I asked folks to “Toss Me a Birth-Related Word” on my Navelgazing Midwife Facebook Page and “Mucous” was the first word. Here, I’ll use the word as a springboard from which to jump.
I’ve written about “gloppies” (my nickname for mucous in birth) before, but thought I’d write about how gloppies clearly demonstrate how far a woman is in labor. I’m sure there are exceptions, but they would be extremely rare. I’ve talked to nurses and other midwives about this so have more info than just mine.
When a woman advances in labor, her mucous gets more and more copious. Personally, I have never seen a woman over 6 centimeters who didn’t have gloppies. When I meet up with a mom who looks like she’s in kick-ass labor… even if she smells in labor (another topic)… if she doesn’t have gloppies, she invariably turns out to be under 4 centimeters. I came to be able to tell if a woman was in progressing labor (as opposed to prodromal labor) by her gloppiness.
Of course, you have to be near the vagina in order to see how much there is.
And the closer to birth, the bloodier the mucous. I don’t mean bright red blood, but more period-blood looking, mixed with the mucous. I’ve asked women if they have to wipe two or three times when they call with “really hard” contractions. Not that I don’t go if they don’t, but lets me know if I need to run or not.
There is a seemingly endless supply of mucous because, well, this is an endless supply. Just like when we have a cold, mucous is made until the cold is over, the same with birth mucous. It’s just made until birth is over. I always wondered about the two kinds… are they similar in make-up? What’s different? What makes one when we’re sick and then other when we’re birthing?
Things I think about.