Is white discharge during pregnancy normal?
Pregnancy gives a sense of immense pleasure to a woman fast approaching motherhood. It prepares the woman’s body to nurture the growing baby in the womb. During this process various changes take place in the lady’s body. Among the various changes, white vaginal discharge is the most common symptom experienced by a majority of the pregnant women. There is an increase in the white discharge during pregnancy due to high estrogen hormone levels in the body. This white discharge during pregnancy called as leucorrhea, consists of secretions from cervix, vagina, bacteria, and cells lining the inner wall of vagina and cervix.
Causes of white discharge during pregnancy
- White discharge during very early pregnancy results from increase in the blood supply in the region of cervix and vagina.
- Various hormonal changes contribute to the increase in vaginal discharge during pregnancy.
- White discharge during end of pregnancy occurs due to pressure of the baby’s growing head on the cervix.
Types of white discharge during pregnancy
- White discharge during early pregnancy can be either thin or thick. The discharge may look like raw egg white or can be colorless with a mild odor or it may be odorless. White discharge during pregnancy time acts a protective barrier against the infection reaching the womb.
- As the pregnancy advances, the cervical canal starts dilating (effacing) and the discharge gets thick and lumpy. This thick discharge is called a cervical plug which is located in the cervical canal during the entire course of pregnancy. Discharge of this cervical plug indicates that the body is prepared for child birth.
Cervical plug sometimes comprises of streaks of blood which is termed as ‘show’ and is considered a sign of onset of labor.
White discharge during pregnancy is normal
Mild to moderate amount of white discharge that is not associated with itching, pain, burning urination or any other discomfort is normal during the period of pregnancy. It does not require any treatment.
However, an abnormal white discharge during pregnancy with itching, irritation or pain requires medical attention and suitable treatment.
- Candidiasis or yeast infection is the most common infection occurring during pregnancy. The discharge due to yeast infection is green to yellowish with a strong smell. There is lot of itching with pain while passing urine.
- Bacterial infection causes thick yellow or grey discharge with crampy pain and soreness in the region.
- Frothy greenish discharge with a strong smell is generally due to sexually transmitted disease and needs immediate medical attention.
- Sometimes the discharge comprises of blood or is brownish colored, which should be checked by a doctor for further evaluation.
- In some cases, there is gushing of yellowish clear fluid especially in the third trimester of pregnancy. This fluid leak is due to rupture of bag of waters and indicates onset of labor. If the fluid leak appears before the third trimester of pregnancy, it requires immediate medical treatment for the fear of preterm delivery.
Treatment of white discharge during pregnancy
Normal white discharge during pregnancy does not require any treatment.
- Use a liner on the under garments to soak the excessive discharge.
- Use cotton undergarments and avoid ones made of nylon or any other synthetic material.
- The undergarments should not be too tight fitting.
- Keep the area clean and maintain proper hygiene.
- The direction of cleaning the vaginal area should be from front to back in order to prevent the spread of infection from anus to vagina.
- Avoid using bubble baths, deodorant soaps or scented tissue papers to clean the vaginal area.
- Most importantly, do not treat yourself without medical advice.
Disclaimer: The information in the article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor.
Also read: Your A-Z Guide to Urinary Incontinence!