White discharge or leucorrhea is a normal occurrence in women of reproductive age.
It is nothing but the cervical mucus and is usually first observed a couple of years before menarche and continues right up to a couple of years after menopause.
White discharge during pregnancy is normal, though it may be slightly different. White discharge changes over the trimesters and it is important to know what is normal and when you need to contact your midwife or caregiver.
Hormones and white discharge
The body creates a thick plug of cervical mucus at the cervical mouth to protect the fetus inside. This helps in preventing infection. During the first trimester, it is normal to observe a thicker discharge due to the changed hormonal levels. It may sometimes be brownish too due to old blood. Keep the area clean and wear cotton panties.
Avoid the use of tampons as it may lead to infections, instead use panty liners to absorb the extra discharge. If cheese like discharge with foul odor is observed, it is essential to inform the caregiver, as it is the result of a yeast infection which is fairly common during pregnancy.
A grey discharge on the other hand could indicate a sexually transmitted infection and needs immediate medical attention. At no point should one try to treat infections on their own.
Third trimester care
White discharge changes during the third trimester. It may show a little blood during the last weeks as the body prepares for the delivery. The discharge may become clearer and thinner, making one uncomfortable with wetness.
A watery white discharge before the 37th week needs immediate attention as it could be the amniotic fluid. This could mean that the sac is broken, leaving the fetus vulnerable. Keep in mind that any kind of abnormal white discharge during the pregnancy needs to be referred to the caregiver or medical practitioner.