mucus plug is disturbed and produces some preemptive bloody mucus, it’s not uncommon for expectant mothers to think that the onset of labor is near. Most often however, whether or not Braxton Hicks contractions are present, Whattoexpect.com mentions that the passage of the bloody mucus plug typically means that delivery will occur within a few days, but potentially as swiftly as a few hours.
The body produces many signs that the body is preparing for delivery. The most obvious of course is the breaking of the water or, amniotic sac. This is a relatively surefire indicator because when it occurs, labor most often follows very shortly thereafter. However, while less definite clues, a bloody mucus plug with or without accompanying Braxton Hicks Contractions can at least prove to be a visible sign that cervical changes are happening. Dilation and effacing which signal the onset of the body’s preparation for baby delivery occur following the loss of the mucus plug, meaning that anxious mommies can begin to prepare to meet their new little bundle of joy.
Whattoexpect.com explains that the passage of the bloody mucus plug is an indicator to start waiting for labor to begin. While something signaling the start of the waiting process (when most new moms obviously have been waiting for just about nine whole months already) may seem odd, it can be a very good thing. It can put moms on high alert to be prepared for the other signs of beginning labor, which may or may not include Braxton Hicks contractions.