Birth is Slimy
Birth Is Slimy
Birth is slimy and women are often surprised at when and what comes out of their bodies. Its yet another symptom of pregnancy seems monumental, especially as our bodies don’t feel like our own. Learn what your mother, sister, and girlfriends should have shared with you about vaginal discharge.
Many women experience increased cervical mucus discharge throughout pregnancy. Known as leucorrhea, it presents as a whitish discharge throughout pregnancy. It can be thick, sticky, and rubbery. This discharge can be copious especially at the end of the pregnancy, as the vagina is working overtime.
The vagina’s job is to keep the cervix healthy with moisture. Your natural body heat can liquefy the discharge causing it to drip out. Also, 50% of all women start with their cervix ticked back by the rectum allowing natural secretions to collect. Once the cervix aligns with the vagina this mucous discharge can be quite distinctive.
Discharge that is chunky, smelly, or has a weird color should be reported to your provider. For example, a yeast infection can present as a thick or chunky white or yellow discharge that can resemble cottage cheese.
Third-trimester spotting is usually related to having extra blood volume combined with pregnancy hormones. This combination makes it easy for tiny blood vessels to burst in the very vascular cervix. Vaginal exams and sexual penetration are common reasons for pregnancy spotting. Spotting can be delayed by 12 hours or happen immediately after irritation.
As the cervix begins to change, some of the mucous plugs may be discharged. The plug is jelly-like, being made up of mucous. It can be clear with a swirl of blood or appear to be composed of dark old blood. It can come out in bits and pieces or all at once. Not all women see their mucous plug as it is tricky. Your plug can come out weeks before labor starts, in labor, or even at the very end as it has gotten trapped up in the cervix.
Losing your mucous plug is a sign that your body is making a change but not necessarily a sign of impending labor. Your mucous plug can also regenerate, giving you the ability to enjoy it a couple of times.
Body show, unlike the mucous plug, is made up of 1 teaspoon-2+ tablespoon of blood mixed with a tiny amount of moisture. The bloody show is discharged by the cervix as it dilates (opens) and is released through the vagina. It appears like thick menstrual blood. Bloody show is normal at the end of the pregnancy. As a doula, I have noted bloody show typically shows at three distinctive times in labor: 3-4 cm dilated, 7 cm dilated, and again at the last bit of the cervix disappears in labor.
Rupture of membranes
Rupture of membranes (ROM) or amniorrhexis is when the amniotic sack has ruptured. This is also called “breaking the water” or as “water breaking.” When the bag ‘breaks’ it can break in a big gush or in a trickle, which is often confused with urine releasing. The fluids can appear clear, whitish, or even amber in color. The fluids can smell briny, or reflect the mother’s diet such as garlicky. Call your provider as soon as the membranes rupture for check-in and action plan. If the fluid is discolored or smells atypical, your provider will need to assess you. Note- the bag of waters is replenished until the baby is born as long as the mother stays hydrated.
Terms to know:
- PPROM- Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes happens in 3% of all births when the bag of waters breaks before the baby is full term
- PROM- Premature Rupture of Membranes is when the bag of waters breaks before the onset of labor
- SROM- Spontaneous Rupture of Membranes is when the bag of waters breaks on its own in labor
- AROM- Artificial Rupture of Membranes is when the provider breaks the bags of water to induce or augment labor
Postpartum bleeding is rarely talked about in childbirth classes or before birth. It is important to use maxi pads postpartum instead of tampons or prevent infection. Bleeding is very heavy the first 48 hours and then lightens to a heavy period and continues to change over the next weeks. The discharge starts as bright red blood and gradually becomes lighter and then pinky or brownish. The bleeding picks up with too much activity until it is all finished. Most women note 3 days of yellow like discharge before the lochia disappears. Lochia can continue for 4-6 weeks for most women and longer for others.
Clotting can also occur during the postpartum period. I have noted that women who clot in their normal menstrual cycle are more likely to have small clots postpartum. A simple rule of thumb for clotting is, 1-3 small clots are completely normal. A small clot is defined by anything smaller than the size of a lemon. If you have several clots, a clot larger than a lemon, or are concerned, please call your provider.