The vagina naturally starts producing discharge around puberty. Then, as your levels of hormones increase and decrease throughout your life, the quantity and frequency of your discharge will also ebb and flow.
Discharge during pregnancy is slightly different, though. Here’s a fun fact: You’ll probably experience an increase in the white, creamy substance, according to Dr. Charlsie Celestine, obstetrician and gynecologist, New Jersey, US. It’s just one of the many clever ways that your body changes as it prepares for having a baby, and it’s absolutely normal.
In this article, Dr. Celestine explains why discharge is important during pregnancy, what different-colored vaginal discharge might mean, and when (or if) you should seek medical help.
What’s considered normal discharge during pregnancy?
Before we get started, rest assured that an increase in whitish, creamy vaginal discharge during pregnancy is completely normal.
“Almost every pregnant woman starts to have vaginal discharge, even if they’ve never had it before,” explains Dr. Celestine. She adds that it’s actually one of the elements of pregnancy that her patients notice the most and always want to learn more about — so you’re not the only one who’s experiencing this pregnancy symptom.
But why does this happen? Well, the reason your vagina starts to produce more discharge during early pregnancy is that pregnancy triggers an increase in hormones like estrogen and progesterone — the chemicals your body needs to start growing a baby. Estrogen, among other things, signals to your vagina that it needs to produce extra mucus because cervical mucus (aka vaginal discharge) is good for protecting your baby during pregnancy. It prevents things such as bacteria from going up into the vagina and cervix by creating a mucus plug that seals off the uterus, where your baby is developing. The human body is smart, right?
Is it normal to have an excessive amount of vaginal discharge during pregnancy?
Everybody has different amounts of discharge during pregnancy, and Dr. Celestine advises that there’s no such thing as “excessive” vaginal discharge. “Everybody’s a little bit different,” she says.
You might also notice that your vaginal discharge increases as your pregnancy goes on. This is also very common, as the estrogen hormones continue to increase.