Vaginal discharge is one of the bodily changes you can anticipate with the onset of pregnancy. Although it is a normal change or common complaint, it is important that you know of these changes. You want to know what is normal and what is not abnormal.
What does normal vaginal discharge appear like?
When vaginal discharge during pregnancy is normal, it is called leukorrhea. This discharge is usually thin, white, milky and mild smelling. Leukorrhea is normal vaginal discharge and there is nothing for you to be concerned about.
During pregnancy do not:
- Use tampons (they can introduce new germs into the vagina)
- Douche (this can interrupt the normal balance and lead to a vaginal infection)
- Assume that it is a vaginal infection and treat it yourself
During pregnancy do:
- Use panty liners if it makes you more comfortable
- Notify your health care provider at your appointment of any changes
What does abnormal vaginal discharge appear like?
Abnormal vaginal discharge normally looks like green or yellowish, strong smelling, and/or accompanied by redness or itching, you may have a vaginal infection. One of the most common vaginal infections during pregnancy is candidiasis, also known as a yeast infection. Your doctor can easily treat vaginal infections. Another cause of abnormal discharge could also be an STD.
When should I notify my health care provider about my vaginal discharge?
You should notify your health care provider any time there is a change in normal pregnancy discharge. NEVER try to diagnose and treat yourself. Spotting during pregnancy can be normal but should be mentioned to your health care provider. Notify your provider immediately if you experience spotting or bleeding that lasts longer than a day and is accompanied by cramping or pain.
Compiled using information from the following sources:
Williams Obstetrics Twenty-Second Ed. Cunningham, F. Gary, et al, Ch. 8.
Mayo Clinic Complete Book of Pregnancy & Baby’sFirst Year Johnson, Robert V., M.D., et al,
American Pregnancy Association, http://www.americanpregnancy.org