If you notice white discharge at the onset of your pregnancy, don’t get all worked up. Doctors say vaginal discharge is quite normal during pregnancy. For some, the occurrence takes place throughout the 9 months, until the baby is out.
What is Vaginal Discharge in Pregnancy?
Pregnancy related vaginal discharge is known as Leukorrhea. It is similar to the one which you used to get before you got pregnant –odourless or mildly smelly milky white discharge. However, you will get it more often, now that you are pregnant. This is because now your body is producing excessive amount of estrogen and there is too much blood flow to the area around your vagina.
Vaginal Discharge during pregnancy is old cells and normal bacteria that secrete from the cervix (the neck of the womb) and vaginal walls. They are secreted more to prevent infections growing in vagina and travelling up in the womb. Towards the end of your pregnancy, the occurrence and amount of vaginal discharge would increase, so much so that, you may confuse it with urine.
The signs of healthy vaginal include
- Milky white discharge
- Thin or thick mucus like appearance
- Mildly smelly or odourless
In the last week of pregnancy or just before the labour, your discharge may contain streaks of blood. This happens when the mucus plug that was present inside the cervix comes off. The term used here is often referred as ‘Show’. In the following days, you may have few ‘shows’, a typical sign that the body is getting prepared for the delivery.
Mucus plug is a small protective barrier around the cervical canal made of secretions that is created in the first few weeks of pregnancy. Mucus plug looks like thick egg white or phlegm from a runny nose.
When Vaginal Discharge is a Warning Sign during Pregnancy?
Vaginal discharge is usually white and non-smelly. However, unpleasantly smelling, green coloured discharges that cause pain and itchiness or unusually looking discharges could be a sign of some problem or sign of infection. Don’t delay to call your doctor.
Some of the other instances when vaginal discharge could be a warning sign during pregnancy include;
- If you discharge an odourless liquid that’s causing pain, soreness, itching and burning sensation at the time of urination or intercourse. Along with it, if your vulva looks inflamed. This is a sign of yeast infection, caused by microscopic fungi. Although yeast in vagina is common, it becomes a problem when yeast growth swells and affects other microorganisms.
- If you experience increased amount of vaginal discharge before the 37th If you see a white clear or watery liquid coming out or if your discharge is thicker than mucus or has gelatinous appearance, it could be a sign of preterm labour or premature membrane rupture.
- If your discharge is anything but white and milky such as yellow discharge, brown or tarnished, green or frothy and have a very strong and unpleasant odour, you may have to seek doctor’s help immediately as this could be a sign of Trichomonasis, a common Sexually Transmitted Infection. Trichimonasis, also known as Trich, has other symptoms too, including red and inflamed vulva (it is the external part of female genitalia which contains the vaginal opening, the clitoris, urinary meatus, vestibular glands and labia majora and labia minora), itchy and irritated vagina, and discomfort or pain while intercourse and urinating.
- If the consistency of your vaginal discharge has changed, if there’s blood in the discharge or if the number of occurrences of white discharge rapidly increase.
- If there’s a fishy smell in your discharge that looks thinner than normal and has a grayish tint. This is more prominent after sexual intercourse. This may be a symptom of Bacterial Vaginosis, a common infection that occurs due to imbalance in good vaginal bacteria (lactobacilli).
Sometimes these symptoms are less prominent. However, if you find any difference in the consistency, occurrence and appearance of vaginal discharge, please do not hesitate to seek help. It could be one of the above problems which, if not treated at the right time, could be fatal and threatening to your baby.
Don’t self-treat for any infection. Medications will be prescribed by your doctor after proper diagnosis.
Sometimes irregular and vigorous vaginal discharge happens during PMS or around the time of your periods. However, this is not a sign of early pregnancy symptom that most women commonly report. The best way to tell if you have conceived or not is by taking a urine test using a pregnancy tool kit.