A Guide to Vaginal Discharge during Pregnancy
Most women have vaginal discharges starting from the onset of puberty. This continues until the time of menopause. This takes place due to the hormonal changes that a woman’s body undergoes when she enters the age of puberty.
The same is true with vaginal discharge during pregnancy. During the time of pregnancy your hormone level shoots up and your experience increases vaginal discharge.
Another reason for this is also that during pregnancy your cervix and vaginal walls become softer.
This allows an increase in discharge to help prevent any infections traveling up from the vagina to the womb. Other than this, increased levels of progesterone can also make you produce more fluid.
An increase in the amount of discharge only progresses in the later months of the pregnancy. And, it can be very confusing to differentiate whether the leak from your vagina is a normal discharge, your urine, or your water just broke!
Though vaginal discharge during pregnancy is very common it is always advisable to keep a check on it and consult your doctor in case you observe anything different.
This guide to vaginal discharge during pregnancy will help you learn better about it and will assist you in navigating and differentiating between what is normal and what is not.
What does a normal vaginal discharge look like?
A normal vaginal discharge during pregnancy or otherwise appears clear or white in color. It is a slight odor but not the one that smells very strong or fishy.
It could also be completely odorless for some women and that’s fine too! It may or may not leave a yellowish tint on your underwear.
Changes in the consistency of the discharge will depend either on your menstrual cycle or your hormones if you’re pregnant.
The discharge tends to become thicker when you are nearing your ovulation date.
In the case of women who are pregnant, they will experience an increase in the amount of discharge because of an increase in the hormone levels but the above-mentioned points still apply to expecting women too.
Your discharge might get thicker and come off with a slight amount of blood when you’re nearing your due date. It is often called ‘show’ and it happens right before you enter your labor.
This will be discussed in detail in the upcoming sections of the article so stay hooked!
When to call your doctor?
Letting your healthcare provider know about any abnormal vaginal discharge during pregnancy is important. It could be a sign of infection or a problem with your pregnancy.
Here are some signs of abnormal vaginal discharge that we will be discussing.
- Discharge that smells unpleasant is green/grey in color, and is accompanied by pain and itching could be a sign of infection or another problem.
- If you’re not yet 37 weeks along and experience an increase in the amount of discharge or change in the type of discharge then immediately get in touch with your doctor or midwife
- If you experience an odorless slightly yellow discharge that causes pain during urination and intercourse and you have an inflamed vulva, chances are that you have a yeast infection and should go to a doctor for treatment.
- If you have thin white or grey discharge accompanied by a fishy smell then you might have a bacterial infection and need immediate medical attention.
- If your discharge is a little frothy and green in color you might be infected with trichomoniasis which is a sexually transmitted disease.
How do I differentiate between my vaginal discharge and mucus plug?
The mucus plug is a collection of mucus that forms in the cervix during early pregnancy. This acts as a protective barrier and prevents bacteria and infections from entering your uterus and reaching the baby.
As you get closer to your due date your cervix begins to thin out and open up (dilate) causing this mucus-like secretion to come out. This phenomenon is often called ‘show’ and is an early sign of labor.
Not everyone experiences losing their mucus plug. For those who do it might seem like the amount of vaginal discharge has suddenly increased. And instead of a thin white discharge, you will now experience a glob of thickened mucus that is white and pinkish in color and might also have a tint of blood also along with it.
Don’t panic though! You’re still not into labor and your baby is safe and well protected. This is just an early sign that some women experience and you will progress into your labor in a gradual manner only.
How do differentiate between vaginal discharge and amniotic fluid?
Your regular vaginal discharge comes out occasionally in small amounts. amniotic fluid on the other hand leaks out constantly once your water breaks. it is usually clear or slightly yellowish, water, and odorless or slightly sweet-smelling.
When your water breaks your amniotic fluid comes gushing out like a waterfall and will continue to leak until you have your baby.
If you feel what is coming out of the vaginal cavity is not your regular discharge but amniotic fluid it is important to contact your healthcare provider to find out if you might be going into labor.
If you are less than 34 weeks into pregnancy and you think your water has broken, immediately get in contact with your doctor for timely intervention to ensure the safety of you as well as your baby.
What can be done about vaginal discharge during pregnancy?
- There is not much that you can do to stop your vaginal discharge during pregnancy or otherwise. But, you can wear non-scented panty liners to absorb the discharge if you are leaking too much.
Using tampons for absorbing vaginal discharge is however not recommended. Other than this it is important to ensure that you keep your genital area healthy. follow these tips to keep your vagina healthy.
- Clean only the outside of your vagina with water only. Using soap can disrupt your vagina’s normal pH balance. Your vagina has the self-cleaning capability. But, if you want you can use a chemical-free unscented hygiene wash. otherwise, water works just fine!
- Always wipe from front to back.
- Don’t use scented products like tampons, hygiene wash, soaps, sanitary pads, etc.
- Wear clothes that let your skin breathe to avoid vaginal irritation.
- Change out of wet clothes and wet swimsuits immediately.
- Do not douche. douching is a method wherein you clean the inside vaginal cavity using water or soap. This can upset the normal pH levels and increase the likelihood of infection.
- Do visit your gynecologist regularly for routine checkups and do mention if you witness any abnormal vaginal discharge during pregnancy or otherwise before the situation worsens.
It can sometimes be really difficult to know which symptom signals a potential threat or problem.
And there are times when you might not experience a strong symptom of any sort of abnormality but still have some problem with your vaginal discharge. So it is very important that you carefully monitor your vaginal discharge during pregnancy especially.
If you’re experiencing any sort of discomfort in your vagina make sure to consult your healthcare provider for the right treatment. Do not try to treat yourself with over-the-counter medicines or the popularly marketed feminine hygiene products. This might aggravate your problem. So, let the doctors do what they do the best!
Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and safe pregnancy!