Pregnancy Discharge: When To Worry?

pregnancy discharge

Last updated on July 28th, 2018 at 04:57 am

Pregnancy discharge (leukorrhea) is vaginal discharge during pregnancy that women experience with mild odor. It is whitish in color and sometimes may be brownish, yellowish or pinkish.

Do you experience excessive discharge in pregnancy? Are you worried your excessive discharge is due to an infection? Is your discharge during pregnancy yellow? Do you have brown discharge while pregnant?

This guide will explain what you need to know about your discharge, when its normal or due to an infection.


What is the normal discharge during pregnancy?

If you are pregnant for the first time, you may just get worried when you notice excessive discharge coming down your vagina. You shouldn’t.

Before pregnancy, your discharge usually changes throughout your menstrual cycle. After your period ends and before you’re expecting your next period, vaginal discharge is white and thick. It does not smell or cause itching to your vagina. Normal vaginal discharge when you are not pregnant could be white, brown, yellow or pinkish.

It could be thick white discharge after ovulation or watery during ovulation. Also, just before your next period, your vaginal discharge tend to get thick and you will notice dry vagina.

However, during pregnancy, there is a continuous production of cervical mucus. You will notice your discharge is now much more than normal just before your next period. This type of discharge is milky white or creamy white discharge.

Pregnancy discharge may become excessive and it is due to hormones in your body (estrogen and progesterone). These hormones stimulate the cervix to increase cervical mucus production. This increased mucus or discharge will help form the mucus plug that prevents infection spread to your baby.

In addition, there is an increased blood supply to the cervix and vagina when pregnant. If you experience discharge during your first trimester or second and third trimester, then you should not get worried. Pregnancy discharge is more excessive with a mild odor.


5 Pregnancy discharge colors you should know

When pregnant, there are other colors of vaginal discharge that you could notice that is not white. They are green, yellow and brown discharge. Below are vaginal discharge colors you may have and what they mean.

White discharge during pregnancy

White vaginal discharge with mild odor is common in pregnancy. It may be much more than vagina discharge you experienced before getting pregnant. It is normal and does not need treatment. However, if your white discharge has a fishy smelly, then it may be due to bacterial vaginosis. Inform your doctor about your symptoms.

Brown discharge during pregnancy

Your discharge could also be brownish when pregnant. Brown discharge, that may occur in pregnancy, is normal in most women. It occurs when your cervical mucus mixes with blood.

During pregnancy, there is an increased blood supply to the vagina and cervix. This can result to slight bleeding or spotting with very little trauma or sexual intercourse. However, brown discharge that occurs in pregnant women while having intercourse resolves in few hours. If your brown discharge increasingly becomes bloody and persistent for days then it is likely abnormal.

Also, brown discharge can be due to implantation and an early sign of pregnancy. It occurs just before you are expecting your period.

In addition, not all brown discharge during pregnancy is normal. It may also be a sign of ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage. Ectopic pregnancy symptoms include muscle cramps, vomiting and low abdomen pain. Because of the risk posed by bleeding when pregnant, it is important to always inform your doctor about any brown discharge in pregnancy.

Yellow discharge during pregnancy

If you notice yellow discharge while pregnant, then it may be a sign of an infection. Yellow pregnancy discharge that causes vaginal itching, swelling of the vulva or pain in the lower abdomen is likely due to an infection. You should inform your doctor about your symptoms early to prevent any complications.

Also, it is possible that your yellow discharge is not abnormal. Your normal white mucus from your vagina can turn yellow on exposure to air.

While you may not have an infection if your discharge is yellow, it is important to see your doctor. This is because vaginal infections during pregnancy can cause women to develop miscarriage, preterm delivery and low birth weight babies.

Green discharge during pregnancy

If you notice a green discharge while pregnant, then its due to an infection. Gonorrhea, chlamydia and pelvic inflammatory disease can cause this type of discharge. You should inform your doctor early to prevent any complications during pregnancy.

Pink discharge during pregnancy

This type of discharge in pregnancy is due to implantation bleeding or trauma to your vaginal area. It may also mean a sign of Threatened miscarriage and tubal pregnancy. If you see a pink discharge when pregnant, it is important to let your doctor know.


11 Reasons to worry about your discharge while pregnant

  • Vaginal itching
  • Vulva swelling
  • Vulva soreness
  • Low abdomen pain that is persistent
  • Fever or high body temperature
  • Green vaginal discharge
  • Yellow vaginal discharge
  • Foul smelling discharge
  • Pain while having intercourse
  • Persistent bleeding or brown discharge
  • Pain while urinating


Causes of abnormal pregnancy discharge

If your discharge is smelly or with vaginal itch during pregnancy, then its likely because there is an infection down there. Some of the causes of abnormal discharge in pregnancy are:

Bacterial vaginosis.

Bacterial vaginosis can affect the vagina of pregnant women. It is caused by Gardnerella vaginalis and Mycoplasma hominis. It is not sexually transmitted disease. If you are pregnant with BV infection, you will notice fishy smelly discharge.

Treatment is by use of oral metronidazole.

Yeast infection

Yeast in pregnancy is caused by candida albicans. You will notice cottage cheese looking discharge that is whitish in color in your vagina. If you experience vaginal itching, soreness of the vulva with this type of discharge, then you likely have yeast infection. Yeast infection is easily treated with vaginal pessaries and cream.

Read more

Yeast infection discharge

How does yeast infection smell like?

Chlamydia infection

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease. It can cause smelly discharge in pregnancy with pain and discomfort while having intercourse. If this infection is not treated early while pregnant can cause miscarriage and preterm delivery.

Read more

Chlamydia symptoms, signs and cure

Gonorrhea and Trichomonas infection

Gonorrhea ad trichomonas infection can affect pregnant women too. It may be the cause of your smelly discharge during pregnancy. Other symptoms are

  • Painful urination
  • painful sexual intercourse
  • Low abdomen pain
  • Smelly pus like discharge from your vagina

Treatment involves use of antibiotics.


How to prevent abnormal pregnancy discharge

  • Avoid vaginal douching while pregnant
  • Don’t use vaginal sprays or perfumes during pregnancy
  • Treat any abnormal discharge very early to prevent complications
  • Get your husband or partner tested for STDs
  • Do not wash your vagina with detergents or soap
  • If you are diabetic, then you should lower your blood sugar as it can predispose to yeast infection.


FAQs about Pregnancy discharge

These are some commonly asked question about discharge during pregnancy. If you have other questions, please let us know.

What does early pregnancy discharge look and feel like?

Early pregnancy discharge is milky white discharge that does not cause vaginal itching or discomfort. Some women may experience mild odor, however, it is not foul smelling. It may be heavy or more than your pre-pregnancy discharge.

Brown discharge that occurs after you ovulate is also an early pregnancy discharge. You don’t have to be worried as it is due to implantation.

Is clear discharge in early pregnancy normal?

Yes. If you’re pregnant and have clear white discharge without any signs of inflammation like vulva soreness and itching, then its okay. Clear discharge while pregnant is normal in women.

What is discharge during early pregnancy before missed period?

If you’re pregnant, you may experience a brown discharge just before your next period. Brown mucus discharge that occurs one week before your period is an indication that you may be pregnant. Also, if you have already missed your period and have brown discharge earlier, then its likely due to pregnancy.

In addition, just before your period, your vaginal discharge becomes thick or dry. If you notice an increased discharge just before your period, then its likely because you’re pregnant.


Now let us know if you feel your discharge is abnormal? Is it smelly or do you feel vaginal pain and itching? Let us know.

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