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Paula Kashtan

Discharge During Pregnancy

What's up with all that discharge during pregnancy? We've got the scoop on what's normal and when to call your OB.

What is discharge during pregnancy?

You've probably seen this odorless or mild-smelling whitish discharge before — there's just more of it now that you're pregnant. The discharge, called leukorrhea, is made up of secretions from the cervix and vagina. Don’t worry — it’s totally normal and usually nothing to worry about.

What could be causing my discharge during pregnancy?

Your discharge becomes heavier during pregnancy thanks to an increase in estrogen production and greater blood flow to the vagina. As you get closer to your due date, you’ll notice another increase in discharge. As your cervix thins and dilates, it will expel the mucus plug, leaving behind a thicker discharge.

When should I go to the doctor with my discharge during pregnancy?

If you see an increase in discharge or a change in consistency before week 37, or a pink or brownish tint at any point during pregnancy, call your doctor immediately — this could be a sign of preterm labor. Also inform your doctor if your discharge is accompanied by itching or burning, is green or yellowish in color or has a strong smell, because this might be a sign of infection. You could also be leaking fluid, which could be a sign that your water is breaking — the fluid will generally be odorless.

What should I do to treat my discharge during pregnancy?

The best way to deal with discharge is to keep the area dry and clean. Wear cotton underwear and steer clear of tight clothing, scented pads, douches or any other feminine hygiene sprays or products. There's really no way to reduce discharge...but you wouldn’t want to, anyway. It's your body’s natural way of expelling bacteria that could harm both you and baby.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Is Spotting During the First Trimester Normal?

Most Common Pregnancy Symptoms

The Signs of Labor