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Is some discharge normal during pregnancy
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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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.
A mobile lifestyle, therapeutic exercises and maximum exposure to fresh air are very important. Hiking is useful even at the very end of pregnancy - they will help not only maintain immunity, but also strengthen the muscles that will be required during childbirth. Be healthy!
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 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 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 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 must 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 early menses. 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 strain;
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 an 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, 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.