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How Does the Discharge Look Like in Early Pregnancy?

Reviewed on 2/22/2021
Vaginal discharge is the fluid coming out of the vagina.
Vaginal discharge is the fluid coming out of the vagina.

There is increased vaginal discharge during pregnancy that can often be noticed on the underwear. The discharge is thin, watery, or milky white during early pregnancy. The discharge has no offensive odor. Though in some women, a mild odor may be present. The discharge is not associated with pain or itching. If you feel uncomfortable because of the constant wetness, you can use panty liners or soft cotton underwear. You must, however, avoid using tampons or douching because they can cause infections.

The amount of discharge may vary with the duration of pregnancy. Toward the end of pregnancy, there is an increase in the quantity of vaginal discharge. During the last few days of pregnancy, there may be thick mucus-like discharges. There may also be fine streaks of blood. This happens when the mucus plug present in the cervix is pushed out toward the end of pregnancy. It is also called “show.” It is a sign that the body is preparing for childbirth.

Is it normal to have vaginal discharge during pregnancy?

Vaginal discharge is the fluid coming out of the vagina. All women have some amount of vaginal discharge. It is produced by tiny glands present in the uterus (womb), cervix (the mouth of the uterus), and vagina.

During pregnancy, women report an increased vaginal discharge. This occurs due to various reasons. The levels of the hormone progesterone increase during pregnancy, causing the increased vaginal discharge. Also, there is softening of the walls of the vagina and cervix, which causes an increased discharge. The role of the vaginal discharge during pregnancy is to flush away any harmful infection from the vagina. This prevents the spread of infection to the mother and the baby. Thus, it is normal to have increased vaginal discharge during pregnancy. You must, however, keep an eye on any change in the vaginal discharge, such as spotting, yellowing, frothing of discharge. Report to your doctor or midwife immediately.

When should I worry about my vaginal discharge during pregnancy?

Any abnormal change in the appearance or nature of your discharge must be brought to your midwife’s or doctor’s notice. You must seek medical help if:

  • The discharge has an offensive smell.
  • There is a presence of blood in the vaginal discharge.
  • The discharge appears foamy or cheese-like.
  • The discharge is accompanied by abdominal pain or cramps.
  • The discharge appears yellow, green, or brown.
  • There is severe itching, rashes, or redness associated with the discharge.
  • You develop fever or chills along with the discharge.

Is it normal to have bleeding or spotting during pregnancy?

The presence of a few spots or streaks of blood may be normal during the early and late stages of the pregnancy. However, bleeding or spotting may be signs of serious problems, such as a miscarriage. Thus, you must contact your doctor if you see blood or pinkish or brownish vaginal discharge.

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References
NCT. Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy: Your Questions Answered. https://www.nct.org.uk/pregnancy/worries-and-discomforts/common-discomforts/vaginal-discharge-during-pregnancy-your-questions-answered

Watson S. Pregnancy Discharge: Color and Texture Changes. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/women/features/pregnancy-discharge-changes#1

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