Bloody Show: What Is It, and What Does It Mean?

When you hear about seeing a “bloody show” at the end of your pregnancy, it sounds as if you are in for something dramatic and gory. But it’s not dangerous or necessarily a sign that something has gone wrong; and in fact, many women never experience it.

The “bloody show” actually refers to the release of a blood-tinged mucous plug from your cervix when your body is ready for labor. The mucous plug has been there throughout your pregnancy to block the opening to your cervical canal and prevent bacteria from entering. It is called a “bloody show” because the mucous plug is sometimes tinged with blood; which can mean that it is red, pink, or brown in color. The blood is caused by tiny blood vessels rupturing as your cervix begins to thin and dilate.

For some women, the mucous plug comes out gradually over a few days, and they never realize what is happening. Other women see the mucous plug but no blood. Whether you see it or not, you should not be alarmed. The release of the mucous plug is just one sign of your body preparing for labor.

What should you do if you see a bloody show?

If you do see a “bloody show” does it mean it’s time to head to the hospital? Not necessarily. Your body is clearly preparing for labor, but it could be hours, or even weeks before you are ready to deliver. However, you should call your doctor if:

  • Your mucous plug is released less than 36 weeks into your pregnancy;
  • You see bright red bleeding, or more than a tablespoon of blood;
  • You are feeling painful cramps;
  • You are feeling strong and regular contractions that are coming every four to five minutes; or
  • The bloody show is accompanied by any other unusual or painful symptoms.

It is especially important that you watch out for excessive bleeding. Bleeding is an important symptom of placenta previa or placental abruption, serious conditions that require immediate medical attention.

Otherwise, if you have passed your mucus plug, you should simply try to relax and monitor your symptoms and any contractions carefully. Now is the time to enjoy your last few hours or days of relative quiet before your big day – and your new little bundle of joy – arrives.

Average: 3.5 (51 votes)


By avfcgal on 10/26/11 at 9:43 am

i am 38 weeks pregnant tomorrow and i just lost my mucus plug today, i been having really bad cramps on and off,

By onuh on 10/07/11 at 3:01 pm

I'm just 36 weeks and I found it difficult to work, I'm having serious pain in my low pevix

By venangel on 03/21/11 at 9:55 pm

I am 34 weeks and just lost my mucous plug the dr said not to worry about it and just watch for contractions for 2 hours like I had the other day and my  ...

4 comments so far » read more

Sign in to leave a comment!

Today on JustMommies

Bottle-feeding Basics (Sponsored)

When it comes to bottle-feeding, it's all about the nipple. Starting your baby on a bottle can be baffling. Luckily, here are a few tips that will help your newborn begin feeding like a pro.

Dealing with Your Child's Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a normal part of a baby's development, and nearly all children will experience it to some degree

4 Ways to Get Your Kids to Do Their Homework

Getting your kids to do their homework is a battle that has been waged for as long as homework has existed.

Swing into Spring

After a long, dreary winter, there's nothing like taking in the fresh air outdoors come spring.


From the Message Boards

Due Date Club of September 2014

Baby Food

I know this is super far off yet, but: When will you introduce solids? What will you start with? Wi...

Due Date Club of October 2014

I can't get out of bed

I have no idea what is wrong with me and I am hoping it is just gas pains. I stand up and just doubl...

Due Date Club of September 2014

Cloth or disposables?

..diapers, that is! What will you be using? Brands? Wipes? I will be using disposables until LO is...

Pregnancy and Motherhood After Loss

Gas from Bottles

anybody's else have a little one who gets gas from bottles? I bought Christian some tommee tippee b...

Due Date Club of September 2014

Breast? Formula? Bottle?

What's everyone *planning* on doing? My plan is to EBF again. I had very few issues with DD, and pr...

» Check out the friendliest message board for moms and moms-to-be!