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Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy: What Every Expectant Mother Should Know

It’s normal for women to produce a discharge from their vagina. Glands inside the vagina produce a fluid or discharge that helps to keep your vagina clean and free from infections. How much vaginal discharge is produced will vary from time to time, often in relation to your menstrual cycle or other hormonal changes. Normal vaginal discharge is thin and clear, or white in colour and should not have an unpleasant smell. 

Discharge in pregnancy

It is normal to notice that the amount of vaginal discharge may increase during pregnancy. Again, this is a normal response to hormonal factors and serves a role in keeping the vagina healthy and warding off infections that could travel to the womb. Towards the end of pregnancy, this may increase further. 

A “show” or mucous plug

In the last week of pregnancy, you may produce a show – a jelly-like mucous discharge that has come away from the cervix. This is a sign that your body is preparing for labour. 

When is discharge abnormal?

Vaginal discharge may be abnormal if it has any of the following features:

 

  • A green or yellow colour
  • An unpleasant smell 
  • Associated with vaginal or vulval irritation or itchiness
  • Pain when you pass urine 

 

If any of the above are present, please consult your midwife or GP. During pregnancy, they are likely to want to examine you and take a swab to identify if there is an infection that needs treating. 

Thrush in pregnancy

Thrush is a yeast infection. It can cause an increase in discharge, that is often thicker in texture and associated with vaginal irritation and itchiness. It is more common in pregnant women but it won’t harm your baby. 

 

You can help prevent thrush my wearing loose-fitting cotton underwear and avoiding any harsh soaps or genital cleansers. 

 

Thrush in pregnancy can be treated by antifungal pessaries or creams containing clotrimazole. This is safe to use in pregnancy. 

 

If you ever have any concerns or further questions about vaginal discharge during pregnancy, speak to your midwife or GP/medical practitioner.

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. For The Creators has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions.

Dr Anna Cantlay

Dr Anna Cantlay - GP and Chief Medical Officer at For The Creators

Dr Anna Cantlay is an experienced NHS and private GP based in London.

Anna’s priority and passion is making healthcare convenient, accessible and personalised to you and your family. Anna is passionate about Womens Healthcare and is a Menopause specialist.

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