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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Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy: What’s Normal?
Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy: What’s Normal?
Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT — By Juliann Schaeffer — Updated on March 7, 2019
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Typical vaginal discharge is thin, clear, or milky white, as well as mild smelling. It will fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle. During pregnancy, the discharge will increase and may vary in consistency, thickness, frequency, and amount.
Pregnancy can be as confusing as it is elating, and it’s not always easy to tell which changes are typical and which are cause for concern.
One of the earliest signs of pregnancy is an increase in vaginal discharge, and this continues throughout pregnancy.
When a woman becomes pregnant, her vagina largely takes on a personality of its own, says Dr. Sheryl Ross, an OB-GYN and women’s health expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California.
Typical vaginal discharge, known as leukorrhea, will begin to change as early as one to two weeks after conception, even before you’ve missed your period. As your pregnancy progresses, this discharge usually becomes more noticeable, and it’s heaviest at the end of your pregnancy. You may want to wear an unscented panty liner. Avoid tampons in pregnancy.
In the last weeks of pregnancy, you may also notice that your discharge contains streaks of thick mucus with streaks of blood, called “show.” This is an early sign of labor and should not be cause for alarm.
Vaginal discharge ebbs and flows throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle due to a fluctuation in hormone levels. Once you become pregnant, hormones continue to play a role in the changes to your vaginal discharge.
Changes to the cervix during pregnancy also affect vaginal discharge. As the cervix and vaginal wall soften, the body produces excess discharge to help prevent infections. Your baby’s head may also press against the cervix as you near the end of your pregnancy, which often leads to increased vaginal discharge.
It’s important to let your healthcare provider know about any abnormal discharge, as it could be a sign of an infection or a problem with your pregnancy. Here are some signs of abnormal discharge:
yellow, green, or gray color
strong and foul odor
accompanied by redness or itching, or vulvar swelling
Abnormal discharge may be a sign of infection. Yeast infections are common during pregnancy. If you develop a yeast infection during pregnancy, your doctor may recommend a vaginal cream or suppository. To avoid a yeast infection:
wear loose, breathable clothing
wear cotton underwear
dry your genitals after showering, swimming, or exercising
add yogurt and other fermented foods to your diet to promote healthy bacteria
Abnormal discharge can also be caused by a sexually transmitted disease (STD). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend screening all pregnant women for STDs. Your healthcare provider may screen you for STDs at your first prenatal appointment. If you believe you have an STD, it’s important to let your doctor know as soon as possible to help reduce the risk of passing the STD to your baby.
Abnormal discharge may also signal a complication in your pregnancy. Call your healthcare provider immediately if you have bright red discharge that exceeds an ounce. This could be a sign of placenta previa or placental abruption.
When in doubt, it’s always better to play it safe and call your doctor. Note when the changes to your vaginal discharge began and any defining characteristics. This will help your doctor determine if your discharge is cause for concern.
Last medically reviewed on May 26, 2017
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.
STDs during pregnancy – CDC fact sheet. (2014). cdc.gov/std/pregnancy/stdfact-pregnancy.htm
Vaginal discharge during pregnancy. (2014). americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/vaginal-discharge-during-pregnancy/
Vaginal discharge during pregnancy. (2014). pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/vaginal-discharge-during-pregnancy
Yeast infections during pregnancy. (2006). americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/yeast-infections-during-pregnancy/
Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.
Mar 8, 2019
May 26, 2017
Medically Reviewed By
Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT
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Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph. D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT — By Juliann Schaeffer — Updated on March 7, 2019
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articles of the Oxford Medical clinic Kyiv
What discharge during pregnancy is considered normal?
When should you see a doctor for discharge?
Discharge during early pregnancy
Discharge during late pregnancy
Discharge during pregnancy by color0005
During pregnancy, a woman's body undergoes a number of physiological changes - her body changes, adapts to carrying a baby and future childbirth. Changes can also occur with vaginal discharge. After conception, their number or color may become different, which often makes a woman worry. In order not to worry for no reason, but also not to miss a possible reason to see a doctor, you need to know which discharges are normal and which are not.
What discharge during pregnancy is considered normal?
The nature of the discharge at different stages of pregnancy may vary slightly. Standard variant are:
transparent or white discharge;
not exceeding the usual volume;
not accompanied by itching, burning or other painful symptoms.
At the same time, in the first 2-4 weeks, the daily discharge may increase slightly and become thicker. It is also possible the appearance of light spotting within a few hours or a day, which occurs as a result of the implantation of the embryo to the uterine wall.
When should you see a doctor for discharge?
During pregnancy, a woman is advised to visit a gynecologist regularly for examinations and tests. First, consultations are prescribed once a month, and then once every 2 weeks. This allows you to carefully monitor the health of the pregnant woman and the development of the fetus. But, if discomfort appears, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible.
One of the alarming symptoms is the appearance of atypical discharge:
yellow, green, brown;
accompanied by itching, burning and other symptoms.
Such a change in the nature of the discharge may be associated with the development of an inflammatory or infectious disease, as well as complications of pregnancy. To find out the exact cause, you need to do tests, conduct an ultrasound and, if necessary, other studies.
Discharge during early pregnancy
When conception occurs, changes begin in the body. First of all, the synthesis of the hormone progesterone increases and blood flow to the pelvic organs increases. These processes are often accompanied by profuse vaginal discharge. They can be translucent, white or with a slight yellowish tint. There should be no unpleasant odor or skin irritation.
Shortly thereafter, progesterone levels decrease and estrogen levels rise. At this time, a mucous plug is formed that covers the cervix. Its formation can also cause increased secretion, but gradually it should decrease and become more liquid and transparent.
In addition, in the first weeks, the ovum attaches to the wall of the uterus, which can cause light brown discharge. As a rule, they are scarce and quickly stop - within a few hours or a day. If heavy bleeding has begun, you should immediately consult a doctor.
Approximately from 5 to 20 weeks, the discharge should be the same - transparent or whitish, in small volume, odorless.
Discharge in late pregnancy
From 20 to 40 weeks of pregnancy, the discharge is normally white, free of impurities and unpleasant odor.
In the last week before childbirth, the discharge may become thinner. If they are very abundant, leakage or discharge of amniotic fluid is possible, which requires a visit to a doctor.
Characterization of pregnancy discharge by color
Normal discharge should be colorless or white. A change in color and consistency may indicate the development of a disease or complications of pregnancy.
Bright or dark yellow discharge most often occurs when inflammation develops. Grey-green and green may result from infection. Thick white discharge speaks about it - as a rule, candidiasis manifests itself. Brown discharge may be due to slight bleeding.
Oxford Medical says it is important to consider not only the color of the discharge, but also its smell, volume and consistency. A sharp and unpleasant odor appears only with bacterial or fungal diseases, so it should by no means be ignored. Also, an alarming signal is a strong increase in the volume of secretions, a change in structure, foaminess and other deviations from the norm.
There can be many reasons for abnormal discharge. To find them out, you need to conduct examinations, and then, if necessary, treatment.
Bloody discharge during pregnancy
The appearance of bloody discharge at any stage of pregnancy is a reason to immediately consult a doctor.
The exception is small spotting in the first weeks (usually the date of the expected menstruation), which indicates the implantation of the embryo. At this point, capillaries and small vessels can be injured, which causes light bleeding. Normally, it is very weak, not accompanied by pain or other unpleasant symptoms.
Blood-streaked discharge may also occur on the eve of childbirth as a result of cervical dilatation. This is normal, but a doctor's consultation is required.
In other cases, both in the first and last trimester, any discharge from pale pink and brown to red is a dangerous symptom. The violation may be minor, but it is necessary to conduct an examination.
Bleeding can be caused by:
inflammatory and infectious diseases;
threatened miscarriage or premature birth.
Regular follow-up with an experienced obstetrician-gynecologist and the implementation of all recommendations will help to avoid possible complications and concentrate on the most important thing - the joyful expectation of the baby and preparation for meeting him.
What secretions 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 smell.
Depending on the color - transparent, white, cream, yellow, greenish, bloody.
By consistency - thick, liquid, curdled.
As a symptom for assessing the state of health - threatening, safe.
During ovulation, the egg leaves the ovary, its membrane is blown away, 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 an early period. 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 is usually the case with menstruation. This rarely happens.
Characteristics of discharge in case of 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 experience 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.
Which secretions during pregnancy are considered normal
This secretion does not pose a threat to health:
without itching, burning, redness of the genitals.
Clear liquid 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, signs of pregnancy are present, 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 fluid, 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.
Discharge 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 contact 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 that although pregnancy is a normal state of health for a woman's body, diagnosis and treatment are 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.