Vaginal discharge is present throughout your cycle. However, this discharge changes during the early stages of your pregnancy. This special type of discharge is called leukorrhea. This is a thin and milky white substance. Although the term is widely used during pregnancy, leukorrhea can also be found in non-pregnant women.
The amount of cervical fluid during pregnancy increases and turns into something called the mucus plug over time. This mucus plug protects your baby from infections and breaks down during delivery.
Vaginal discharge, especially around the time of a missed period, may be a sign of pregnancy. Changes in vaginal discharge around this time are caused by increased estrogen. This boost of estrogen also stimulates the blood flow to your pelvic area, which ultimately leads to increased discharge.
If your period is several days late, a proper pregnancy test can confirm conception. Relying solely on cervical discharge is not an accurate way to determine if you're pregnant.
Based on research, it’s safe to assume that a majority of newly pregnant women have a sufficient amount of human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) to be detected by certain pregnancy tests 7 to 10 days after ovulation. At this time, you can try to confirm pregnancy with a very sensitive home pregnancy test.
However, testing this early may result in a false negative, particularly if ovulation occured a little later than you estimate. A false negative usually happens when your hCG production is on the lower end, or when implantation hasn’t occurred yet. So, if you choose to test as early as seven days after ovulation and don't get a positive result, you should test again in a couple of days, just to make sure.
These are the most common early symptoms and signs of pregnancy:
- Missed period. If you're in your childbearing years and one week or more has passed since you expected your period to start, you may be pregnant.
- Swollen or tender breasts. Hormonal changes may make your breasts sore and sensitive early in pregnancy. This discomfort is likely to decrease after a couple of weeks as your body adjusts to various hormonal changes.
- Increased urination. You may urinate more often than usual. Starting in the early weeks of pregnancy, the expanding uterus presses on your bladder, causing you to pee more often.
- Nausea with or without vomiting. Note that morning sickness, which may strike at any time, usually begins around the 6th week of pregnancy. That being said, many women can feel nausea a little earlier, while some do not experience it at all.
- Fatigue. Fatigue tends to rank high among the many early symptoms of pregnancy.
An early sign of pregnancy is implantation bleeding, which occurs when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine lining. However, implantation bleeding does not require any medical treatment. In fact, this symptom is usually confused with getting an early period. Once a sperm fertilizes the egg, they form what is called an embryo. The embryo travels to the uterus and implants itself into the uterine lining, which can cause some bleeding. But not all women experience implantation bleeding.
Some of the signs of implantation include:
- a brownish or pinking discharge
- mild stomach cramps
- mood swings
Implantation bleeding is a normal part of pregnancy and doesn't have any negative effect on the development of the baby. However, heavy bleeding is a cause for concern. If you experience chills, fever or severe cramping, get in touch with your doctor right away.
Leukorrhea is a type of early pregnancy discharge. This sign of pregnancy is often milky white, thin, and generally harmless. There are, however, some parameters of leukorrhea as an early sign of pregnancy you need to pay attention to, as this vaginal discharge can also be an early indication of infection.
If you note a strong smelling, yellowish or green discharge which is also accompanied by itching or redness, it could signal a vaginal infection. These infections can take place during any stage of pregnancy. Candidiasis is one of the most common infections pregnant women get. Candidiasis is more commonly known as a yeast infection. An STI could also lead to an abnormal discharge and cause vaginal discomfort.
- Never use tampons when you’re pregnant as this could expose the vagina to germs.
- Don’t douche as it disrupts the normal balance of good bacteria in the vagina.
- Avoid making self-diagnosis and don't begin treatment unless advised by a doctor.
However, you can use panty liners to feel more comfortable during pregnancy.
Some women notice a lot of discharge during early pregnancy. However, others might have little to no discharge. Both are completely normal. We all have different bodies, and not every pegnant woman will produce discharge. In fact, every pregnancy is different and the amount of mucus your cervix produces depends on a whole range of factors.
Typically, vaginal discharge fluctuates in sync with changing estrogen levels over the course of the menstrual cycle. Since your estrogen levels change during pregnancy, the amount of discharge can change, too. This means changes in discharge aren't a reliable way to detect pregnancy. The the only way to confirm your pregnancy is to take a test.
Make an appointment to see your doctor, if you observe any abnormal vaginal discharge. Symptoms to check for include:
- Feeling fatigued or sick
- A greenish or yellow discharge
- Lower abdominal pain
- Any blisters or rashes in the vaginal area
Any time you experience heavy or abnormal vaginal discharge, make a point to see your doctor. This is particularly important if the discharge is accompanied by a strong or foul smell.