As a pregnant woman, you may be surprised by some of the changes happening to your body. Many physical symptoms are common during pregnancy, from morning sickness to frequent urination, and one often overlooked is vaginal discharge. Changes in vaginal discharge during pregnancy are due to increased hormones, especially estrogen and progesterone. These hormones help the body prepare for childbirth by preparing the cervix and vagina for delivery and stimulating blood flow throughout the pelvic area.
Consequently, pregnant women typically notice an increase in both the volume and thickness of vaginal discharge. While it’s normal for this type of discharge to increase throughout the nine months of pregnancy, it can cause worry or stress for expecting mothers who don’t know what to expect or how to handle any additional fluids below. In this blog post, we’ll explore vaginal discharge during pregnancy and provide tips on what to do if it becomes excessive or causes discomfort.
What is vaginal discharge?
Vaginal discharge is a normal part of the healthy functioning of the female reproductive system. It comprises natural secretions from the cervix and vagina that help keep the area clean and lubricated. The color, amount, and consistency of vaginal discharge can vary throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle and may also change after childbirth or during menopause. However, healthy vaginal discharge is usually clear or white and might have a mild smell; the texture can be thin, watery, or sticky. If you notice any changes to your discharge, such as a bad odour or more of it than usual, tell your doctor immediately so they can help you.
Is vaginal discharge during pregnancy normal?
Vaginal discharge is a common occurrence and often considered normal during pregnancy. Most of the time, it is simply due to the extra hormones in your body that are preparing your body for childbirth. Although normal pregnancy discharge is typically thin and clear, milky white, or yellowish in color, it is important to be aware of other types of normal vaginal discharge that could indicate an infection.
Brown or bloody discharge during pregnancy can signify serious problems such as ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, or preterm labor. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately.
A white, curd-like discharge is also normal during pregnancy and is known as leukorrhea. This type of discharge is often odourless and typically harmless; however, a strong, musty, or fishy smell could signal an infection and should be checked out by your doctor. Additionally, if the discharge is thick, white, and clumpy, like cottage cheese, it could be a vaginal yeast infection which requires treatment.
It is important to keep track of your vaginal discharge during pregnancy so that you can quickly identify any changes in colour or consistency. You should contact your doctor for evaluation if you experience abnormal vaginal discharge such as a foul odour, green or yellow colour, or itching and burning sensation. Your healthcare provider will be able to recommend the best treatment option for you and your baby.
What causes to have vaginal discharge?
During pregnancy, the cervix and walls of the uterus produce more mucus to accommodate the increased blood flow in the area. The hormones estrogen and progesterone are responsible for causing this increase in mucus production. This mucus plug helps protect the baby by providing a barrier between it and any bacteria or contaminants that may enter the vagina. As a result, pregnant women may experience more vaginal discharge than usual.
Other causes of increased vaginal discharge include changes in hormones due to puberty or menopause, medications such as contraceptives, and infections like bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis. In some cases, the cause is unknown and can be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
Generally, if your vagina absorb excess discharge, it can cause itching and burn in the area. An odour may also be associated with it, which could indicate vaginal infections or other medical conditions. As we know, hormone changes cause early pregnancy discharge. However, in later pregnancy and postpartum, vaginal discharge may be due to infection and should be monitored closely. Your doctor can provide you with a diagnosis and treatment plan that is tailored specifically to your situation.
No matter what the cause of your vaginal discharge is, it’s important to keep track of it. If it increases, changes colour or has a mild smelling, you should contact your doctor immediately. Doing so can help ensure that any potential problems are addressed quickly and effectively.
Tips we need to consider
Below are some tips to keep in mind when dealing with vaginal discharge during pregnancy:
- Wear cotton underwear and breathable – Synthetic fabrics such as spandex, nylon, and polyester can trap moisture and increase the risk of irritation in your genital area. Stick to natural fibers like cotton that allow air to flow freely.
- Avoid douching – Douching washes away bacteria and other organisms that are beneficial to your vaginal health. It also increases the risk of developing an infection or a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
- Maintain good hygiene – Practice proper hygiene by washing your genital area with mild, unscented soap and warm water daily. If possible, avoid scrubbing too hard, as this can further irritate the delicate tissues.
- Change your tampons and pads regularly – During your period, it is important to change your tampon or pad every 3-4 hours to reduce the risk of infection. It is also recommended that you switch to a lighter absorbency product when you are experiencing heavy menstrual flow.
- Avoid using scented products – Scents can cause skin irritation and increase the risk of infection. To protect your vagina, avoid using soaps, lotions, or other products that are heavily fragranced.
- Take probiotics – Probiotics help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the vagina, reducing the risk of infection. You can find probiotics in certain foods, supplements, and yogurts.
- Drink plenty of water – Staying hydrated helps flush out harmful bacteria that can cause infections in the vagina. Aim to drink 8-10 glasses of water daily to keep your body well-hydrated.
Furthermore, it is also important to visit your doctor if you experience any symptoms of infection, such as burning or itching, or increased discharge. Getting an early diagnosis and treatment can reduce the risk of complications for you and your baby.
The Wrapped Up!
Don’t be alarmed if you’re pregnant and notice an increase in vaginal discharge. This is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. Increased vaginal discharge during pregnancy is one way your body helps keep itself healthy and free from infection. Just be sure to monitor the color, consistency, and odor of your discharge so that you can spot any changes that might indicate a vaginal infection. Wearing breathable underwear and sleeping in loose-fitting clothes can help reduce discomfort from moist genitals. Keeping the area dry can also prevent infections. Don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor or midwife if you have any concerns or questions!