Mercy Health System

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What is ...?

A contraction?

Your uterus is comprised of many muscles. To stay in shape, these muscles need to contract and relax, so that when the baby is due, they will be in shape to do their job. Uterine muscles tighten irregularly from about four weeks of pregnancy on. These are called Braxton-Hicks contractions. They differ from labor contractions because they do not tend to be regular, and they don’t get stronger as time goes on.

Try this:

  • Continue your regular activities. Walking may be helpful.
  • If you are uncomfortable, try to relax from head to toe.
  • Try a warm bath.
  • Generally, Braxton-Hicks contractions can be relieved by a change in position.
  • If contractions are persistent (less than 10 minutes apart), becoming stronger and do not go away, no matter what you try, follow your doctor’s directions.

A mucus plug?

This is a jelly-like discharge that may be pinkish in color. It comes from the opening of the uterus, also known as the cervix, and is dislodged toward the end of pregnancy. It is normal to pass this plug and is nothing to worry about, unless there is also bright red blood. It can be passed up to two weeks before delivery. Many women do not notice loss of the plug.

Rupture of membranes?

The rupture of membranes, also known as breaking of the bag of water, may be a sudden gush or a slow leak from the vagina. The fluid is usually clear or straw-colored, but could be greenish in color.

Once the bag of water has ruptured, you cannot do anything to stop the flow as you can with the flow of urine. (Note the time of leaking or rupture.) If your bag of water breaks, call your doctor or your labor and delivery department for instructions.


This disease that only affects pregnant women. Some symptom are a rise in blood pressure that is detected in a routine office visit, swelling of the feet and hands, large and rapid weight gain, visual changes, headache or pain under your right breast. The only cure is to deliver the baby.

Until the baby is mature enough to be born, your doctor may advise you to restrict your salt intake, rest with your feet elevated, or rest as much as you can in bed on your left side. He may also order non-stress tests to see how the baby is dealing with the change in the internal environment.


Toxoplasmosis is a flu-like illness caused by a parasite that is contracted by eating raw red meat or handling cat waste products. Fortunately, it is easy to minimize your chances of exposure, and there are tests that your doctor can do if this is a suspected problem. If you have a cat, avoid cleaning the litter box. Always thoroughly cook the meat you eat.

New Generations Birthing Center – Janesville

At Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center
1000 Mineral Point Ave.
Janesville, WI 53548
Driving directions
(608) 756-6000  •  (800) 756-4147


New Generations Birthing Center – Lake Geneva

At Mercy Walworth Hospital and Medical Center
Hwys. 50 and 67, N2950 State Road 67
Lake Geneva, WI 53147
Driving directions
(262) 245-0535  •  (877) 893-5503

Serving the communities of Walworth County including: Lake Geneva, Delavan, Elkhorn and Williams Bay.