Brown Discharge After Membrane Sweep

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Towards the end of your pregnancy, your healthcare provider may perform a membrane sweep while checking your cervix for dilation. They will use gloved fingers to loosen the baby’s bag of water (amniotic sac) from your uterus. This is done to encourage labor but can also cause some bleeding because your cervix is filled with blood vessels. This slight bleeding is called the bloody show; it’s when a small amount of blood and mucus is released from the vagina and would look different for everyone. It could be red, brown, or pink and may even contain all or parts of the mucus plug.

What does bloody show indicate?

This could mean that labor is coming soon. You have to make sure that what you are experiencing is a bloody show and not bleeding that could lead to complications.

It shouldn’t produce more than a teaspoon of a jelly-like, stringy texture discharge. If you notice otherwise, please consult your doctor or your healthcare provider right away to avoid complications with your baby’s delivery.

The time between the bloody show and labor vary since every pregnancy is different. It is best to contact your healthcare provider or doctor and let them know what you are feeling.

The bloody show means your cervix is dilating in preparation for labor which might come in the next few hours, or a few days away.

Signs of bloody show

A pregnant woman is sitting down because her back is hurting her.

Some pregnant women would hardly notice that they already had a bloody show and would feel the labor signs starting. It is because, in some cases, the discharge is so light and gradual it’s virtually undetected. Other women might also feel some labor symptoms with the bloody show.

  • Pelvic pressure – you may experience pressure in your pelvis, vagina, or back. This is because the baby drops down from your abdomen and most of the weight is now pressing on your pelvic area.
  • Cramps – this may feel like pressure, stretching, or pulling, you might start to feel cramps closely similar to your period cramps that would come and go over the course of hours or it could even last for days.
  • Contractions – it is when the muscles of your uterus tighten up like a fist and then relax. Contractions help push your baby out. When you’re in true labor, your contractions last about 30 to 70 seconds and come about 5 to 10 minutes apart. They’re so strong that you can’t walk or talk during them.


What are the risks of a membrane sweep?

If done properly and carefully, there is no risk in doing a membrane sweep, but you might feel a little discomfort and might experience slight bleeding or discharge after the procedure. A membrane sweep would not be performed if you have a vaginal infection, as this could spread the infection.

Do you lose your mucus plug after a membrane sweep?

Yes, a successful membrane sweep can lead to a ‘show’ or losing your mucus plug. The mucus plug is a sticky, cervical mucus that blocks the cervix during pregnancy to prevent infection.

It acts as a barrier and can keep unwanted bacteria and other sources of infection from traveling into your uterus.

How long does brown discharge last after a membrane sweep?

This could last for up to 3 days. This bleeding can be reddish, pink, or brown and may be mixed with mucus. Spotting and cramping after membrane sweeping are normal.


During every pregnancy, it might feel like we worry about everything, from the small to the big steps and symptoms, and that’s completely normal. We are trying to keep our babies safe and healthy, so it is pretty understandable to worry and ask questions when it gets confusing.

After all, it is better to be safe than sorry, especially with a baby on the way. It is always best to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider if you are in doubt.

I hope this article helped you in any way; please feel free to leave us a comment if you want to share your own experience or if you have questions regarding this topic. Stay happy and healthy!

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Eunice Alexis Rae Barbosa
I write about the topics that matter most to me, mental and physical health. Learning along the way and constantly seeking new facets to improve and be better as a mom and as a woman, healing and reinventing myself as much as I see fit. You'll find me burrowed in books or journaling my heart out in between the storms and stillness of this beautiful thing called life.

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