What is the bloody show?

The term ‘bloody show’ might sound intimidating, but for many women, bloody show is an exciting sign that labor is on its way.

What is the bloody show?

‘Bloody show’ refers to the blood-tinged mucus that falls from the cervix during early labor. This mucus is generally part of the mucus plug, which is a compact piece of mucus located at the opening of the cervix. It acts as a barrier between outside bacteria and the developing fetus inside the uterus, and it gets released as the cervix softens in preparation for birth.

When the body starts preparing for labor and the cervix begins to soften, the mucus plug, which has protected the uterus from bacteria through pregnancy, loosens and eventually falls out. Some women experience the plug falling out all at once, in a single compact ‘chunk’ of mucus. Others report clumps of it falling out over an extended time period. Either is completely normal and healthy, and doesn’t hurt or even feel like much at all. Mucus from the mucus plug usually has blood in it, and it so the mucus and its bloody appearance is referred to as bloody show.

What does bloody show signify?

While bloody show means that the body is preparing for labor, a woman can go into labor days or even weeks after she has bloody show. Some women go into labor almost immediately after they experience bloody show, while others take a bit longer. The bloody show isn’t necessarily an indication that a woman is in labor, but it’s still best to call your provider if you notice any blood or blood-tinged mucus. 

If you have any questions about this, speak to your healthcare provider as they will be able to discuss more about bloody show and its significance.

Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team


  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Signs of labor: Know what to expect.” MayoClinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Jun 18 2016. Web.
  • “How to tell when Labor Begins.” ACOG. FAQ004 from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, May 2011. Web.
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