Pregnancy can cause changes in vaginal discharge, which can differ in colour, texture, and volume. A rise in vaginal discharge is usually among the earliest indications of pregnancy.
Some colour changes are typical, while others could be an indication of infection or some other problem.
Colour is one of the most apparent changes that can occur during pregnancy, and vaginal discharge can come in various colours, such as:
- Clear or milky white
- Green or yellow
- White and lumpy
In this article, we will talk about vaginal discharge during pregnancy, including what the various colours of the vaginal discharge mean and when you should visit a doctor.
What does normal discharge mean?
It is typical to have discharge at several stages of your menstrual cycle as well as during pregnancy. Healthy vaginal discharge, also known as leukorrhea, is thin and transparent or white and has a soft odour. The quantity of discharge rises during pregnancy to lessen the dangers of vaginal and uterine infections.
The discharge becomes heavier in the ultimate weeks of pregnancy when it might contain pink mucus. The mucus is ordinarily moist and jelly-like in density, and it suggests that the body is getting ready for childbirth.
Discharge colours and what they mean
The various colours of vaginal discharge may reveal different health problems, and these include:
Clear or milky white
This colour indicates leukorrhea, which is often a healthy discharge, particularly if it smells mild. Nevertheless, any alterations in its quantity or density could imply that there is a problem.
A pregnant woman who isn’t yet at full term should visit a doctor if she notices an increase in the clear discharge that flows continuously or the discharge becomes thick and jelly-like. These changes could indicate preterm labor.
White and lumpy
Vaginal discharge that is heavy and white or off-white can suggest a yeast infection. Yeast infections are widespread, and the body is incredibly vulnerable to them during pregnancy. Other signs include burning, itching, and painful urination or sex.
Green or yellow
Green or yellow vaginal discharge isn’t healthy and indicates a sexually transmitted infection (STI), like chlamydia or trichomoniasis. Other apparent signs include redness or irritation in the genitals. STIs occasionally do not result in any symptoms.
Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), STIs can induce complications during pregnancy that can affect the mother as well as the child. These complications sometimes do not emerge until years after the delivery.
Nevertheless, they can have an effect on the nervous system and growth of the child and prompt infertility in the woman. Sometimes, pregnant women might think that they have yellow discharge when they are simply emitting little amounts of urine.
So be sure if you have a yellow or green discharge before visiting your doctor. However, if you aren’t certain about it, you can see your doctor for a checkup.
Gray vaginal discharge may suggest a vaginal infection known as bacterial vaginosis (BV), especially if it also has a fishy odor that gets more vigorous after intercourse. BV occurs as a result of bacterial imbalance in the vagina.
Douching and having numerous sexual partners are also risk factors that can prompt BV. This is the most widespread vaginal infection during childbearing years.
When the discharge is brown, it’s because of the old blood leaving the body. This can be an early indication that you are pregnant. Brown discharge during pregnancy isn’t commonly a thing to be worried about. Nevertheless, pregnant women who experience dark brown discharge should reach out to their doctor.
Pink discharge during pregnancy might or might not be normal. Discharge with a pink tone usually happens during early pregnancy or in the last weeks as the body get ready for labor. It can also occur during an ectopic pregnancy or before a miscarriage.
An examination with about 4,510 participants establishes that spotting and light events of bleeding during the first trimester, particularly those that occur for only 1 – 2 days, doesn’t correspond with an elevated risk of miscarriage. Other factors of light spotting during pregnancy involve vaginal infections and sexual intercourse.
Red vaginal discharge during pregnancy requires immediate attention, particularly if the bleeding is thick, contains lumps, or happens along with cramping and abdominal pain. These symptoms indicate a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Nearly 10 – 15 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage.
Other factors of red discharge might be less severe, particularly during the first trimester, which could be caused by implantation or infection. Researches suggest that between 7 – 24 percent of women bleed during the early stage of pregnancy.
Bleeding later in pregnancy may imply potentially urgent problems or preterm labor, requiring immediate medical attention.
How to manage vaginal discharge during pregnancy
An increase in the quantity of mild-smelling vaginal discharge during pregnancy is natural, but odd colours and smells usually indicate infection. A doctor can specify antibiotics or other medications to deal with diseases in this region of the body.
Women can manage vaginal health during pregnancy by following these steps:
- Stop making use of tampons
- Avoiding douching
- Choose unscented care products and feminine hygiene items, such as unscented toilet paper, soaps, and many more
- Wear panty liners to soak up excess discharge
- Clean your genital region from front to back after urinating or stooling
- Dry the genitals thoroughly after bathing or swimming
- Wear underwear manufactured from a breathable fabric
- Avoid wearing tight jeans and nylon pantyhose because it increases the chance of infection
- Consume a healthy diet and avoid excess sugar as this can facilitate yeast infections
- Try probiotic foods and supplements that are safe to eat during pregnancy to help prevent bacterial unevenness in the vagina
When you should visit your doctor
It is important to discuss any unusual discharge with your doctor because this symptom might indicate an infection that needs treatment or a problem associated with the pregnancy. Infections can cause severe complications without proper treatment.
An increase in vaginal discharge during pregnancy is common. However, unusual discharge, along with intense odors or irritation in the vagina and abdomen is usually indicative of a health problem. This is also the same for discharge that has colours such as green, yellow, or gray.
Kindly visit your doctor if you experience spotting or bleeding that is thick and occurs for more than a day, or appear along with cramps and pain.