What early pregnancy discharge looks like and how to recognize it
Vaginal discharge can tell a person a lot about their health. An increase in vaginal discharge may even be a sign of pregnancy.
Anyone with a vagina can experience discharge from this part of the body.
Vaginal discharge is normal, and it can tell a person a lot about their body, including whether they have an infection, where they are in their menstrual cycle, and even their level of hydration.
A change in the amount of vaginal discharge can also sometimes indicate pregnancy.
In this article, we look at how to identify the vaginal discharge typical in early pregnancy. We also discuss other symptoms of early pregnancy, other factors that can affect discharge, and when to see a doctor.
Vaginal discharge is the normal substance that comes out of a person’s vagina. It is an umbrella term that encompasses any fluid — other than menstrual blood or urine — that the vagina secretes, both healthy and unhealthy.
Cervical mucus refers specifically to the substance that the cervix releases.
Hormones make a person’s cervix produce mucus. Shifts in a person’s hormone levels can occur during certain phases of the menstrual cycle or pregnancy. These can change the color, texture, and amount of discharge.
Healthy vaginal discharge is usually thin and clear or milky white with only a mild, inoffensive odor.
Unhealthy discharge can:
be foul smelling
be green or yellow
accompany itchiness around the vagina
accompany pain during urination
A person should see a doctor if they experience unhealthy discharge because it can signal an infection.
Early in a pregnancy, a person might experience a slight increase in vaginal discharge. Pregnancy causes higher levels of estrogen, leading the body to produce more discharge and increase the blood flow to the uterus and vagina.
Increased discharge also helps protect the fetus by preventing external infections from traveling up from the vagina to the uterus.
As pregnancy continues, a person will continue to experience more discharge up until delivery.
What does it look like?
Healthy vaginal discharge during pregnancy is called leukorrhea. It is similar to everyday discharge, meaning that it is thin, clear or milky white, and smells only mildly or not at all.
However, pregnancy can cause the amount of discharge to increase.
Infections, including yeast infections or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), can affect vaginal discharge, so it is important to monitor discharge as a health indicator.
Below are a few examples of unhealthy discharge and the diseases or infections that they may indicate.
Thick and chunky, similar to cottage cheese
Candidiasis, or thrush, which is a yeast infection common during pregnancy
Green or yellow and possibly frothy
Increased discharge with pelvic pain or bleeding
Chlamydia or gonorrhea
Increased discharge from blisters or sores
Many signs — some subtle and some less so — can indicate pregnancy in the early stages.
A person’s period halting is the clearest indicator that they may be pregnant. However, menstruation can vary due to many other factors, including stress, birth control, and weight loss.
Learn about other possible causes of missing a period.
These other signs and symptoms can help identify pregnancy:
tender and swollen breasts
cravings or distaste for certain foods
increase in fatigue
unexplained weight gain or loss
If a person had sex without effective birth control or barrier methods and is experiencing these symptoms or thinks that they might be pregnant, they should consider getting a pregnancy test.
There are two ways to test for pregnancy: urine testing and blood testing.
A person can test their urine at home or seek a doctor’s help. They should be able to buy a home pregnancy test relatively cheaply from a local pharmacy.
To do the urine test, a person catches their urine midstream on the test stick, which will check for the presence of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in the urine. This hormone is elevated during pregnancy.
A home pregnancy test will give a “yes” or “no” result, depending on the presence of hCG.
A urine test at a doctor’s office uses the same process, but instead of catching the pee on a testing stick midstream, a person will pee in a cup for a lab to analyze.
Home pregnancy tests are 97% accurate if a person uses them correctly.
Blood pregnancy tests are much more accurate and can tell a person more about their hCG level. This test will reveal to a person the exact amount of hCG in their blood. A blood test can also detect pregnancy earlier than a urine test.
However, a doctor must perform a blood pregnancy test.
A person should see a doctor if they are experiencing signs and symptoms of pregnancy. A person can take their own home pregnancy test, but it is still wise to follow up with a doctor, no matter the result.
Regardless of pregnancy concerns, if a person notices a change in their vaginal discharge, they should speak with a doctor, who can help diagnose the issue and prescribe any necessary treatment. Seeking advice is particularly important if changes in vaginal discharge accompany pain or itchiness.
A change in the amount of vaginal discharge can be a sign of early pregnancy.
However, other changes in the color or texture of vaginal discharge are more likely due to an infection, and a person should seek help from a healthcare provider to treat them.
Pregnancy symptoms week 1: Early signs
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Some women have no pregnancy symptoms at week 1, while others may experience symptoms such as fatigue, breast tenderness, and mild cramping.
Typically, medical professionals measure pregnancy week 1 from the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period. Although a woman is not actually pregnant at this point, counting week 1 from the last menstrual period can help determine a woman’s estimated pregnancy due date.
However, this article will refer to pregnancy week 1 as starting a week after conception, meaning the literal first week of pregnancy.
A missed menstrual period is often the primary symptom of early pregnancy.
Conception, or fertilization, occurs when the ovary releases an egg (ovulation), and a sperm fertilizes it. This can happen about 14 days after the menstrual cycle starts, according to March of Dimes.
According to Planned Parenthood, implantation begins about 6–7 days after conception. This is when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus. This movement of the egg may break down blood vessels within the uterus wall, which may cause light bleeding and cramping.
Implantation bleeding is an early sign of pregnancy. It is not like a menstrual period. Instead, it is light bleeding that may involve a single spot of blood or a small amount of pink discharge. The spotting may last for a few hours, or it may last for a few days.
Women may also feel mild cramping as the embryo attaches to the uterus wall. Women may feel these cramps in the abdomen, pelvis, or low back area.
The cramping may feel like a pulling, tingling, or pricking sensation. Some women experience only a few minor cramps, while others may feel occasional discomfort that comes and goes over a few days.
Pregnancy symptoms in week 1 are different for every woman and every pregnancy. According to the Office on Women’s Health, the most common first sign of pregnancy is a missed menstrual period.
Other early pregnancy symptoms include:
nausea with or without vomiting
breast changes including tenderness, swelling, or tingling feeling, or noticeable blue veins
raised basal body temperature
bloating in the belly or gas
mild pelvic cramping or discomfort without bleeding
tiredness or fatigue
irritability or mood swings
food cravings or aversions
a heightened sense of smell
metallic taste in the mouth
Not all of these symptoms are unique to pregnancy. It is also important to note that early pregnancy does not always cause noticeable symptoms.
The best way for a person to find out if they are pregnant is to take a pregnancy test.
A pregnancy test measures the amount of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) hormone in the urine. This hormone is only present when a woman is pregnant. As the egg grows into an embryo, the cells that surround it and later become the placenta produce hCG.
Planned Parenthood indicate that it is best to take a pregnancy test as soon after a missed period as possible. A pregnancy test may return a positive result as early as 10 days after a person has had sex without contraception. However, it typically takes about 3 weeks before there’s enough hCG in the urine to produce a positive pregnancy test.
There are many affordable and reliable pregnancy tests available over-the-counter (OTC) or online. A home pregnancy test can tell whether you are pregnant in a few minutes, with most claiming to offer almost 99% accuracy.
To help ensure an accurate result, the best time to take a pregnancy test is 1 week after a missed period. Results of a pregnancy test are either positive or negative.
If a woman takes the pregnancy test earlier than 1 week after a missed period, it may give a negative result, even if the person is actually pregnant.
If a person believes they are pregnant despite a negative test result, they should repeat the test after 1 week.
To avoid a false negative result, check the pregnancy test’s expiration date, and carefully follow the written directions.
A person can also have a blood test to determine whether they are pregnant. This test identifies the presence of hCG in the blood. The blood test can show a positive result a few days earlier than the urine test can, but it may take up to 48 hrs to get the results back from the lab.
Pregnancy symptoms are different for every woman. Some women may notice symptoms, such as spotting or a headache, during week 1 of pregnancy. Others may only experience a missed period. Some women will have no symptoms at all.
Whether a person has symptoms or not, the best way to determine if they are pregnant is to take a pregnancy test.
A range of pregnancy tests is available for purchase online.
Pregnancy discharge | What are the discharge during pregnancy? | Blog
In the absence of menstruation, girls usually suspect that conception has occurred. However, during pregnancy, the female body may continue to secrete a secret of a different color and character. We recommend that you keep a close eye on everything that happens so as not to miss the development of adverse events. We will talk about how to recognize problem situations during pregnancy in the article.
What discharge can occur during conception
Many women note that immediately after the delay and in the later stages, the nature of the secretion changes. It can be:
With or without scent.
Depending on the color - transparent, white, cream, yellow, greenish, bloody.
By consistency - thick, liquid, cheesy.
As a symptom for assessing the state of health - threatening, safe.
During ovulation, the egg is released from the ovary, its membrane is deflated, a small amount of fluid is released - so it becomes ready for fertilization. At this time, the thick mucus that fills the cervical canal of the cervix becomes less viscous. This makes it easier for the spermatozoa to penetrate and move further into the tubes for fertilization. At this time, you may notice an abundance of clear mucous secretions.
After the fusion of the egg with the spermatozoon, movement into the uterus begins, which should end with implantation in the inner layer. During penetration, its slight detachment may occur - this causes damage to the blood vessels that abundantly penetrate the muscular layer of the uterus. You may see light brown discharge, which is common during pregnancy. The color is due to the fact that the blood has time to clot.
Sometimes the discharge is brightly colored and some women mistake it for a period that has started too early. But in this case, a short duration is characteristic, a different shade (dark or scarlet), a slight mark on the linen.
With some features of the structure of the female genital organs (for example, with a bicornuate uterus), after implantation of the embryo in one part, rejection of the endometrium may begin in the other, as usually occurs during menstruation. This rarely happens.
Characteristics of discharge in the event of a threatened miscarriage
Spontaneous abortion is the rejection of an embryo in the early stages after conception. If at the first signs of pregnancy, you notice spotting, there is a high probability that a miscarriage begins.
Also, miscarriage symptoms include:
pulling or pressing on the lower abdomen, sacrum, lower back;
the muscles of the uterus are tense.
The woman may feel cramps. This continues all the time or intermittently. From the vagina there are scarlet or brown discharge during pregnancy, which was previously confirmed. Sometimes the period may be still small, and the first signs did not have time to appear.
After 22 weeks, this phenomenon is called preterm labor. The child in this case is still weak, the organs are not sufficiently developed, and there is little chance of survival.
The following factors increase the risk of miscarriage:
nervous and physical overexertion;
pathologies in the genitals;
fetal developmental defects.
To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor prescribes an ultrasound scan. If it shows that the fetal heart rate is disturbed, the tone of the uterus is increased, its size differs from normal for this period, hospitalization will be recommended to maintain pregnancy.
What discharge during pregnancy is considered normal
This secretion does not pose a threat to health:
without itching, burning, redness of the genitals.
Clear fluid on underwear is a symptom of ovulation. During pregnancy, the activity of ongoing processes in the body increases, so the amount of secretion secreted may increase. However, a violation of the norm is the leakage of amniotic fluid. You can determine the problem with the help of special diagnostic tests that the doctor will prescribe if he has suspicions.
White color, small amount, homogeneous structure should also not cause concern. The increased volume of fluid in this case is associated with increased hormonal activity.
One of the variants of the norm is mucous discharge, which smells of slight sourness. If there is no pain, discomfort, there is nothing to worry about.
Yellow discharge, there are signs of pregnancy, there is no unpleasant odor - you are all right. Some women had this color before conception, only they did not pay attention. Now there are more of them, therefore more noticeable.
Sometimes a woman observes that the laundry gets wet and there is a smell of urine. This may indicate incontinence due to the constant pressure of the growing uterus. In this case, it is recommended to go to the toilet more often, change underpants twice a day.
What discharge during pregnancy is considered a sign of infection?
White discharge during pregnancy with a cheesy texture is a symptom of thrush (candidiasis). In pregnant women, it is diagnosed quite often - the reason is a change in hormonal levels. The disease is accompanied by itching, redness of the vulva, a strong sour smell. Sometimes external manifestations are not detected, then treatment is not carried out.
Infection is indicated by pain, pain, skin irritation, ulcers, smell of rot or fish, gray or green color, frothy discharge, increased nervousness, large inguinal lymph nodes. The reason may lie in sexually transmitted infections. This includes syphilis, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, chlamydia and others. They are dangerous because they cause premature birth and fetal developmental defects.
What kind of discharge during pregnancy should I pay special attention to and should I consult a doctor?
The following indicates that pregnancy is at risk:
Severe pain in the perineum, bleeding, difficulty defecation, convulsions - these may be injuries to the vaginal mucosa.
Nausea, profuse vomiting, edema, headaches, cough, hypertension, bright red secretion are symptoms of hydatidiform mole (abnormal development of the embryo).
A drop in blood pressure, pallor, weakness, sweating, pulling sensations, bleeding during pregnancy against the background of a lack of growth of hCG in the blood - this is how ectopic attachment manifests itself.
Isolation of clots, sharp pain, vomiting, diarrhea may indicate a frozen fetus.
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.
It is also necessary to go to the clinic if you have been physically abused, had rough sex, had an accident, fell, hit. The likelihood that the situation will be resolved successfully is much higher if you do not delay the visit, listen to the symptoms and take good care of your health.
Remember, despite the fact that pregnancy is a normal state of health of the female body, the diagnosis and treatment tactics are still different, due to the many restrictions on manipulations and medications during pregnancy. That is why diagnosis and treatment during pregnancy should take place only under the supervision of a doctor. By ignoring the symptoms or self-medicating, a pregnant woman risks not only her health, but also the health of her child.
Doctors of the Leleka maternity hospital manage pregnancies of any complexity, including those aggravated by infections, pathologies, and the threat of miscarriage. Our own diagnostic laboratory allows us to accurately and in the shortest possible time to obtain the results of the tests. Thanks to constant medical supervision throughout the entire period, the chances of a successful birth are greatly increased.
Trust the life and health of your child to Leleka doctors, and we will make sure that you are satisfied.
What is it? Normal and abnormal discharge during pregnancy
Today we will talk with Elena Yurievna Romanova, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Expert Center for Pregnancy Management at the Mother and Child Clinic, about what discharges during pregnancy should be feared and what discharges from the genital tract are regarded as normal.
Increased vaginal discharge during pregnancy is natural
Normal pregnancy discharge is milky white or clear mucus without a strong odor (although the smell may change from before pregnancy), this discharge does not irritate the skin and does not cause discomfort to the pregnant woman. The discharge can have a different color - from completely colorless (most often) to whitish and yellowish. The consistency of discharge at the beginning of pregnancy resembles raw chicken yolk - they are thick, jelly-like, often released in the form of clots.
With normal discharge, it is enough to use panty liners or change underwear twice a day.
Due to the activity of progesterone in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, the discharge will be scarce and viscous.
Due to the increase in estrogen activity from 13 weeks, the discharge becomes less viscous and more abundant.
By the end of the pregnancy, vaginal discharge becomes more and more abundant. Each time you need to evaluate the nature of the discharge, change the gasket. If the fluid continues to ooze, this may mean leakage of amniotic fluid and the need to contact an obstetrician-gynecologist in the emergency department of a hospital with a maternity ward. There are auxiliary tests, thanks to which, as well as obstetric ultrasound, leakage of water can be excluded.
Not all discharge in pregnant women is the norm.
For example, a white, thick, crumbly, odorless discharge that itchs and burns the skin and causes discomfort during intercourse is likely a sign of a yeast infection (candidiasis).
White or grayish discharge, the smell of which after sex begins to resemble the smell of fish, is the main symptom of bacterial vaginosis, vaginal dysbacteriosis.
A yellowish or greenish discharge that has a strong unpleasant odor usually occurs with nonspecific vaginitis, and a foamy discharge is a sign of trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted disease.
In all these cases, contact your doctor immediately. It should not be treated with over-the-counter drugs and folk remedies. According to some external signs, a diagnosis cannot even be made by a doctor, in addition, infections in pregnant women should be treated especially carefully and only by a professional. After proper treatment, the discharge returns to normal. There is no need to get rid of the usual discharge for pregnant women. After childbirth, they will stop naturally, and before that they are a sign of the normal course of pregnancy.
Allocations can change their nature and amount under the influence of irritants or intolerance to a particular substance, for example, when using panty liners. Such secretions are transparent and abundant, they stop when the irritant is removed.
"Thrush" is a disease caused by fungi of the genus Candida, present in small quantities in all women. During pregnancy, immunity decreases and fungi begin to actively multiply, causing inflammation, abundant white flocculent discharge with a sour smell, burning and itching in the vulva. The disease can manifest itself throughout pregnancy.
Bloody discharge in the first half of pregnancy usually indicates a lack of the hormone progesterone, which can lead to spontaneous miscarriage. Discharge may be accompanied by pain in the lower abdomen and lower back. In the treatment of the threat of abortion, the appointment of progesterone drugs, such phenomena disappear.
If bleeding from the vagina appeared during pregnancy during the second or third trimester, then this is a sign of a formidable complication, namely, placenta previa or its premature detachment. With improper attachment of the placenta in the uterine cavity and overlapping of the placental tissue with the area of the internal pharynx, they speak of placenta previa. In this case, spotting occurs in a third of pregnant women. This most often occurs between 28 and 30 weeks, when the lower segment of the uterus is most prone to stretching and thinning. The discharge is repeated, the woman does not experience any pain, so it may be too late to see a doctor for an examination. This threatens the child with a lack of nutrients and oxygen, because it is through the placenta that the fetus is nourished. For a pregnant woman, this is fraught with acute placental abruption and severe bleeding, which is always problematic to stop, especially at home.
Bloody discharge during pregnancy should force a woman to immediately contact her obstetrician-gynecologist.
Brown discharge during pregnancy also indicates the threat of termination of pregnancy, or bleeding "erosion" (decidual polyp) of the cervix. Therefore, you should not understand these issues on your own; when brown discharge appears, it is better to consult your doctor.
Brown discharge during a delay in menstruation as a sign of an ectopic pregnancy is very dangerous. This condition requires immediate surgical care, as the growing embryo can rupture the wall of the fallopian tube at any time and cause internal bleeding. Therefore, with pain in the lower abdomen, which is accompanied by brown discharge from the genital tract and delayed menstruation, you should immediately call an ambulance.
When the vagina becomes inflamed, the mucous discharge acquires a mucopurulent character, a greenish-yellow color, an unpleasant odor, burning and itching appear in the genital area. This is how chlamydia, mycoplasmosis, ureaplasmosis, trichomoniasis manifest themselves. Is it necessary to treat the infection during pregnancy, or is it better to do it after childbirth?
All sexually transmitted infections in pregnant women require treatment, as they can pass to the fetus and cause intrauterine infection (IUI). IUI is very dangerous for a child - it leads to his death or serious illness. Infection of a child during childbirth can lead to such serious complications as pneumonia, severe damage to the brain, kidneys, liver, and blood poisoning (sepsis).
Today, obstetricians and gynecologists have learned to treat any infection in pregnant women in accordance with special guidelines for the timing of pregnancy, so that it is effective and safe for mother and fetus. It is not the treatment that should be feared, but the infection itself and its consequences.
Medicines that are used to treat pregnant women have passed the necessary clinical trials, during which it was proved that they do not have a negative effect on the pregnant woman and the fetus, including that they do not have a teratogenic effect (do not cause deformities in the fetus).
Sometimes the discharge is mucous in nature, occurs upon contact with an irritant or allergen. It can be synthetic tight underwear, allergies to fabrics, toiletries, personal care products. If irritation and allergens are not eliminated in time, then an infection that lives on the mucous membranes of the genital organs will definitely join.
Hygiene measures are mandatory for pregnant women. Twice a day you need to take a warm shower, using special gels for pregnant women to wash the genitals. Be sure to monitor the cleanliness of the whole body and underwear - it must be changed daily. Pads (but not tampons!) can be used for discharge. The oral cavity can become the source of infection, so you need to monitor your teeth, brush them twice a day and get an examination by a dentist. Good nutrition strengthens the immunity of a pregnant woman. The diet should contain fresh vegetables and fruits, lean meats and fish, daily dairy products, vegetable oil, a variety of cereals.