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Rupturing membranes

One of the first signs of labor starting is the appearance of a mucus plug, or what is sometimes called a bloody show. The bloody show is the discharge of a small amount of pinkish mucus that formed the barrier between the uterus and vagina during pregnancy. Shortly after the bloody show, another important event occurs: the amniotic sac ruptures and amniotic fluid begins to trickle out of the uterus and vagina. For some women, it can actually gush out in a stream. The rupturing of the amniotic sac, which surrounds and protects the baby, is commonly referred to as the water breaking. The combination of contractions, the bloody show, and water breaking indicates the first phase of labor starting.

Rupturing membranes

Review Date: 11/12/2021

Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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