Pregnancy discharge: what’s normal? what’s not?
If you’ve never been pregnant, you probably assume that the growing belly, weird cravings, and casual spitting are the only changes taking place.
If you’ve been pregnant, you know that pregnancy is a time of many changes.
One of the most notable changes in a pregnant woman is various changes in vaginal discharge. These changes are in the form of consistency, color, thickness, amount, and how often it occurs.
These changes are brought about by an increase in hormones (estrogen) and vaginal blood flow.
In medical terms, pregnancy discharge is known as leukorrhea.
It is important to be keen on these changes since while some are normal, some need medical attention.
One of the earliest and commonest signs of pregnancy is an increase in vaginal discharge. Most women will experience an increase in discharge. Some changes normal, while others may be a sign of an infection or another problem.
Most pregnant women will have sticky, white, or pale-yellow mucus in early pregnancy and throughout their pregnancy. One of the benefits of the increase in discharge is that it prevents infections from travelling to the womb.
In early pregnancy, you may notice that your vaginal discharge is brown or pink and this is often a sign of implantation breeding. Nothing to worry about.
As the pregnancy progresses, you may notice spotting (light bleeding). You may also notice the spotting after sex or after having your pelvic exam.
In the last few days of pregnancy, you may notice that your discharge is thick and has some blood. This happens because your body is starting to prepare for birth. You may notice this too in the days leading up to delivery.
The vagina discharge may have a mild smell or remain odorless.
If you have concerns, it is advisable that you talk to your doctor.
Related: Is my vaginal discharge normal?
What’s not normal?
While an increase in discharge is normal in pregnancy, it is important to monitor it closely so that you can contact your doctor or midwife in a timely manner in case it looks unusual.
Talk to your doctor if:
- Your discharge is yellowish, gray, greenish or thick, lumpy, and cheesy
- You have heavy bleeding as this could be a sign of a miscarriage
- Your vagina has a foul, strange, or fishy odor
- Your vagina and/or vulva burns or itches
- It burns when you urinate
- Sex is painful
- Your discharge seems unusual in any way
Tips on how to handle the discharge
There’s nothing that you can really do to stop the vaginal discharge but you can do some things to manage it.
- Stay clean. Bathe regularly and wear panties with breathable fabric.
- Wear pads and panty liner
- Don’t douche
- Do not use wipes in an effort to ‘deep-clean.’ Your vagina does a very good job at cleaning itself
- Avoid perfumed soaps and products in and around your vagina
Do you have any questions about vaginal discharge during pregnancy?