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Paula Kashtan

Discharge During Pregnancy

Learn what's normal—and what's not.

You’ve probably seen this normal, odorless or mild smelling, whitish discharge before—there’s just more of it now that you’re pregnant. This discharge, called leukorrhea, is made up of secretions from the cervix and vagina and becomes heavier during pregnancy thanks to an increase in estrogen production and greater blood flow to the vagina.

You’ll notice another increase in discharge as you approach delivery. As your cervix thins and dilates it will expel the mucus plug, leaving behind a thicker discharge. If you see an increase in discharge or 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, because this might be a sign of infection.

The best way to deal with discharge is by keeping 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.