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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.

When you’re expecting, your body changes in all sorts of ways—including ramping up production of vaginal discharge. So if you’re noticing more white discharge these days, mark it down as yet another symptom of pregnancy. But it’s possible for pregnancy discharge to change color or consistency, which could be a signal that something’s wrong. Find out what kind of discharge is normal during pregnancy, and what’s not.

What Is Pregnancy Discharge?

You’ve probably seen this odorless or mild-smelling white 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. 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 To Call Your Doctor

If you see an increase in discharge or a change in consistency before week 37, or if your discharge has 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 yellow in color or has a strong smell, because this might be a sign of infection. You could also be leaking anmiotic fluid, which could be a sign that your water is breaking—in that case, the fluid will generally be odorless.

How To Deal With Discharge During Pregnancy

The best way to deal with pregnancy 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.

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