Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy: Is It Normal?
It is not uncommon for you to see a increase of vaginal discharge during pregnancy – so you shouldn’t be alarmed if you do all of a sudden notice an increase.
The discharge is called leukorrhea and is a mild smelling milky discharge, which you would have noticed before on your underwear prior to falling pregnant. During pregnancy this increases – largely due to the increase in estrogen production and greater blood flow to the vaginal area. Vaginal discharge is made up of secretions from the cervix and vagina containing old cells from the walls of the vagina and normal bacterial flora from the vagina.
Will It Change As I Approach Labor?
It is also not uncommon for this discharge to increase as you approach labor, although the appearance will change slightly.
As you approach your due date your cervix begins to efface – thin out – and dilate and as it does this it will expel the mucus plug. You will notice a discharge that looks like egg white or mucus from a runny nose on a cold day. This discharge might be tinged with a bit of blood. It is also not uncommon for you to lose your mucous plug in one gelatinous glob.
When Should I Call My Health Care Provider?
If you are seeing lots of thin, watery clear discharge, then you may be leaking amniotic fluid – although this is not always the case. If you have any doubt, contact your health care provider.
If you have yet to hit your 37th week and you notice a sudden increase in discharge, or there is a change in the appearance in your discharge – if it becomes watery, looks like mucus or bloody then you should call your health care provider. This can be a sign of preterm labor.
If your discharge is whitish discharge and is causing you discomfort such as itching or burning – or your vulva looks inflamed – then you might have a yeast infection.
If your discharge is foul-smelling, frothy or yellow, green, or gray, you might have a different kind of vaginal infection or a sexually transmitted infection.
If you notice any of the above you must call your health care provider as soon as possible. Do not try and treat the problem yourself with over the counter medication!
Can I Stop The Discharge?
You cant stop the flow, but if you are experiencing heavy discharge then you can use panty liners. Do not by any circumstances use tampons while you are pregnant.
There are a number of things which you can do to try and help prevent any complications from surfacing:
- Keep your genital area clean by always wiping front to back
- Wear cotton underwear
- Avoid tight pants, nylons, bubble bath, scented pads or toilet paper, feminine hygiene sprays, and scented or deodorant soaps
- Dont douche