Pregnancy Discharge

Vaginal discharge during pregnancy is common and here are a few facts about it that every pregnant woman must know.

Last Updated: Oct 22, 2020 11:29 GMT

Pregnancy Discharge
Pregnancy Discharge

Vaginal discharge can speak about the gynecological condition and the reproductive health of women. The characteristics of it like color, consistency and smell are potential clues to what’s happening inside the body. 

What is vaginal discharge?

The hormonal changes during normal menstrual cycle and during pregnancy give out a characteristic fluid discharge from the vagina called as leukorrhea. Leukorrhea is a thin to thick, odourless or musky-smelling, white and milky fluid. It maintains the acidic pH of the vaginal floor which kills harmful microbes. It also helps in lubrication.

What causes leukorrhea in pregnancy?

The rise in estrogen levels in early pregnancy result in increased blood flow to the pelvic area and vagina, thus increasing the amount of leukorrhea.  It is a secretion of the cervical glands and Bartholin’s glands (present near the opening of the vagina) and contains vaginal cells that are scrapped off by the action of normal, healthy bacteria present in the vagina. 

When is vaginal discharge in pregnancy normal?

Leukorrhea is common among pregnant women and is usually harmless. It can be one of the early signs of pregnancy. Most pregnant women have vaginal discharge of the amount of a full teaspoon liquid every day. As long as it is mild-smelling and white in color, it should not be a concern to worry.

When is vaginal discharge a sign of a problem during pregnancy?

You must contact your healthcare provider immediately if the vaginal discharge:

·         is greenish or yellowish in color

·         gives out an unpleasant odor

·         causes  an itching or burning sensation, pain, swelling or soreness in the vagina

·         is secreted in unusually high amounts

·         makes sex or urination uncomfortable or painful

The signs above can indicate an underlying harmful condition such as yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis or sexually transmitted diseases.

How does pregnancy discharge look like during mucus plug release?

Towards the end of pregnancy, when labor is nearing, the mucus plug which protected the cervix throughout pregnancy gets released. This is generally described as a glob of thick mucus which looks like raw egg white or mucus from a runny nose and is usually pinkish or brownish in color. It can be a sign that labor is near, anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

How is amniotic fluid leakage distinguished from pregnancy discharge?

In some women, water may break before or during labor or rarely, it can sign pre-term labor. It can be distinguished from luekorrhea by a stream or trickle of a clear or yellowish fluid which is usually odorless. Contact your OB or midwife immediately if you sense leakage of water.

What can you do about pregnancy discharge?

You need not do anything about pregnancy discharge as long as it feels, looks and smells normal. If you notice something unusual, however, consult with your healthcare provider. Other do’s and don’ts are:

·         Use a panty liner if the discharge feels uncomfortable in your underwear

·         Do not use tampons as it may introduce infections

·         Do not wipe or douch down there; the vaginal bacteria are essential to keep the place free of other pathogens

 

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