This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.
Vaginal discharge is typically thin, off-white, or transparent. Throughout the menstrual cycle, discharge fluctuates and goes through some changes. During pregnancy, it's normal to have vaginal discharge. As a matter of fact, vaginal discharge will increase significantly, which is often an early implication of pregnancy. Other changes occur in the discharge's frequency, consistency, amount, and thickness.
Why it's normal to have discharge during pregnancy
Due to hormonal fluctuations, vaginal discharge goes through different changes throughout a woman's menstrual cycle. During pregnancy, hormones continue to fluctuate and significantly impact vaginal discharge. As your cervix changes, there will be an increase in vaginal discharge to help prevent infection.
How does discharge change during pregnancy?
Early pregnancy discharge - vaginal discharge will experience changes as early as one to two weeks after conception. During pregnancy, the discharge is more noticeable. Throughout pregnancy, the amount of vaginal discharge continues to increase.
Late pregnancy discharge - The discharge amount will be at its heaviest. Wear unscented liners and change them frequently. Do not wear tampons while pregnant. During the last weeks of pregnancy, you might notice ""show," which is vaginal discharge with streaks of thick mucus and blood. Show is not harmful; it is an indicator of labor.
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What kinds of discharge are abnormal and normal
Abnormal vaginal discharges can indicate vaginal infection or an issue with the pregnancy. Look out for discharges with a foul odor; change in color such as gray, green, or yellow; and cause itching, swelling, or redness. Abnormal discharge can be caused by sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or yeast infections. Make sure to get screened for all STDs, and inform your healthcare provider of any STD concerns. You can avoid yeast infections by eating fermented foods such as yogurt and wearing loose clothing and cotton underwear.
A red flag you should know of is a bright red discharge that is more than an ounce. If this occurs, immediately call your doctor because this may indicate placenta previa. As you go through your pregnancy, take notes of pregnancy discharge changes such as consistency, thickness, or color. If you have questions or concerns, call your doctor and let them know.
Abnormal signs of pregnancy discharge include
- Green, gray, or yellow - could be bacterial vaginosis
- Thick, white, or curd-like - could be a yeast infection
- Bloody - could be cervical infection
- Watery - could be PROM (Premature Rupture of Membranes)
Discharge during pregnancy is increased due to a spike in estrogen production, causing the vaginal walls and cervix to produce more mucus. Vaginal discharge will become thicker throughout pregnancy because of an increase in progesterone. The progesterone causes the cervical mucus to thicken and make a protective plug. Vaginal discharge may have a mild odor and a yellowish or whitish color. Some pregnant people experience spotting or light bleeding during pregnancy, which will impact their discharge.
Call your doctor immediately if you notice any vaginal discharge changes that cause you to worry about your pregnancy.
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