Brown Discharge While Pregnant – What Can It Mean?

Any colored discharge during pregnancy can be alarming for a woman. Though the first thought may be that something is wrong, a brown discharge while pregnant is not always cause for concern.

Some causes of such a vaginal discharge could be quite innocuous, and in some cases the discharge could be and an underlying cause that needs attention.

Firstly the woman should determine that the brown discharge is vaginal and not diarrhea and then the reason for the discharge can be assessed.

Brown Discharge While PregnantBelow referred are some cases where brown discharge in pregnancy is nothing to worry about.

1. Most often a brown vaginal discharge may be seen in the first trimester, when the body is getting rid of old remnants of blood from the cervix that is no longer required by the body.

This kind of discharge is brown because it is old blood and may be seen in the last part of the first trimester.

2. The process of implantation (when the embryo implants into the wall of the uterus about 10 days or so after conception) can cause a pinkish discharge or in some cases a bloody or brownish discharge. This is normal and nothing to worry about.

3. Sometimes, brown discharge while pregnant could be caused by having sex. This is because the cervix is very sensitive at this time and irritation or even light trauma there could result in some amount of spotting for a day or two.

There could be other reasons for brown discharge in pregnancy that are as innocuous, and which require no treatment, but these above reasons are the most common ones.

In other cases, the brown discharge while pregnant could be due to more serious reasons –

  • A molar pregnancy is an abnormal pregnancy where the egg is fertilized but the embryo is not viable and this may also cause a brown discharge. This condition is also referred to as an early “missed abortion” and requires immediate medical attention.
  • Another dangerous and potentially life-threatening condition that could cause spotting or brown discharge is an ectopic pregnancy where the fertilized eggs implants at a site other than the wall of the uterus such as the fallopian tubes. In this case symptoms other than just the brown discharge such as pain will also be experienced and needs emergency medical attention.
  • There are several kinds of infection that could cause brown spotting during pregnancy – a yeast infection, genital HPV, bacterial vaginosis, and certain other sexually transmitted diseases could also cause the spotting. Additionally other symptoms such as itchiness or a burning sensation while passing urine and so on will also be usually seen.
  • Sometimes the cause for the brown discharge during pregnancy could be due to a miscarriage; which is also a very grave situation which requires immediate medical attention.

What to do when if you have brown discharge while pregnant

The important thing to look for is if there is any other kind of symptoms along with the discharge – pain, cramping, irritation, fever, chills, and so on. This could indicate the underlying reason for the discharge.

It is important to call up one’s attending physician or midwife, and inform them of the discharge as well as any other symptoms so that the doctor knows what action, if any is required.


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