Discharge during pregnancy is the body’s own cleansing mechanism that removes dead cells and bacteria to keep the vagina clean and healthy. This is a common occurrence in pregnancy. You can find more information below.
About vaginal discharge during pregnancy
In this article, you will find answers to all the following questions about vaginal discharge during pregnancy:
- What is vaginal discharge during pregnancy, what does it mean?
- Is vaginal discharge normal during pregnancy?
- What are the types of vaginal discharge during pregnancy?
- What causes pregnant vaginal discharge?
- When is vaginal discharge during pregnancy a serious condition?
- How to treat vaginal discharge during pregnancy?
- How to prevent vaginal discharge during pregnancy?
Like the colors of discharge during pregnancy, pregnancy can be accompanied by some wonderful and scary experiences. When the body changes rapidly and the hormones kick in, you may experience many unpleasant reactions in your body. One of them is the fluids and discharges in the vagina. There are many possible causes of vaginal discharge during early pregnancy.
What is vaginal discharge during pregnancy?
The increase in hormones causes increased estrogen levels in the body and extra blood flow to the vagina. Vaginal discharge during pregnancy includes normal secretions from the vagina as well as from the normal bacterial flora and old vaginal cells from the vaginal walls. The amount and frequency of discharge is different for every woman.
Is vaginal discharge normal during pregnancy?
Almost all women have vaginal discharge during pregnancy. This is quite normal and happens for a number of reasons.
During pregnancy, the cervix (neck of the womb) and vaginal walls soften and the discharge increases to help prevent infections that travel from the vagina to the uterus. Towards the end of pregnancy, the amount of discharge increases further and may be mixed with urine.
You may have thick mucus and some blood streaks in your discharge during the last week of your pregnancy. This condition is common and happens when the mucus on your cervix clears during pregnancy. It is a sign that your body is starting to prepare for childbirth, and such things are considered normal in the days before birth.
Increased discharge during pregnancy is a normal part of pregnancy, but it is important to be mindful of this and to see and inform your doctor or midwife regularly.
Types of vaginal discharge during pregnancy
Pregnancy is a time of change. As your baby grows inside you, not only does your body shape change, but so does your hormones.
The color, consistency, and amount of discharge you produce depends a lot on your hormone levels. As your hormones change during your pregnancy, the color of your discharge also changes.
1- Yellow discharge during pregnancy
Yellow discharge during pregnancy is usually a sign of infection and should always be checked out by a doctor. It could be a yeast infestation or vaginosis, a disruption of the bacterial balance in the vagina. A foul-smelling yellowish discharge during pregnancy can also cause accompanying itching or burning in the genital area and should be clarified by a doctor.
There is no danger to your unborn child from such an infection, but the infection should still be treated. Because, although rare, some infections can lead to pregnancy-related complications.
2- Brown discharge during pregnancy
This type of discharge scares pregnant women the most that there may be a problem with them or their baby. Brown discharge during pregnancy is often slimy in consistency and is usually completely harmless.
During pregnancy, your cervix is particularly sensitive due to hormone fluctuations and increased blood flow. This means it can bleed easily during intercourse or a gynecological exam, so you’ll notice brown discharge on your underwear later on.
In rare cases, brown discharge during pregnancy can be a sign of a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. In this case, the brown discharge is accompanied by pain and cramps. Therefore, as a precaution, it is a good idea to see your doctor as soon as possible to make sure everything is okay.
3- Green discharge during pregnancy
A greenish discharge, often accompanied by itching or a foul odor, is a sign of infection and should be examined by a doctor immediately. Greenish color may indicate viruses, bacteria or fungi. Your doctor can explain which infection or STD it is. Your doctor will make the diagnosis and find the appropriate treatment.
4- White discharge during pregnancy
Hormonal fluctuations in your body produce increased discharge that can range in color from clear to milky white. This is sometimes a slimy or cheesy discharge and is completely normal. White discharge during pregnancy usually appears as your body creates an additional barrier between your growing fetus and the outside world to protect it against infection.
5- Slimy discharge during pregnancy
A few days before the expected due date, many women notice a slimy discharge in their underwear. This is a sign of imminent birth and therefore nothing to worry about.
During pregnancy, the mucus plug blocks the way to the cervix and protects the uterus from germs and bacteria. A few days before birth, the cervix opens slightly, the mucus plug loosens, and mucus leaks out. Sometimes there’s a little blood on it, but that’s nothing to worry about either.
Causes of vaginal discharge during pregnancy
Besides high estrogen levels, there are other causes of discharge that pregnant women may experience.
Some of these are listed under the following headings:
1- Estrogen dominance
High estrogen levels mean a greater amount of vaginal discharge during pregnancy. Other factors that lead to an increase in estrogen levels can be excess body fat, stress, a low fiber diet or even a weak immune system and hence vaginal discharge during pregnancy.
If estrogen dominance is the cause of abnormal vaginal discharge, your doctor may prescribe medication.
2. Fungal infections
Yeast infections are common in the second trimester because hormones affect the vaginal condition. Yeast infections called Candida albicans grow in the body. This results in a thick white, foul-smelling discharge, vaginal itching, redness, and swelling of the vulva.
The color of the discharge can vary for each woman, and your doctor may prescribe medications to eliminate the infection that will not harm your baby.
3. Bacterial vainosis
Bacterial vaginosis occurs when the balance between the good and bad bacteria of the vaginal flora is disturbed. The good bacteria fight the bad bacteria, but if the bad bacteria outweigh the good ones, it will lead to bacterial vaginosis and you may experience different colored discharge during pregnancy.
This condition is manifested by a yellow-green, dense and foul-smelling discharge, accompanied by itching and swelling. Such a condition can cause premature birth, low baby weight, and some post-pregnancy infections if not treated in time.
4. Sexually transmitted diseases
Sexually transmitted diseases, the most common cause of abnormal discharge, are a very high risk for mother and child. Failure to treat vaginal diseases in a timely manner can result in premature birth and even low birth weight of the baby. That’s why you should pay attention to such situations and consult your doctor at the slightest doubt.
Syphilis , gonorrhea and chlamydia are a few of the sexual diseases. If you suspect such a condition, you may need to be tested for STDs.
5. Leakage of amniotic fluid
Some discharge during pregnancy may be amniotic fluid. If you are still far from giving birth, you may be leaking amniotic fluid prematurely. If you are close to your due date, your birth water may be leaking.
In either case, the discharge will be very light yellow (or a yellowish tint), thin or watery, and come out as a drop or little more. It may also smell sweet or have no scent at all.
These are possible causes of some discharge during pregnancy. Sometimes, you may have discharge not because of any infection, but also because of wearing uncomfortable panties or using unhygienic products.
However, if the discharge is abnormal and you have symptoms such as itching, bad odor and vaginal pain, you should see a doctor. Medical tests help diagnose the condition and the doctor recommends the necessary treatment.
When should you see a doctor?
You should notify your doctor if your vaginal discharge condition increases a lot during pregnancy. If you have any vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, you should consult your doctor immediately. Because sometimes it can be a sign of a more serious problem, such as a miscarriage or a problem with the placenta.
You should report this to your doctor if you experience the following:
- If streams of different colors are constantly coming
- The discharge is especially blood-colored
- If it smells weird
- If you feel itchy or painful
- If you experience abnormal stomach pain
Healthy vaginal discharge should be clear and white or yellowish and should not have an unpleasant odor. If the discharge is colored, smells strange, feels itchy or painful, you may have a vaginal infection.
The most common infection is thrush, which your doctor can easily treat. You should not use thrush remedies during pregnancy. You should always talk to your doctor if you think you have thrush.
You can help prevent thrush by wearing loose cotton underwear. Some women say it’s fine to avoid perfumed soaps or perfumed bath products.
Vaginal discharge treatment during pregnancy
Yeast infections are treated with antifungal tablets, creams, ointments or suppositories. Bacterial and sexually transmitted infections are treated with antibiotics that are considered safe during pregnancy.
The duration of treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms. The sooner you get treatment, the less chance of infection causing complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease.
Even if you follow the course of treatment, it is good to take care at home to deal with the infection and to prevent some negative situations to come.
Preventing vaginal discharge during pregnancy
The following measures help reduce and also prevent the discomfort associated with abnormal vaginal discharge during pregnancy:
- Wear panty liners to absorb discharge and stay dry.
- Keep the vaginal area healthy by wiping from front to back after urination and bowel movements.
- Wash your genitals with mild soap and dry them.
- Avoid hot tubs and showers as they can alter normal bacteria levels and increase yeast infections.
- Avoid scented soaps and toilet paper, hygiene sprays and tight panties.
- For added comfort, wear cotton and clean panties.
- Do not use chemicals to wash the area.
- If the vagina is itchy, control the urge to scratch as it can make the condition worse.
- Avoid stress by doing yoga and meditation.
Basic hygiene, plenty of sleep, a healthy diet, and drinking water often are not only good for vaginal health, but also for your overall health.
Most women have vaginal discharge during pregnancy. Therefore, it is important to know when it is normal and when it is not.
If you suspect a vaginal infection, be sure to see a doctor. Watch out for abnormal discharge symptoms with pregnancy and work with your doctor to avoid complications.
If you have any experiences you’d like to share, let us know in the comments section below.