Complications associated with brown discharge during pregnancy
Brown discharge can occasionally signal more serious problems, including an impending miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy, issues with the placenta, or an infection of the cervix or uterus, whether you are pregnant or not. These conditions are usually accompanied by other symptoms.
Contact your doctor right away if the discharge ever changes to bright red spotting or bleeding, turns gray, or if you experience back pain, rapid uterine contractions, abdominal cramping, or tenderness.
As a person with a vagina, you get used to vaginal discharge happening seemingly out of the blue. Maybe it means your period is coming, or that you’re ovulating, or maybe it just means you’re human. But when you’re pregnant, every gush of fluid could be important, especially when you’re nearing the 40-week mark. In your third trimester, you may be wondering, is brown discharge a sign of labor? Read on to find out what experts say.
The more obvious signs of labor will vary from person to person and from pregnancy to pregnancy, but they include back or lower abdominal pain, membrane rupture, fatigue, diarrhea, and vomiting. It’s best to seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms, including the brown, bloody discharge, advises Gaither. Your contractions may feel stronger than those from a Braxton Hicks contraction if labor is progressing, according to Sekhon. Your water might not break like in the movies, but it might.
Like so much about pregnancy, the answer to this question isn’t totally universal for every person. “It is quite possible that a bloody or brownish mucoid discharge may be a sign that the cervix is dilating and the mucus plug may be in the process of being expelled,” Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG, double board-certified in OB/GYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine, Director of Perinatal Services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln tells Romper. But if you see some brownish or rust-colored discharge when you wipe or on your underwear, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to pack your hospital bag and prepare to give birth within a day or two.
“It is not uncommon to experience all sorts of discharge near the end of pregnancy,” Megan Davidson, a Brooklyn-based doula and author of Your Birth Plan, tells Romper. “The mucus plug, for example, can begin to come out as discharge when your cervix is starting to change in preparation for birth. I’ve had clients lose parts of their mucus plug for weeks before labor and this is normal.”
According to Natalie Nix, CNM, MSN, a Certified Nurse Midwife at Roswell OB/GYN in Atlanta, Georgia, who previously spoke to Romper, “An increase in vaginal discharge is common in pregnancy.” She continued, “This is how the vagina keeps itself clean in preparation for labor,” but it can still be unsettling, particularly when tinged with brown that resembles blood. Discharge is typically nothing to worry about, but always consult your doctor or nurse if it’s accompanied by pain or cramping or if something doesn’t feel right.
Will doing a membrane sweep cause a bloody show?
A sweeping of your membranes can cause a bloody show. If the membrane sweep is successful, your cervix will begin to dilate. This could cause a bloody show. Additionally, the irritation of the cervix could result in blood. Healthcare professionals have different opinions on membrane sweeping, and it is not always done.