Is pregnancy vaginal discharge normal?
Yes, it is normal to have more vaginal discharge while pregnant. The cervical discharge may start increasing as soon 1 to 2 weeks after you conceive. The discharge may become heavier as the pregnancy progresses and is at its heaviest during the later stages of pregnancy.
The vaginal discharge while pregnant increases as your body produces more estrogen and the blood flow to the vaginal area is increased. Cervical changes during pregnancy may also affect the discharge from the vagina. As the cervix and the walls of the vagina soften, your body produces extra pregnancy discharge to help prevent the infections. The head of your baby may also press against your cervix towards the end of your pregnancy which may often result in the increase of vaginal discharge.
The pregnancy discharge consists of vaginal and cervical secretions, normal bacteria present in the vagina and old vaginal cells.
Can vaginal discharge be a sign of pregnancy?
An increase in cervical discharge is among the earliest signs and symptoms of pregnancy. The cervical fluid when pregnant may increase as soon as 1 to 2 weeks after you conceive and the discharge may become more apparent as the pregnancy progresses.
Types of pregnancy discharge
During pregnancy, the blood flow to the cervical area is increased. This leads to an increase in the secretion of cervical fluid during pregnancy, which results in an increased pregnancy discharge. You should not get concerned about this increased vaginal discharge while pregnant as it is common during pregnancy and is harmless.
This discharge is clear or milky white, thin or mucus-like and mild smelling and it helps in keeping your vagina clean and preventing infections.
You should visit your physician if you have a pregnancy discharge with an unpleasant and strong smell or an unusual color.
The show is the mucus plug, which seals the cervix during your pregnancy and helps prevent the occurrence of infections. It is usually released during the later part of pregnancy as you are approaching labor. The mucus plug to seal the cervix forms early during pregnancy (at around 7th week) and when it loosens and start coming out, it indicates that labor may begin soon. Labor may begin soon after the mucus plug is discharged, or even one to two weeks later.
The show is thick mucus that may be tinged with streaks of blood. It may be stringy or sticky in consistency. If you release the cervical mucus plug, it’s a good idea to visit your physician as they may assess how much time has left for your labor to begin. It becomes even more important to visit your physician if you notice any vaginal bleeding.
Another type of pregnancy discharge that may occur anytime during your pregnancy is the leakage of amniotic fluid. It is the liquid, which surrounds your fetus in the uterus. It helps in the proper development of the baby. Leakage of amniotic fluid may feel like gushing or slow trickling of a warm fluid from your vagina. It is usually odorless and clear but may contain traces of mucus or blood.
Leaking amniotic fluid can be dangerous for you and your baby at any point during your pregnancy. While you may naturally leak a small amount of fluid, losing too much can be harmful.
You should visit your physician immediately if the discharge of cervical fluid while pregnant is brownish yellow or green-tinged. This may indicate that your baby has passed stool in the uterus, which may cause breathing complications in the baby at birth.
Yeast infection discharge
Hormonal changes during pregnancy may affect the pH of the vagina, which increases its susceptibility to pathogenic microorganisms that may lead to infections such as candida. Hence, during pregnancy, you are more prone to get yeast infections, particularly during the second trimester.
Yeast infection, also called thrush, may cause pregnancy discharge that is thick, white and appears like cottage cheese. The other symptoms and signs of thrush are itching around and in your vagina, redness and soreness around the vagina, stinging sensations during urination and pain while having sex.
You should visit your physician if your symptoms of cervical discharge during pregnancy are due to a yeast infection. They may prescribe antifungal creams and suppositories suitable for the stage of your pregnancy.
Spotting is the passage of trace amount of red, dark brown or pink blood during pregnancy. It is lighter in comparison to your menses. During pregnancy, spotting may be caused by a variety of factors. Around 20 percent of pregnant females notice spotting during the first trimester and it may occur due to implantation bleeding, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, and unknown causes. During the second trimester, spotting may occur due to cervical irritation usually after a cervical exam or having sex and a cervical polyp. Spotting during the third trimester may occur after a cervical exam or having sex. It may also occur when there is a passage of the cervical mucus plug or show.
You should visit your physician if you experience spotting or vaginal bleeding any time during your pregnancy. Heavy vaginal bleeding during the second trimester may indicate medical emergencies such as placenta previa, late miscarriage, and premature labor and require immediate medical attention. Similarly, heavy bleeding during the third trimester also requires emergency medical attention as its cause may be placenta previa, vasa previa, and placental abruption.
Vaginal hygiene during pregnancy
Increased cervical discharge is among the normal and temporary changes of pregnancy. You may not do anything particular about it. If it is troubling and irritating you, you may try using unscented panty liners. You may also change your undergarments more often.
Try the following tips to maintain vaginal hygiene and manage increased cervical fluid while pregnant:
• Keep your vulva (outer genital area) and the perineum (area located between the anus and vagina) clean.
• Use water and mild, unscented soap or an emollient while washing the genitals. Wash gently and do not scrub your genitals.
• Don’t use vaginal deodorants, perfumed bubble baths or scented wipes on the vaginal area.
• Avoid douching the vagina (rinsing the vagina). This irritates the vaginal lining and upsets the natural balance of bacteria. Normal vaginal discharge is quite acidic and the presence of good bacteria keeps the harmful bacteria away. Altering this natural balance may result in inflammation and infection.
• Wear cotton undergarments.
• Wear loose clothing that allows air to pass through.
• Always dry your genital area after bathing or showering, exercising or swimming.
• Don’t use tampons during pregnancy as they may introduce germs in your vagina.