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Vaginal Discharge In Pregnancy

With so many other signs and symptoms of pregnancy talked about, vaginal discharge in pregnancy often gets overlooked, so if you’re wondering why all of a sudden, you’re producing more discharge, or unsure what it’s supposed to look like during pregnancy, we’ve got the answers.

Is Vaginal Discharge Normal During Pregnancy?

Yes, it is absolutely normal to experience an increase in vaginal discharge during pregnancy, in fact it can often be one of the first signs you’re pregnant! 

Why…well once again we can thank hormones for these changes in vaginal discharge, and in particular oestrogen, resulting in an increase in blood flow to the vaginal area during pregnancy and because of this more vaginal discharge is likely to being produced.

Vaginal discharge during pregnancy is known as leukorrhea, it’s usually thin, milky white, and mild smelling.  And its job is to help keep the vagina clean, preventing infections travelling from the vagina to the uterus, and as you may have already noticed the amount you produce can increase as your pregnancy continues.

Are Vaginal Discharge And The Mucus Plug The Same?

Whilst both are a form of discharge, they both have different jobs to do in the body.

  • Vaginal discharge during pregnancy, is usually thin and creamy white in colour and is noticed on a daily basis as it helps keep the vagina clean and free from infection.
  • The mucus plug is a dense piece of mucus that forms at the entrance to the cervix in early pregnancy. It acts as a protective barrier, preventing bacteria and infections from entering the uterus and potentially reaching your developing baby.

As your body prepares for childbirth, and typically in the later stages of pregnancy, the cervix begins to soften, thin out, and dilate in preparation for labour and delivery. As a result, the mucus plug is dislodged from the cervix and pushed out into the vaginal passage, you will most likely see this in your underwear, on your pantyliner, or on toilet tissue as you wipe, and some of you may now this as a ‘show’. 

Losing the mucus plug is considered a normal part of the late pregnancy process and it can occur days, or even weeks before labour begins, think of it as a sign that your body is getting ready to give birth to your baby.

It's also possible for the mucus plug to be expelled gradually over time, rather than all at once, so don’t worry, sometimes you may not even notice when it happens.

Remember too, that losing the mucus plug doesn't necessarily mean that labour will start immediately, it's just one of the many signs that labour could be approaching.

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How Can I Manage Increased Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy?

Because during pregnancy you will most likely be producing more discharge than usual, you may want to switch to loose fitting cotton underwear, why because cotton is breathable and can help keep the area dry.

Pantyliners are a great addition too, as they are designed to absorb excess discharge and keep you comfortable, and the Lil-Lets Maternity Pantyliners are ideal for pre and post pregnancy.

Maintaining good hygiene is important at any  time and not just when you’re pregnant, wash the vaginal area with warm water and mild soap, and avoid douching or using scented products that can irritate the area. And as your pregnancy progresses you may want to use Lil-Lets Maternity Wipes, they’re extra-large making it easier to reach around your baby bump.

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When Should I Be Concerned About My Vaginal Discharge?

Whilst vaginal discharge in pregnancy is perfectly normal there are few signs you should look out for that may indicate an infection is present:

  • A strong or unpleasant odour.
  • A change in colour to yellow, green, or grey.
  • Thick discharge resembling cottage cheese.
  • Itching, burning, redness, or swelling.
  • Pain during urination or intercourse.
  • Large blood clots (though light spotting can be normal, significant bleeding requires immediate medical attention).

What Can Cause Abnormal Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy?

Abnormal discharge can be caused by:

  • Yeast Infections: Indicated by thick, white discharge resembling cottage cheese.
  • Bacterial Vaginosis: Often causes a grey or white discharge with a fishy odour.
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea, can cause unusual discharge.
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Can sometimes alter the nature of vaginal discharge.

Any unusual or concerning changes in discharge, including colour, consistency, or the amount produced, should be brought to the attention of your doctor, midwife or healthcare provider for evaluation and monitoring.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does normal pregnancy discharge look like?

Discharge during pregnancy is known as leukorrhea, it’s usually thin, milky white, and mild-smelling, and chances are it will increase in volume as your pregnancy continues.

What does abnormal discharge look like in pregnancy?

Whilst an increase in the amount of discharge you produce increases in pregnancy, if there is a change in colour, an unusual or strong odour, change in its consistency, like thick cottage cheese, you should speak to your doctor, midwife, or healthcare professional.

When should I see a doctor about pregnancy discharge?

It's crucial to pay attention to any changes in vaginal discharge during pregnancy, whether that be a change in colour, consistency or you’re experiencing discomfort such as itching or burning. Trust your instincts and reach out to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your vaginal discharge during pregnancy. Your doctor can provide guidance, perform any necessary evaluations, and ensure that you receive appropriate care to safeguard your health and the health of your baby.


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