Pregnancy has a profound effect on women’s bodies, and one of these is pregnancy discharge. When is it all right, and when must pregnant women tell their OB/GYN about the vaginal discharge? Learn the different types of discharges and the best time to call your doctor.
Five Pregnancy Discharge Types and Why They Happen
In This Article:
1. Mucus Discharge
Being pregnant is enough to cause a lot of changes on the body, and in many cases, women can experience pregnancy discharge. One of the most common is the mucus discharge.
It happens when there is a higher-than-normal amount of blood flow into the area of the cervix. This can lead to increased vaginal discharge than when you’re not yet pregnant. It can occur during early pregnancy and the last trimester. The fluid helps cleanse the interior of the vagina.
You can identify a mucus discharge by its milky white appearance that has a light musky scent. This is a normal discharge, but it can cause irritation. You can relieve the discomfort by washing with non-irritating cleanser and clear water, changing your underwear frequently, and wearing panty liners.
When You Should Call Your Doctor: Usually, this type of discharge is harmless. What you need to watch out for is the quality of the cervical mucus. If it has a strong or foul smell, contact your health care provider immediately. A discharge color that is yellow, green, white, or gray may also be a cause for concern.
Pregnancy Discharge from Yeast Infection
Another common vaginal discharge during pregnancy is due to yeast. Pregnancy symptoms can result in hormonal changes. These, in turn, can alter the pH balance in the vaginal area. It makes it easier to develop a yeast infection.
It’s not uncommon, but prevention is much easier than a cure for pregnant women. Your body is the most susceptible during the second trimester of the pregnancy.
Wiping from back to front spreads potentially infection-causing organisms, so wiping from front to back must become a regular practice after bowel movements. In addition, wear cotton underwear.
Yeast infections often cause an unpleasant odor along with a foul-smelling pregnancy vaginal discharge that is white. The texture may take on the appearance of cottage cheese, or it may remain thin. There is usually itching and irritation.
When You Should Call Your Doctor: See your doctor right away as it can take two weeks before the condition clears up. The doctor can diagnose a yeast infection by testing that uses a swab on the vaginal area. If confirmed, the OB/GYN may recommend vaginal creams, which are often over-the-counter medications.
Along with cramping, spotting is a frightening event for any pregnant woman. This is a type of pregnancy discharge that happens most often during the first trimester of the pregnancy. It may be a normal vaginal discharge when you deal with only small amounts.
It is a discharge that has a pale pink or brown color. The causes of spotting are generally from a vaginal infection such as bacterial vaginosis or sexual intercourse. It can also occur when there are tears on the vaginal wall.
When You Should Call Your Doctor: If the color of the pregnancy discharge is red, then you must contact your doctor right away. It is possible to have a menstrual cycle during the first trimester of the pregnancy, but this is very rare. It must be confirmed by your OB/GYN or midwife to be certain. Any bleeding during pregnancy is worth a call to your doctor because it can be the first one of the symptoms of pregnancy complications. These can include placenta previa (early detachment), ectopic pregnancy, or miscarriage.
Show is a type of pregnancy discharge that occurs when the mucus plug that has formed to seal the cervix during pregnancy loosens and becomes expelled. It remains in place to protect the baby safe and keep out potential infection.
A discharge of the mucus plug means your cervix has begun to open, and it is a precursor to labor. For first pregnancies, show can be a sign that labor will begin within a few hours or up to a week.
The mucus plug may be sticky or stringy in texture. The color is generally clear or pink. It may also be a blood-tinged discharge.
When You Should Call Your Doctor: If you think you may be experiencing show, you must call your healthcare provider right away. He or she will examine you to determine if the cervix has dilated and if you’re close to active labor. Any bleeding with show may be a normal discharge if you’re close to full-term, but see a doctor to be safe.
5. Pregnancy Amniotic Fluid
Pregnant women can experience a leak of amniotic fluid at any point in the pregnancy. It generally happens in the second and third trimesters of the pregnancy and is more common as the due date approaches.
Many women sometimes confuse the amniotic fluid discharge with a urine leak. There are differences, however. Amniotic fluid leaks do not produce the sensation of urinating, but the discharge is warm, and you will immediately feel wetness.
The appearance can range from a clear to a cloudy-looking fluid that may be tinged with blood. It may also be a green, light pink, or yellow discharge. The watery discharge usually doesn’t have any smell, though some have reported a slightly sweet scent.
When You Should Call Your Doctor: If you think the pregnancy discharge is amniotic fluid, it is a cue to go straight to the maternity ward or the hospital you plan to have your baby. You will receive a thorough examination, especially to determine if is amniotic or urine. There is a risk of infection when the amniotic sac has been ruptured. If you are close to your delivery date, your OB/GYN may monitor you and your baby’s health and take the appropriate precautions and measures.
A pregnancy discharge may be an amniotic fluid leak, but what is this fluid really? Get the answer from this Today I Found Out video:
Pregnancy discharge occurs as a natural part of the process. Hormonal changes can increase the vaginal discharge during pregnancy, but many are not worrisome. They may be necessary to clean the vagina. Nevertheless, knowing the difference between normal and abnormal discharge can keep you and your baby healthy.
Have you experienced pregnancy discharge? How did you deal with it? We’d like to hear your stories!