Vaginal discharge during pregnancy | Pregnancy Birth and Baby
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All women, whether they’re pregnant or not, have some vaginal discharge starting a year or 2 before puberty and ending after the menopause. How much discharge you have changes from time to time and it usually gets heavier just before your period.
Is it normal to have vaginal discharge in pregnancy?
Almost all women have more vaginal discharge in pregnancy. This is quite normal and happens for a few reasons. During pregnancy the cervix (neck of the womb) and vaginal walls get softer and discharge increases to help prevent any infections travelling up from the vagina to the womb. Increased levels of the hormones progesterone can also make you produce more fluid.
Increased discharge is a normal part of pregnancy, but it’s important to keep an eye on it and tell your doctor or midwife if it changes in any way.
How does vaginal discharge change during pregnancy?
Increased discharge can be a sign that you are pregnant — though many things can influence vaginal discharge so you can’t be sure this is the reason.
The amount of discharge may increase throughout the pregnancy. Towards the end, there may be so much you confuse it with urine.
Towards the end of pregnancy, the amount of discharge increases and can be confused with urine.
In the last week or so of pregnancy, your discharge may contain streaks of thick mucus and some blood. This is called a 'show' and happens when the mucus that has been present in your cervix during pregnancy comes away. It's a sign that the body is starting to prepare for birth, and you may have a few small 'shows' in the days before you go into labour.
When to see your midwife or doctor
You should tell your midwife or doctor if your vaginal discharge increases a lot in later pregnancy. If you have any vaginal bleeding in pregnancy, you should contact your midwife or doctor urgently, as it can sometimes be a sign of a more serious problem such as a miscarriage or a problem with the placenta.
Normal healthy discharge should:
be clear and white
not smell bad
Tell your midwife or doctor if:
the discharge is coloured (greenish or brownish)
there is blood in the discharge
it smells strange
you feel itchy or sore
If the discharge is coloured or smells strange, or if you feel itchy or sore, you may have a vaginal infection such as thrush, which your doctor can treat easily, or bacterial vaginosis. Do not try to treat it yourself — always talk to your doctor, pharmacist or midwife if you think you have an infection.
You can help prevent thrush by wearing loose cotton underwear, and some women find it helps to avoid perfumed soap or perfumed bath products.
Mater Mother’s Hospital (Pregnancy - information for women and families), NSW Health (Having a baby), Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (Hormonal health – clues made clear)
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Last reviewed: November 2020
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Cervical Mucus: An Early Pregnancy Sign?
Cervical Mucus: An Early Pregnancy Sign?
Medically reviewed by Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI — By Erica Cirino on June 13, 2019
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It’s normal for cervical mucus (vaginal discharge) to change in color, consistency, and amount throughout your menstrual cycle. It may also change during the early stages of pregnancy.
While it may be possible to notice changes in cervical mucus during the early stages of pregnancy, these changes are usually subtle. They can also vary a lot from person to person.
Read on to learn about cervical mucus changes and whether it’s a reliable method of detecting early pregnancy.
During early pregnancy, changes in cervical mucus can be subtle. There is usually an increase in the amount of cervical discharge. However, the change may be so slight that it may be barely noticeable.
Early on in a pregnancy, you may feel more wetness in your underwear than usual. You may also notice a larger amount of dry whitish-yellow discharge on your underwear at the end of the day or overnight.
Cervical mucus, also called leukorrhea, is a normal part of a woman’s cycle. It helps keep the vaginal tissues healthy by protecting them against irritation and infection, and it also keeps the vagina lubricated.
During your menstrual cycle, you may notice that your cervical mucus changes. One day it may be white and sticky, for example, and the next day it may be clear and watery.
When you get pregnant, your body’s hormone levels will begin to rise dramatically. These hormonal changes help prepare your body to grow, and they also help protect and nourish the baby.
The changes to your hormones can lead to an increase in vaginal discharge as your pregnancy progresses. This happens naturally, as your body works to prevent vaginal infections, especially during more advanced stages of pregnancy.
Healthy cervical mucus is thin, white or clear, and has a mild odor. While cervical mucus changes throughout your cycle, and also during pregnancy, it should continue to have these qualities.
The following characteristics of discharge are not typical:
is bright yellow, green, or gray
causes itching, swell, burning, or irritation
Cervical discharge with any of these traits could be a sign of an infection. It’s important to see your doctor if you notice any of these changes or symptoms.
A slight increase in cervical mucus is just one of many early signs of pregnancy. Because it’s so subtle, it’s often overlooked. Other common, more noticeable early signs of pregnancy include:
a missed period; however, several other conditions, including stress, extreme exercise, eating disorders, hormone imbalance, and other health issues may cause you to miss a period
food cravings and increased hunger, as well as avoidance of certain foods
frequent urination caused by the pregnancy hormone chorionic gonadotropin, which triggers frequent urination
fatigue, caused by an increase in the hormone progesterone
light spotting called “implantation bleeding,” which may occur 6 to 12 days after conception, not lasting more than 24 to 48 hours
nausea, often in the morning (morning sickness)
breast changes that typically include tender, sore, swollen breasts
metallic taste in the mouth
headaches and dizziness
Most women’s bodies produce a very specific kind of mucus right before ovulation. If you carefully track your discharge, it may be possible to track the days when you are most fertile.
When your cervical mucus is clear and slippery, you’re probably about to ovulate. This is the time when you’re most likely to get pregnant. You’re less likely to get pregnant when you notice cloudy and sticky mucus, or when you feel dry.
Recording the characteristics of your cervical mucus throughout the month may reveal patterns in your ovulation, helping you determine when you’re most fertile.
While it’s possible to track your fertility by focusing on your cervical mucus throughout the month, it may be challenging to rely on this method to determine when you’re at your most fertile.
That’s why experts usually recommend using a more accurate method of fertility tracking, such as fertility monitoring. There are different types of ovulation tests and fertility monitoring kits you can buy. Some involve taking urine tests to check for hormonal spikes that occur during ovulation.
With other kits, you need to take your temperature in order to check where you are in your menstruation cycle. Your body temperature usually drops a little before you ovulate, and then goes up and stays a little higher for a few days.
Purchase ovulation tests and fertility tracking kits online.
You may notice slight changes in your cervical mucus during early pregnancy. However, it’s not the most reliable way to determine whether or not you are pregnant. Taking a pregnancy test at home or at your doctor’s office is a much more reliable method.
While changes in cervical mucus may not help you know whether or not you are pregnant, paying attention to your cervical mucus throughout your cycle can help you keep an eye on your reproductive health.
Consult your doctor if you have questions about your fertility or getting pregnant.
Last medically reviewed on June 13, 2019
How we vetted this article:
Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.
Basal body temperature (BBT) charting.(2018). uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw202058
Bouchard TP, et al. (2018). Achieving pregnancy using primary care interventions to identify the fertile window. DOI: 10.3389/fmed.2017.00250
Kumar P, et al. (2012). Hormones in pregnancy. DOI: 10.4103/0300-1652.107549
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2018). Cervical mucus method for natural family planning. mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cervical-mucus-method/about/pac-20393452
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2019). Symptoms of pregnancy: What happens first. mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/symptoms-of-pregnancy/art-20043853
Vaginal discharge in pregnancy. (2018). nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/vaginal-discharge-pregnant/
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Medically reviewed by Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI — By Erica Cirino on June 13, 2019
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Changes in the cervix during pregnancy
Pregnancy is always pleasant, but sometimes not planned. And not all women have time to prepare for it, to be fully examined before its onset. And the detection of diseases of the cervix already during pregnancy can be an unpleasant discovery.
The cervix is the lower segment of the uterus in the form of a cylinder or cone. In the center is the cervical canal, one end of which opens into the uterine cavity, and the other into the vagina. On average, the length of the cervix is 3–4 cm, the diameter is about 2.5 cm, and the cervical canal is closed. The cervix has two parts: lower and upper. The lower part is called the vaginal, because it protrudes into the vaginal cavity, and the upper part is supravaginal, because it is located above the vagina. The cervix is connected to the vagina through the vaginal fornices. There is an anterior arch - short, posterior - deeper and two lateral ones. Inside the cervix passes the cervical canal, which opens into the uterine cavity with an internal pharynx, and is clogged with mucus from the side of the vagina. Mucus is normally impervious to infections and microbes, or to spermatozoa. But in the middle of the menstrual cycle, the mucus thins and becomes permeable to sperm.
Outside, the surface of the cervix has a pinkish tint, it is smooth and shiny, durable, and from the inside it is bright pink, velvety and loose.
The cervix during pregnancy is an important organ, both in anatomical and functional terms. It must be remembered that it promotes the process of fertilization, prevents infection from entering the uterine cavity and appendages, helps to "endure" the baby and participates in childbirth. That is why regular monitoring of the condition of the cervix during pregnancy is simply necessary.
During pregnancy, a number of physiological changes occur in this organ. For example, a short time after fertilization, its color changes: it becomes cyanotic. The reason for this is the extensive vascular network and its blood supply. Due to the action of estriol and progesterone, the tissue of the cervix becomes soft. During pregnancy, the cervical glands expand and become more branched.
Screening examination of the cervix during pregnancy includes: cytological examination, smears for flora and detection of infections. Cytological examination is often the first key step in the examination of the cervix, since it allows to detect very early pathological changes that occur at the cellular level, including in the absence of visible changes in the cervical epithelium. The examination is carried out to identify the pathology of the cervix and the selection of pregnant women who need a more in-depth examination and appropriate treatment in the postpartum period. When conducting a screening examination, in addition to a doctor's examination, a colposcopy may be recommended. As you know, the cervix is covered with two types of epithelium: squamous stratified from the side of the vagina and single-layer cylindrical from the side of the cervical canal. Epithelial cells are constantly desquamated and end up in the lumen of the cervical canal and in the vagina. Their structural characteristics make it possible, when examined under a microscope, to distinguish healthy cells from atypical ones, including cancerous ones.
During pregnancy, in addition to physiological changes in the cervix, some borderline and pathological processes may occur.
Under the influence of hormonal changes that occur in a woman's body during the menstrual cycle, cyclic changes also occur in the cells of the epithelium of the cervical canal. During the period of ovulation, the secretion of mucus by the glands of the cervical canal increases, and its qualitative characteristics change. With injuries or inflammatory lesions, sometimes the glands of the cervix can become clogged, a secret accumulates in them and cysts form - Naboth follicles or Naboth gland cysts that have been asymptomatic for many years. Small cysts do not require any treatment. And pregnancy, as a rule, is not affected. Only large cysts that strongly deform the cervix and continue to grow may require opening and evacuation of the contents. However, this is very rare and usually requires monitoring during pregnancy.
Quite often, in pregnant women, during a mirror examination of the vaginal part, polyps cervix. The occurrence of polyps is most often associated with a chronic inflammatory process. As a result, a focal proliferation of the mucosa is formed, sometimes with the involvement of muscle tissue and the formation of a pedicle. They are mostly asymptomatic. Sometimes they are a source of blood discharge from the genital tract, more often of contact origin (after sexual intercourse or defecation). The size of the polyp is different - from millet grain rarely to the size of a walnut, their shape also varies. Polyps are single and multiple, their stalk is located either at the edge of the external pharynx, or goes deep into the cervical canal. Sometimes during pregnancy there is an increase in the size of the polyp, in some cases quite fast. Rarely, polyps first appear during pregnancy. The presence of a polyp is always a potential threat of miscarriage, primarily because it creates favorable conditions for ascending infection. Therefore, as a rule, more frequent monitoring of the cervix follows. The tendency to trauma, bleeding, the presence of signs of tissue necrosis and decay, as well as questionable secretions require special attention and control. Treatment of cervical polyps is only surgical and during pregnancy, in most cases, treatment is postponed until the postpartum period, since even large polyps do not interfere with childbirth.
The most common pathology of the cervix in women is erosion . Erosion is a defect in the mucous membrane. True erosion is not very common. The most common pseudo-erosion (ectopia) is a pathological lesion of the cervical mucosa, in which the usual flat stratified epithelium of the outer part of the cervix is replaced by cylindrical cells from the cervical canal. Often this happens as a result of mechanical action: with frequent and rough sexual intercourse, desquamation of the stratified squamous epithelium occurs. Erosion is a multifactorial disease. The reasons may be:
genital infections, vaginal dysbacteriosis and inflammatory diseases of the female genital area;
is an early onset of sexual activity and a frequent change of sexual partners. The mucous membrane of the female genital organs finally matures by the age of 20-23. If an infection interferes with this delicate process, erosion is practically unavoidable;
is an injury to the cervix. The main cause of such injuries is, of course, childbirth and abortion;
, cervical pathology may also occur with a decrease in the protective functions of immunity.
The presence of erosion does not affect pregnancy in any way, as well as pregnancy on erosion. Treatment during pregnancy consists in the use of general and local anti-inflammatory drugs for inflammatory diseases of the vagina and cervix. And in most cases, just dynamic observation is enough. Surgical treatment is not carried out throughout the entire pregnancy, since the excess of risks and benefits is significant, and after treatment during childbirth, there may be problems with opening the cervix.
Almost all women with various diseases of the cervix safely bear and happily give birth to beautiful babies!
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what is it and how does it affect fertility and pregnancy?
Everything you want to know about cervical mucus and fertility (but don't dare to ask)
-any relation of cervical mucus to the chances of conception?
What is fertile cervical mucus?
This bodily fluid, as interesting, as intelligent, and as useful as many others in the body, is a subject that is too little discussed.
Maybe because of a social taboo? Because of the excessive sexualization of the female physiology? Maybe because of the cultural heritage?
Be that as it may, even today, platforms like Instagram are blocking posts showing different types of cervical mucus that doubtful, asking, wanting to know more women…
It seems that these photos violate the platform’s policy regarding “ nudity and pornography.
In medical schools, the study of changes in this cervical mucus is not given much attention, so, ultimately, we lack the necessary knowledge about how the female body works.
The female body gives signals about its functioning. It is interesting to put aside everything that is not a knowledge of physiological processes in order to help us understand what is happening at every moment of a woman's life cycle.
And, especially if you're looking for pregnancy, cervical mucus offers a lot of information for a woman to act on her fertility and the days you're most likely to get pregnant.
Differences between cervical mucus and vaginal fluid
Cervical mucus is the fluid secreted by the cervix in response to a number of sex hormones. It is responsible for facilitating the passage of sperm to the upper genital tract so that they can meet the egg and fertilize it.
Their appearance (color, texture) and the feeling of moisture or lubrication they produce in women depend on the levels of estrogen and progesterone during the cycle. As hormone levels change throughout the cycle, cervical mucus also changes.
Monitoring this cervical mucus can be very helpful in knowing where we are in our cycle. When it comes to fertility, it is very helpful to determine a woman's fertile days.
Vaginal fluid, in turn, consists of cervical mucus and oils from the vaginal glands. Then, Although cervical mucus is a component of vaginal discharge, vaginal discharge does not always contain cervical mucus. .
In addition, a woman's vagina may release other types of fluids at certain times of sexual stimulation, these are called arousal fluids. They are transparent, wet and slippery, and their main task is to prepare the vaginal tract for possible penetration.
The key difference between excitatory secretions and cervical mucus is that excitatory secretions dry up and disappear within an hour.
Daysy my fertility monitor
Cervical mucus, ovulation and fertility
Cervical mucus changes in amount, color and consistency depending on the moment of the menstrual cycle in which the woman is. Tracking and learning to understand these changes can help a woman determine the time of ovulation and therefore her fertile window.
The most fertile days for a woman are five days before ovulation and 24 hours after ovulation.
A 2004 study showed that cervical mucus-based fertility-tracking methods, such as basal body temperature or urine luteinizing hormone (LH) monitoring, can predict fertility fairly accurately.
The study showed that the chance of conception was higher on days when the most fertile type of cervical mucus was present.
How to determine the cervical mucus of each stage of the menstrual cycle
We have seen that different levels of hormones are determinants of cervical mucus characteristics.
Cervical mucus in the first phase of the cycle
Estrogens are abundant in the first phase of the cycle. Elevated levels of estrogen stimulate the production of cervical secretion, which facilitates the passage of sperm.
cervical mucus after ovulation
After ovulation, in the second part of the cycle, progesterone is the most important hormone. To prevent sperm migration and entry of potential pathogens, this hormone causes the mucus to change in texture and color, making the area somewhat less "practical".
How to test cervical mucus
To analyze cervical mucus, you need to check for residual mucus, either by observing underwear or toilet paper before urinating, or by using fingers (index and middle) to collect a sample from the vagina.
It is important to pay attention to the color and consistency of the liquid that remains between the fingertips.
additional trick : If when placing the fingers with cervical mucus in a glass of water, the mucus sticks to the fingers or, in case of a large amount, falls to the bottom of the glass, it will be cervical mucus. In case it was vaginal fluid, it was gradually excreted with water.
TIPS to buy the best ovulation test
Types of cervical mucus during the menstrual cycle
These will be the different types of cervical mucus during the menstrual cycle:
Cervical mucus with rule: not visible correctly
Lowering the ruler starts a new cycle. Over time, the level of estrogen rises, but at the beginning of menstruation, bleeding does not allow you to correctly analyze changes in cervical mucus.
Cervical mucus right after the rule: dryness
Estrogens are still on the rise, but you probably won't feel too much mucus just yet.
Feeling dry after removing the rule is normal. We will have to wait a few more days to see the effect of estrogen more clearly.
Cervical mucus just before ovulation: sticky, white, creamy.
Just before ovulation, a few days before the middle of the cycle, estrogen levels rise, so cervical mucus is already more visible.
It will become cloudier or stickier. It may be thick and sticky at first, then turn into something more moist and creamy, like a lotion.
It may appear whitish or even yellowish (especially if dry on underwear). With a 28-day menstrual cycle, you may first notice this fluid around day 9 or 10.
Ovulation day cervical mucus: clear, rubbery, slippery (like egg white)
The surge of estrogen and LH or luteinizing hormone creates the most fertile mucus, also called peak mucus.
The amount of fluid sheds varies from woman to woman, but the texture will always be slippery, translucent and elastic, similar to the white of a raw egg.
Ovulation is a short period. The average lifespan of an egg is 12 to 24 hours, so to increase the fertility window, one plays with the useful life of sperm, which can be 3 to 6 days.
Sperm that enter the vagina before ovulation can be suspended in this fluid, allowing them to survive longer in the acidic environment of the vagina. Don't miss out on more information about fertile days in this post we published earlier.
Cervical mucus after ovulation (luteal phase): sticky, dry.
Mucus is likely to disappear after ovulation due to the decrease in estrogen levels. The high level of progesterone, the dominant hormone in this phase, suppresses the secretion of fluid by the epithelial cells of the cervix. The fluid may become sticky or slimy, or simply dry up and be missing.
Tracking cervical mucus can be challenging. At first, you will think that you do not see any difference, but as you practice, everything improves.