Bloody show

During pregnancy, the opening to your uterus (cervix) is blocked by a thick plug of mucus. This plug forms a barrier between your cervix and vagina so that bacteria can't enter your uterus and cause an infection. A few weeks, days or hours before labor begins, this plug is sometimes discharged, and you may have what health care providers call bloody show. You may notice a small amount of blood-tinged, brownish mucus leaking from your vagina. Some women don't notice the loss of this plug. Bloody show may be a sign that things could happen soon, although labor may still be a week or more away.

Will eating spicy foods start labor?

Most pregnant women have heard of at least one folk remedy for starting labor. You may have heard that one of the following will help get labor going as your due date nears:

• Frequent walking • Driving on a bumpy road

• Exercising • Being frightened

• Using a laxative • Consuming castor oil

• Stimulating your nipples • Drinking herbal tea

• Eating spicy foods

Is there any truth to any of these old wives' tales? A few such folk remedies have some basis in science. Nipple stimulation can cause uterine contractions, similar to what happens when a baby breast-feeds right after birth. It's biologically plausible that sex might trigger contractions because semen contains substances similar to those used in labor-inducing medications. These facts don't mean that your health care provider will advise that you try either of these methods. In fact, he or she may advise against sex in your ninth month of pregnancy to avoid intrauterine infections, and nipple stimulation could stimulate contractions that are long and hard enough to harm the baby.

Most folk remedies aren't based in science and simply don't work. Some are even ill-advised. For example, fasting really isn't good for you or the baby. Is there anything you can do to get labor going? Not really. Just be patient and let Mother Nature takes its course.

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