Vaginal Discharge Changes During Pregnancy
Pregnancy. A time when women are excited about the new life they are bringing into the world. With that excitement comes a whole host of changes that happen to the body from the time of conception through the end of the pregnancy journey. One of those changes includes the vaginal discharge that women have. Something of all the pregnancy symptoms is one of the least ones thought of likely because many do not know changes to discharge happen and are normal. Nor do they worry about it until there is cause for concern. But vaginal discharge changes do occur during pregnancy and women should be aware of what they mean.
Just when women thought they had experienced it all while expecting, they can suddenly find themselves dealing with vaginal discharge unlike anything experienced before. Much of the discharge is similar to that which is seen during a period. But as the pregnancy progresses, so does the volume of discharge. Something that can leave pregnant women wondering if what they are experiencing is normal or not.
Here is what there is to know about vaginal discharge changes when you are pregnant.
Vaginal Discharge Is Normal During Pregnancy
The first thing that women should know is that vaginal discharge is normal during pregnancy. This means that as it becomes more pronounced, there should be no cause for concern.
According to the NHS, the vaginal discharge that pregnant women experience occurs in order to keep infections from working their way up the vagina. Something that if it were to occur, could cause complications for babies as the infections made their way into the womb.
As such, the discharge is not only normal but necessary for a healthy pregnancy from the very beginning to the end.
What Causes Vaginal Discharge To Change During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, the body produces a great deal more blood than is present in the body when not expecting. According to Healthline, this is up to 30 to 50 percent more. The reason? To support growing babies.
As this extra blood flows through the body, it flows everywhere. This includes the pelvic region. When this happens, according to What to Expect, the mucus membranes are stimulated. When stimulated, an excess of mucus is secreted. This causes vaginal discharge.
Vaginal discharge may be present from the time conception occurs throughout pregnancy. As such, once vaginal discharge makes its presence, it will be a factor during pregnancy until it is time to deliver babies.
Different Types Of Vaginal Discharge That Is Usually Normal
There are several types of vaginal discharge that can be experienced during pregnancy. Some are healthy and should not be given a second thought, while others may require immediate medical attention.
According to MedicalNewsToday, the types of vaginal discharge that are normal during pregnancy include:
- Clear discharge: Signs of normal healthy discharge
- Milky white discharge: Signs of normal healthy discharge
- Brown discharge: Signs of “old blood” leaving the body or of implantation
- Pink discharge: Signs of light bleeding that generally appear at the beginning or end of the pregnancy journey
- Mild-smelling discharge: Discharge that has a mild smell is normal and not generally a sign of infection
If any of these discharges change to a darker color or become jelly-like in appearance, it is recommended to contact a healthcare professional to determine the cause of the vaginal discharge change.
When Vaginal Discharge Will Be Heaviest
Vaginal discharge will be present throughout most of the pregnancy. However, by the time the discharge is at its heaviest is when the women are in the late stages of pregnancy and are getting ready to deliver their babies sooner rather than later.
According to the Mayo Clinic, towards the end of pregnancy, the mucus plug may become dislodged. When this happens, it may “push into the vagina.”
If this does happen to the mucus plug, women will likely experience more vaginal discharge than they have experienced at any other time during pregnancy. A discharge that can be clear, light pink, or even tinged with a bit of blood.
Vaginal discharge that looks like this means that either labor and delivery are just a few days away, per the publication, or that labor is starting and women will be meeting their babies soon.
Abnormal Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy
When vaginal discharge begins to take on different, bright colors, it is a sign that there may be an infection present or a problem with the pregnancy itself. As such, as soon as vaginal discharge turns colors from anything deemed “normal,” a healthcare provider should be contacted immediately.
According to BabyCentre, the signs that vaginal discharge is abnormal include:
- Green in color: Maybe a sign of an STD
- Gray in color: Maybe a sign of bacterial vaginosis
- Yellow in color: Maybe a sign of an STD
- Bright red: Maybe a sign of complication with pregnancy
- Discharge is “frothy” in consistency: Maybe a sign of an STD
- Discharge smells of fish: Maybe a sign of an STD
- A sudden increase in the amount of vaginal discharge: Maybe a sign of preterm labor
If the discharge becomes any of these colors, women are advised to contact their doctors immediately. This will help them to identify the cause of the discharge and what can be done to make it the healthy color during pregnancy that it once was.