Labor is often preceded by the appearance of a bloody discharge from the vagina. This discharge is actually the mucous plug that blocks the entrance to the cervix.
This mucous plug has spent the last nine months protecting your baby from infection. Now that the mucous plug is gone, your baby can begin to move down into the birth canal.
This plug is often referred to as a bloody show, as it looks like it is tinged with blood. It can be dark brown or red in appearance. Once this plug has appeared, labor can occur at any time, although it could still be days away.
Dilation of the Cervix
Once you begin labor, your cervix will become softer and thinner than usual. This is referred to as effacement. Your cervix will also begin to dilate to accommodate the size of your baby.
You probably won't notice that your cervix is dilating or that you are becoming effaced. Your health care provider will notice this effacement during your pelvic exam.
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