Discharge During Pregnancy: Know What's Safe and What's Not

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
May 20, 2018
Quick Bites

  • Increased oestrogen production is a common cause of pregnancy discharge
  • Increase in the discharge before 37 weeks needs doctor's attention
  • Gray discharge with a fishy smell post sex means bacterial vaginosis
  • Visit doctor if you have an enlarged vulva and excessive discharge


Vaginal discharge during pregnancy is synonymous with any other common signs of pregnancy like the swelling of one’s feet as the baby develops with each passing day.

A lot of pregnant women are appalled at what they see as a milky white discharged during their pregnancy. This is most probably normal leucorrhea: odourless, mild-smelling milky discharge that is in an inexplicably high quantity than what it was before conception. This discharge is because of an increased production of estrogen and a greater amount of blood flow to the vaginal area. Babycenter states that this discharge comprises

•    secretions from the cervix as well as the vagina
•    normal bacterial flora from the vagina
•    old cells from the walls of the vagina.

It is common for women to notice even more vaginal discharge when they are closer to giving birth i.e. before labour arrives.

Causes of Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy

In the early phase of pregnancy, the cervical secretions fill the cervical canal and create a protective coat that acts as a barrier, which is commonly referred to as mucus plug. When the cervix starts to thin out and open up for the baby’s development, it is likely to expel the mucus. This mucus will be of an egg white colour and is of the consistency of mucus from a runny nose. When the discharge is tinged with a little blood, it’s a sign that you have expelled the plug in a gelatinous mass.

• If the discharge is thin and clear, it may be hard for a person to tell if the mucus is just a part of the normal development or leaking amniotic fluid. If you feel worried about harmful discharge during pregnancy, the right thing to do would be to visit your gynaecologist and come close to the facts of the matter.

• If you observe an increase and change in the type of discharge before you are 37 weeks, call your doctor immediately as this can be a sign of preterm labour.

• If you suspect that you may be suffering from an infection, which is common during pregnancy and a prominent sign of the same is excessive discharge, you must visit the doctor. One of the signs of an infection is the expulsion of odourless, whitish discharge that causes discomfort like pain during intercourse or urination, itching, soreness or burning, your vulva appears inflamed. This could be vaginal yeast infection.

• You may be suffering from bacterial vaginosis if you notice gray or white discharge with a fishy smell post sexual intercourse.

• If the discharge is frothy, foul-smelling or yellow, green or gray in colour, you may be suffering from trichomoniasis, which is a common sexually transmitted infection. Other symptoms of trichmoniasis include discomfort during intercourse or while urinating and an irritated or itchy vagina or vulva.

What you Can Do

If the discharge is because you have an infection, there is nothing much that you can do but  visit your doctor and do as he/she says. To deal with the problem more comfortably, you could wear panty liners that can absorb the discharge. Also, try to keep your genital area clean and healthy by always wiping from front to back and wearing cotton underwear. Make sure that you do not wear tight pants, have bubble bath, use nylons, scented pads or toilet paper, scented or deodorant soaps and sprays made to ensure feminine hygiene.

Also, avoid douching as that can disrupt the normal balance of flora and thereby, increase the risk of vaginal infection. Besides, doctor proscribe douching, especially during pregnancy.

Read more articles on Pregnancy Problems.

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