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Pregnancy Discharge

Pregnancy Discharge...

Whether you're pregnant or not, you'll have some vaginal discharge starting a year or two before puberty and ending after your menopause.

How much discharge you have changes from time to time and it usually gets heavier just before your period.
Pregnancy Discharge

Almost all women have more vaginal discharge in pregnancy. This is quite normal and happens for a few reasons.

During pregnancy the cervix (neck of the womb) and vaginal walls get softer and discharge increases to help prevent any infections travelling up from the vagina to the womb.

Your hormones go crazy while you're pregnant so it's perfectly understandable to get confused especially when you're quite unfamiliar with what's supposed to be normal or not.

One of the things you have to deal with is discharge during early pregnancy.

If you notice your monthly cycle and the changes in your discharge every month, you will see that it tends to increase when you're pregnant.

This is referred to as leucorrhea and it should be normal. It is usually without odour or sometimes it comes with a mild odour and has a milky white appearance.

Causes of Discharge During Early Pregnancy

Since the oestrogen levels increase when you're pregnant, the blood flow that will occur in the vagina will be greater as well.

These changes contribute to the increase of discharge. Some women treat vaginal discharge as a sign of ovulation while some think about it as an indicator of early pregnancy.

The discharge is composed of secretions from the vagina, cervix, typical bacteria flora from the vagina and the cells from the vagina walls as well.

You may also notice more vaginal discharge as you near labour. As the cervix starts to thin out and dilate, it will expel this mucus and you will see discharge that somehow looks like egg white.

Don't panic if you see the mucus with a bit of blood. This is called a 'show' and happens when the mucus that has been present in your cervix during pregnancy comes away.

It's a sign that the body is starting to prepare for birth, and you may have a few small 'shows' in the days before you go into labour.

How To Deal With Pregnancy Discharge

Increased discharge is just one of the normal, temporary changes that pregnancy brings. You could use unscented panty liners or change your underwear more often.

Other than that, you don't need to do anything, though these tips may help...

  • keep your outer genital area (vulva) clean and dry.
  • use unscented soap and water when washing.
  • don't use scented wipes, perfumed bubble bath or vaginal deodorants.

Don't rinse out your vagina (douching), as this may irritate your skin and upset the natural bacterial balance.

Vaginal discharge is normally quite acidic, so that good bacteria and natural antibiotics can keep harmful bacteria at bay.

If you alter this natural balance, it could cause inflammation, or even an infection.

If the discharge changes in appearance, it may need treating. See your doctor or midwife if your discharge is any of the following...

  • unpleasant and fishy smelling
  • white or grey and watery
  • frothy, yellow or green
  • thick and curd-like.

You also need to see your doctor if you feel...

  • pain when you wee or have sex
  • sore
  • itchy

Depending on your symptoms, you may have thrush, bacterial vaginosis or a parasitic infection (trichomoniasis).

You should get treatment as soon as possible, as some vaginal infections are linked with a higher risk of miscarriage, or having a baby who is premature.

Thrush isn't as problematic for your pregnancy, but it can be very unpleasant to have. You should not use some thrush medicine in pregnancy.

Always talk to your doctor, pharmacist or midwife if you think you have thrush.

You can help prevent thrush by wearing loose cotton underwear, and some women find it helps to avoid perfumed soap or perfumed bath products.

How To Prevent Vaginal Infections

There's no sure way to prevent vaginal infections. Just being pregnant makes you more likely to have thrush, which may come and go, even with treatment.

However, following these tips may help to prevent infections...

  • Don't use vaginal deodorants, vaginal washing products or scented panty liners. You may also find that ordinary panty liners irritate your vagina if you use them every day.
  • Use non-biological detergents to wash your underwear. Add an extra rinse cycle at the end of the wash, in case the detergent is irritating your skin.
  • Don't use scented soaps, perfumed bubble baths or antiseptic liquid in the bath.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after touching your genitals.
  • Make sure your vagina is well-lubricated before you have sex.
  • Wear loose trousers or skirts and cotton underwear.
  • Wipe from front to back after going to the loo.
  • If you smoke, try to quit. Smoking makes you more prone to bacterial vaginal infection. It's also harmful to your unborn baby.

As long as the vaginal discharge you are experiencing has no odour, and is not accompanied by burning or itching, it may be one of the first signs of early pregnancy.

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