What Kind of Discharge is Normal During Pregnancy?
Didn’t expect to get vaginal discharge during pregnancy? It’s a common misconception to think that discharge will stop during pregnancy because your womb is closed up and growing a baby. This leads to many pregnant women asking the question “is vaginal discharge normal during pregnancy?”.
In actual fact you are most likely to experience an increase in vaginal discharge during pregnancy. More than during your normal discharge during monthly cycles. Discharge is also referred to as cervical mucus. Discharge is a result of the mucus produced by your cervix.
It could take you by surprise just how much discharge your body produces. Normal underwear alone will not be enough to soak up pregnancy discharge so make sure you are prepared in order to save yourself any embarrassments. Menstruation panties are a must-have during pregnancy to help with your extra cervical mucus.
What Does Pregnancy Discharge Look Like?
Healthy vaginal discharge during pregnancy is either thin and clear or milky white. Healthy pregnancy discharge has a mild odor.
The medical term for vaginal discharge is Leukorrhea.
How Much White Discharge is Normal During Pregnancy?
The amount of discharged being produced by your body can increase during your first trimester and again during your third trimester, as you get close to giving birth. It is healthy for your body to produce a good amount of discharge.
What Causes An Increase In Vaginal Discharge?
Higher levels of the estrogen hormone during pregnancy causes cells in the vaginal lining to increase and the layer of muscles to build up.
This in turn creates more discharge as there is more to be cleaned inside the vagina.
Discharge is your body’s natural way of keeping your vagina healthy.
Discharge also helps to prevent infections from getting into the womb.
Later in pregnancy, your baby will press down on your cervix which in turn will also create more discharge.
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What Does Abnormal Vaginal Discharge Look Like?
- Changes in vaginal discharge are a good indicator of vaginal health.
- Look out for the following changes in vaginal discharge: colour, consistency and smell – these could be a sign of vaginal infections, sexually transmitted diseases or a yeast infection.
- For example vaginal discharge that is yellow, yellowy-green, grey, a thicker or lumpier consistency are all causes for concern.
- If your discharge becomes watery and you find that you are having to change sanitary pads because they are soaked, this could be leaking amniotic fluid.
- Red discharge or vaginal bleeding during pregnancy are always warning signs and should be checked straightaway by your midwife or doctor.
- Slightly pink or brown discharge is often common during early pregnancy. However if it continues for more than 2-3 days and gets any heavier, please call the doctor. With any signs of bleeding during pregnancy, contact your midwife or doctor.
- Pink coloured discharge is common towards the end of pregnancy as your body is preparing to give birth. At this point, your mucus plug could start to release, causing a pinkish hue to appear in your discharge.
What Are Other Indicators of Vaginal Health During Pregnancy?
- Feeling itchy or sore around your vagina could be a sign of a vaginal infection.
- If you experience any pain whilst peeing or a burning sensation, these could also be an indication of a vaginal infection and need to be checked by a midwife or doctor.
What is a Show in Pregnancy?
A Show is a type of vaginal discharge which appears in late pregnancy. It is one of the changes during pregnancy which indicates your body is preparing for the birth.
The Show is caused when your mucus plug releases. This could either happen in gradually or in one go.
When your mucus plug releases, you will see a pinky, jelly-like discharge. This kind of pregnancy discharge is normal during late pregnancy in the late stages of the third trimester. If you find it any earlier, please check with your midwife or doctor. Your mucus plug serves to seal off your baby from your cervix during pregnancy.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
Call the doctor or call your midwife straightaway if you notice any abnormal discharge. It is highly important for the health of your baby (and for mama) to get yourself checked as soon as possible.
Recommendations for Handling Discharge Throughout Pregnancy
- Doctors recommend women to take showers rather than baths during pregnancy to reduce the likelihood of bacterial infection. It doesn’t mean you cannot take a bath! Baths are often a good relief for leg cramps and feeling short of breath. Be sure to rinse around your vaginal area externally and pat dry after taking a bath.
- Wear looser fitting clothes. Tight underwear, tights and leggings are potential creators of bacteria, leading to vaginal infections.
- Always keep light flow sanitary pads in your handbag.
- Alternatively you could get yourself some menstruation or period pants which are super absorbent and provide extra protection, without having to use sanitary pads. Menstruation pants are great because they are reusable and can be still be used postpartum. Be sure to wash them on a high temperature before wearing again.
- Avoid scented and perfumed products as these could potentially lead to vaginal infections or cause irritation.
- Foods containing probiotics are great for healthy bacteria and combatting potential vaginal infections. Yoghurts and yoghurt drinks with live bacteria are generally good but please check they are suitable for pregnancy before using.
- Take good care when going swimming, if sitting down, always sit on a fresh towel which you have brought yourself. Swimming pools can unfortunately be an easy way to catch a yeast infection.