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Vaginal Discharge

Vaginal discharge during pregnancy, also called leukorrhea, is very common and normal. It is similar to what a woman experiences during her normal menstrual cycle; the increase in estrogen in your body and the increase in blood flow around your vaginal area is the reason for the vaginal discharge. As your pregnancy continues, you will see an increase in the amount of discharge from your vagina.

It’s important to know that there are different types of discharge a woman can experience. Your discharge should have a certain color, texture, and smell. If it doesn’t, you should seek medical attention and notify your healthcare provider before trying to treat yourself with over-the-counter medications.

When it’s okay:

  • Milky color
  • Thin, not viscous
  • Odorless or mild odor

 When it’s not okay:

  • Lots of thin, clear discharge (could be amniotic fluid)
  • Before 37 weeks, if it becomes watery, mucus–like, or bloody
  • If there’s a change in the type of discharge you’re experiencing
  • Pinkish or brownish in color
  • Bloody discharge
  • White discharge accompanied by itching or burning
  • Foul smelling
  • Yellowish, greenish, or gray in color

Do’s and Don’ts:

Don’t:

  • Use a tampon
  • Purchase over-the-counter medications
  • Douche

Do:

  • Talk/visit with your doctor
  • Use a panty liner to catch the discharge
  • Note the amount, color, and texture of the discharge

There are reasons why you shouldn’t douche. Douching can sometimes create air bubbles inside your vagina, which can lead to serious problems for an expectant mother. Using a tampon, like douching, can also disrupt the normal balance of vaginal flora and increase your risk of a vaginal infection. Purchasing over-the-counter medications to treat an infection is silly if you don’t know whether you have an infection or what type of infection it is if you do have one. Assuming it’s a vaginal infection when it’s an STD can lead you down the wrong treatment path. Therefore, it’s important that you talk with your healthcare provider before attempting any at-home treatment remedies.

When it comes to the “Do’s,” it’s important you know that using a panty liner can help you to avoid staining your underwear. Talking with your doctor can ease your mind, as they are the professionals who are equipped to treat the problem if it’s out-of-the ordinary discharge. Paying attention to the color, texture, and amount of vaginal discharge is also a great way to keep in tune with your body. If there is a change, you should let your healthcare provider know immediately.

Other than that, there’s really nothing more you can do to stop the discharge from happening. It’s a normal part of being pregnant.

[Page updated December 2014]