You know that vaginal discharge occurs in all women, whether or not pregnant, beginning a year or two before reaching puberty. This continues until she enters menopause. The amount and thickness of vaginal discharge change from time to time. It depends on the time within the menstrual cycle and pregnancy and breastfeeding. So many changes occur in pregnancy. This is often confusing to know which vaginal discharge in early pregnancy should be considered normal or abnormal. And difficult to know too which should be of serious concern.
However, vaginal discharge is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. Commonly, women look for these changes in vaginal discharge as a way to know if she is pregnant. Some use it to predict the right time to conceive. But do not use this as a confirmation. It is normal to have more discharge when pregnant. Healthy vaginal discharge is usually thin, clear or milky white, and does not have an unpleasant smell.
NORMAL VAGINAL DISHARGE IN PREGNANCY
Normal healthy discharge should:
- be clear and white
- not have an unpleasant smell.
Normally, there is more vaginal discharge in pregnancy. This is good because it helps to prevent infections from travelling to the womb from the vagina. This discharge is further increased towards the end of the pregnancy. During pregnancy, vaginal discharge is increased due to increased oestrogen release and blood flow to the vagina. During early pregnancy, this increased discharge helps to remove dead cells and bacteria from the uterus and vagina. This is to prevent infection. The amount of discharge increases as the pregnancy progresses. Towards delivery, it can contain streaks of sticky and jelly-like mucous called ‘show’ or mucous plug. This plug blocks the entrance to the cervix to prevent infection from ascending up to the uterus to affect the baby.
ABNORMAL VAGINAL DISCHARGE IN PREGNANCY
As we already know, increased vaginal discharge is expected in pregnancy. But you should always lookout for some abnormal signs and symptoms. If they are present, you should visit your doctor or nurse or pharmacist. These abnormal discharges may be associated with:
- an unpleasant smell
- burning sensation or sore around the vagina
- greenish-yellow colour
- painful urination
Thrush in pregnancy
This is a yeast infection, also known as vaginal candidiasis.
It causes an abnormal vaginal discharge that looks like cottage cheese. And this does not have a foul smell. It can also cause intense itching and irritation around the vagina. Wearing loose cotton pants can help prevent vaginal thrush. And also maintaining good personal hygiene.
HOW DO YOU PREVENT ABNORMAL VAGINAL DISCHARGE?
Below are some of the tips for preventing abnormal discharge from vaginal infection:
- Neve put soup into the vagina, but wash the outside with with a mild soap and warm water.
- Never douche.
- Avoid bubble baths.
- Always wipe from front to back after using the toilet. This is to prevent infection from getting into the vagina.
- Avoid tight clothing, but rather use 100% cotton underwears.
Recommended: Maintaining a Healthy Vagina
While it can be annoying, some vaginal discharge in early pregnancy is normal and helpful. But when you have bleeding, or an abnormal increase in amount, odour, colour or consistency, please do well to contact your doctor. If it is just a normal increase in the amount of discharge, you can manage the discomfort by putting on loose pants, and changing them often.