While vaginal discharge is common during pregnancy, an increased flow can get you worried at times. During pregnancy, your cervix and the vaginal walls turn softer, and the discharge helps to ward off any infections that may be traveling from your vagina to the womb.
Many women start experiencing a heavy vaginal discharge in their second and third trimester, which is completely harmless and similar to what you experienced before you were pregnant. Though it might not always be a cause of concern, it is important to look out for obvious signs, so you can get medical help in time.
Normal Vaginal Discharge
Vaginal discharge that happens during early pregnancy is called leucorrhoea. It is a thin, milky white discharge that may have a mild odor. As you near your due date, your baby’s head will start pressing the cervix and you may experience an increased flow which would be thick, sticky and look like mucus. Sometimes it would be so heavy that you might wet your pants and feel like you’ve passed urine.
At the end of your pregnancy, during the last week in particular, you may notice streaks of blood in your discharge. Thick mucus fills up your cervix in your pregnancy and in the last week, or even before that, this mucus comes away, leading to a reddish brown discharge that is also known as a ‘bloody show’. This indicates that your body is ready for labor and you must inform your doctor at once.
Discharge Due To An Infection
Many pregnant women also suffer from a vaginal infection called candidiasis, which is a yeast infection. The discharge in this case may turn yellowish or greenish and may have a strong odor. It would be accompanied with itching or redness around the area. Abnormal vaginal discharge during pregnancy could also be indicative of an STD.
When To Call The Doctor
Notify your doctor immediately if you feel that there is a change in your regular vaginal discharge. It could be a change in flow or color, there could be a distinctly offensive smell or it might be accompanied with other symptoms such as pain or itching. If you notice spotting or bleeding, speak to your doctor, even though it could be a normal occurrence.
Keep Yourself Clean
While you can’t do anything to stop the discharge, you can maintain good hygiene. Here’s what you can do:
- Keep your genital area dry and clean all the time. Always clean from front to back to ward off any infection.
- Avoid using scented soaps or wipes to clean the area. Ask your doctor if you need a hygienic wash for your private parts.
- Use disposable panty liners that are soft and pregnancy-safe in case the discharge is heavy.
- If your doctor has given you the go-ahead to have sexual intercourse, make sure you use protection to avoid the risk of STDs.
While vaginal discharge in pregnancy is normal, keep your doctor updated about any changes or related symptoms you face.