Vaginal discharge is the fluid coming out of the vagina.
Vaginal discharge is the fluid coming out of the vagina and is often thin, watery, or milky white during early pregnancy.

There is increased vaginal discharge during pregnancy that can often be noticed on 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 a “show,” which 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 increased vaginal discharge.
  • Also, there is softening of the walls of the vagina and cervix, which causes an increased discharge.

The role of 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.

QUESTION

The first sign of pregnancy is most often: See Answer

What do different vaginal discharge colors mean?

Depending on the color, vaginal discharge may indicate different health issues:

Yellow or green

Yellow or green vaginal discharge indicates an infection, possibly a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as chlamydia or trichomoniasis. Other symptoms may be present as well, such as vaginal redness or irritation. 

Yellow vaginal discharge is often mistaken as leakage of small amounts of urine. However, any yellow discharge should be evaluated by a doctor. Seeking medical attention is important because STIs during pregnancy can cause complications that affect both mother and child. These complications may not show up in the child until years after birth, but they can affect the child’s nervous system and development and cause infertility in the mother. 

White and lumpy

Vaginal discharge that is white/off-white and lumpy, resembling cottage cheese, may indicate a yeast infection, which is common during pregnancy. Other symptoms may include pain, burning, itching, and painful urination or intercourse.

Gray

Gray vaginal discharge may indicate a vaginal infection called bacterial vaginosis (BV). It is also associated with a fishy odor that becomes stronger after intercourse. BV is a result of a bacterial imbalance in the vagina. Risk factors for BV include douching and sex with multiple partners.

Brown

Brown vaginal discharge is caused by old blood leaving the body. It may be an early sign of pregnancy. Brown discharge during pregnancy is usually not dangerous. Dark brown discharge during pregnancy, however, requires medical attention.

Pink

Pink vaginal discharge during pregnancy is usually normal during the early and final weeks of pregnancy. It can, however, also be a sign of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or vaginal infection. Pink discharge may also appear after sexual intercourse.

Red

Red vaginal discharge during pregnancy can be dangerous and requires immediate attention, especially if there is heavy bleeding, clots, cramping, and abdominal pain. The red discharge could be a sign of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.

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Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2022
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