Discharge in pregnancy is almost like a crystal ball to a lot of ladies. We’re going to talk about color, consistency and how it relates to the changes your body goes through during pregnancy.
Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy
First off – let’s talk a bit about why pregnancy discharge is different than regular discharge.
During pregnancy, you have a lot higher blood volume, in order to get enough blood to your baby and still function as a human at the same time.
Because of that, all of your tissues — and especially mucous membranes (think, mouth, vagina, bowel, nose) bleed a lot easier. Plus, they’re just sort of different (a lot of people say their mouth tastes different during pregnancy, and that might be part of it). Your vagina is working to create a mucus plug and to make sure your baby stays safe too. So, all of those things combine to make some serious changes (it also makes it so you have more bloody noses).
How do I know all this (and frankly, as I write this I’m a little sad I do know this much)? I’m Hilary — I’ve been an L&D nurse since 2001 and vaginal discharge is just a part of my daily work grind. A lot of women have concerns about it — so I thought it would be interesting to write an article. I’d love to join you on your pregnancy:
Questions to ask about Vaginal Discharge
I would recommend thinking about a few things:
What symptoms are accompanying the vaginal discharge?
If you’re experiencing things like:
Then, all of that means a lot more than just discharge alone.
Cramping with Vaginal Discharge:
If you’re having bleeding along with cramping (unless you’re past 35’ish weeks) it can be an indicator of preterm labor and you’d want to speak to your health care provider.
Itching with Vaginal Discharge
Itching can be an indicator of a yeast infection or some other type of infection. Again, you’d want to speak with your physician before you treat it.
Burning with Vaginal Discharge
Burning can also be a sign of infection along with the discharge.
All of those symptoms would certainly be something to bring to your doctor’s attention. Infections of your vagina can put you into preterm labor, and need to be treated.
It can also be a sign of a bladder infection too!
Also, many women have STD’s that need serious attention before baby is born.
Soapbox moment: I am seeing a lot of women with serious sexually transmitted infections treating them as unimportant and not getting prompt treatment (or taking the medication, or not having their partner take the medicine). This is VERY concerning as providers.
Your health is up to you, and you need to follow your doctor’s instructions!
If you’re looking for more info about pregnancy from about your third trimester through your first months post-baby — I recommend this class. Thousands of mammas have adored it and I think you’ll find it so helpful too!
Does the vaginal discharge smell?
Yup, it’s super gross. But your vaginal discharge smell is a strong indicator if is nothing important, or something you need to speak with your provider about.
If your discharge has a specific smell — foul, or like fish… or something along those lines, you need to call your provider.
Other things that can cause vaginal discharge
Prescriptions can cause a change in discharge. Especially if they’re vaginal suppositories like progesterone (my friend Katie has a great post about using progesterone during pregnancy)
Pregnancy Discharge Color
You may find a whole rainbow of colors in your panties…. and most aren’t anything to be concerned about.
BTW, I LOVE the Dollar Maxi Pad store’s pantiliners. My favorite BAR NONE. I’d totally wear some during pregnancy — just as things are “different” down there.
Yellow discharge during pregnancy
Yellow discharge is often clear/white when it comes out — but as it dries, it’s yellowish.
If not accompanied by any of the symptoms I mentioned above, it isn’t usually an issue. If you find it bothersome, I’d certainly wear a pantiliner and speak to your doctor at your next appointment.
Clear pregnancy discharge
This is very normal.
Because of the increased blood flow — it’s just part of that.
As you get closer to the end of your pregnancy — you might wonder if it’s discharge or if your water has broken.
All of that is really normal.
In your later weeks of pregnancy, you will have a LOT of discharge, and it’s super annoying. Just be aware it’s normal. Did I mention my favorite pantiliners come to your house for just a buck?
Pink discharge during pregnancy
Often this has some red in it. Small amounts of blood are OK. If you have bleeding that’s much bigger than a quarter, I would call your provider.
Often your vaginal wall tissues can be irritated by things like sex, wiping aggressively, walking…. frankly, sneezing. There is just a LOT of blood flow to those tissues, so it’s not unusual.
Also, bright red blood is more worrisome than brown….
Brown discharge during pregnancy
That is usually older blood. As blood dries and oxidizes it turns brown.
That means the bleeding isn’t new.
Small amounts are normal, they can even be losing your mucus plug. But, large amounts are something you should probably call about.
Thick white discharge
This can sometimes be a yeast infection.
Again, really important to note a change in smell or any other symptoms with it.
Is discharge a sign of pregnancy?
I don’t find that you can really tell if you are pregnant based on your discharge. There are a lot of other early pregnancy symptoms that are a bit more trustworthy (as is a positive pregnancy test).
Discharge in early pregnancy
As those tissues get more blood flow it’s normal to get changes in discharge during early pregnancy. Totally normal.
Wrap-up: What’s the take-home about vaginal discharge during pregnancy?
The MOST important thing is to take into consideration the WHOLE picture.
The symptoms, the color of it, how you’re feeling, etc.
As you monitor your pregnancy, it’s not normally just ONE thing that’s out of whack. Usually, your body shows you in a few ways — so just be mindful.
And of course, keep hydrated, and do your kick counts to make sure baby is safe!
Come join me in this class. We’ll learn a lot more about what your body will go through, including pregnancy, delivery and after baby. You can even save 10% with code PC10. And check out my other pregnancy posts.