Vaginal Discharge During Early and Late Pregnancy

Pregnancy, especially early pregnancy, is a time of constant changes to your body.  From morning sickness (which can happen at any time of the day) to tenderness of the breasts to aches and pains, there are ways that your body reacts to being pregnant.  One of the ways that pregnancy affects some women is in the area of vaginal discharge.  Vaginal discharge is common in early pregnancy, and is generally speaking not something that you should be overly concerned or worried about.

During early pregnancy, there is an increased production of hormones, particularly estrogen, that can lead to vaginal discharge.  In addition to the increased production of estrogen, there is increased flow of blood to the vaginal area during pregnancy.  These factors can cause a variety of secretions, both from your cervix and from your vagina itself, that lead to vaginal discharge.

Increased vaginal discharge is generally not anything to worry about.  The term for vaginal discharge is leucorrhea, and this is the same vaginal discharge that you may have occasionally had before you became pregnant.  It is typically odorless or has just a mild smell, and will probably be somewhat milky.

As you approach the later stages of pregnancy, you’re going to likely see another increase in your vaginal discharge. This time around, it’s going to be somewhat different than what you experienced earlier on in your pregnancy. Now, your vaginal discharge will be more made up of small amounts of cervical mucus that manage to get out of the mucus plug when you get close to labor. At that time, your start to experience effacement and dilation of the cervix, which allow some of that discharge to come loose. In some case, you’re going to have a bloody show, which is the loss of the entire mucus plug. It may be colored like an egg white, or it may also have some hint of blood in terms of color.

If you have watery or bloody vaginal discharge before about the 37th week of pregnancy, you want to make sure you see your doctor. You could be leaking amniotic fluid, which can create a risk of infection.

Leila Pereira
Leila Pereira
I work in occupational therapy and occupational science. I specialize in early intervention pediatrics for children from birth to three years old; with an emphasis on children with autism. My goals are to support the achievement of developmental milestones in your child while collaborating with caregivers & parents; including play skill development, education, leisure, rest and sleep, feeding, nutrition and social participation. Licensed by the California Board of Occupational Therapy

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