Women experience changes in their vaginal discharge during pregnancy. It is important to be mindful of what is normal and when to seek medical assistance.
When pregnant, your body goes through a variety of intense changes. Soon after conceiving, you’re likely going to notice a change in your vaginal discharge. Knowing what to expect will help you navigate each stage of your pregnancy with confidence.
What is normal discharge?
Changes in discharge can occur as quickly as two weeks after conception and might appear even before a missed period. Discharge during pregnancy is called leukorrhea. Leukorrhea might appear different than the discharge you are used to. It is thin, white, milky and might have a mild smell. If you experience this discharge during your pregnancy, it is nothing to be worried about.
Discharge will likely increase during pregnancy, and it will become heavier as your pregnancy progresses. If this increase becomes uncomfortable, you can wear an unscented panty liner. The only major changes in the appearance of leukorrhea might occur in the final weeks of pregnancy when your discharge may be streaked with thick mucus and blood. This is known as “show” and is simply an early sign of labor.
There are certain steps you can take during your pregnancy to ensure your discharge remains healthy and normal. First, do not use tampons for spotting or discharge as they introduce new germs into the vagina that can be harmful. Avoid douching as well as this interrupts the pH levels in the vagina and can lead to infection. Finally, do not attempt to treat any infections yourself if you suspect you have one. Always consult a medical professional before using at home treatments or over the counter medications.
What to look for
When pregnant, you should pay particular attention to any changes in your discharge. Your body is going through a number of hormonal changes. As the cervix and vaginal walls soften, the body increases production of discharge to fight infections. These changes are normal and are likely to increase throughout pregnancy. However, being mindful of your discharge throughout your pregnancy can help you recognize any abnormalities.
Normal leukorrhea is white in color. If you notice your discharge appears yellowish or green, this can be a sign of an infection. In addition, if your discharge possesses a strong odor, this is another sign of an infection. Finally, if you experience any vaginal itching or redness, this is a sign that something is wrong.
Luckily, most of these abnormal symptoms are indicative of a minor infection such as a candidiasis, or a yeast infection. However, you should never try to treat any infections yourself as you can disrupt the imbalance further. Always make an appointment with a health care provider to address any changes in your discharge.
Abnormal discharge also might be a sign of an STD, which would require a testing by a health care professional. In rare cases, abnormal discharge might indicate a complication in your pregnancy. You should seek immediate medical attention if you have bright red discharge that exceeds an ounce. Ultimately, if you have any doubts, you should reach out to your doctor to determine if you need to be concerned about changes in your discharge during pregnancy.
Being aware of what is and isn’t normal when it comes to pregnancy discharge can help you avoid serious complications. Stay mindful of the changes occurring in your body and always seek professional help is something seems off to you.