Brown Discharge During Third Trimester

Cynthia Flynn's picture


Dear Midwife,
My wife is 23 weeks pregnant and she has been having a mucus discharge that is thick and brownish pink color. The doctor do not know what it is or what is causing it.

My wife is concerned that it's her mucus plug and that she may be starting the labor process. She lost her last child 7 weeks into her second pregnancy.

What can this be?


You may be right that it is the mucus plug. Even if you are, that does not necessarily mean that labor is imminent, as some women seem to have an abundant supply of the mucus, and it just keeps coming out. We don't know what causes this, if that's even what's going on.

If you are having intercourse, another possibility is that it is a combination of semen and old blood from a broken capillary, which is not dangerous at all.

Finally, there is a possibility that it is an infection, but I'm assuming that a lab test has already been done and found to be negative.

If her doctor is concerned about pre-term labor, s/he will probably order an ultrasound to measure her cervical length. As long as her cervix doesn't get really short, everything is probably ok.

-- Cynthia, CNM. PhD.