When you get pregnant, your body starts changing. Many women quickly notice a new type of vaginal discharge, which is usually thin, white, milky, and has a mild (or no) odour.
This discharge—medically referred to as leukorrhea—is nothing to worry about. Although you might find it a bit uncomfortable or inconvenient (it can make a mess of your underwear!), it’s a normal part of a healthy pregnancy.
This is where our special absorbent underwear – the under bump bikini – may aid your comfort.
What is Leukorrhea and Why Does It Happen?
Pregnancy discharge can be one of the earliest signs you’re expecting. It’s common throughout pregnancy and can increase in the last trimester.
Like most things in nature, leukorrhea has an ingenious purpose. The sex hormone estrogen—which gets increased when you are pregnant—stimulates your mucous membranes to increase the production of “juices.”
The heavier discharge acts as a self-cleaning mechanism, preventing infections in the birth canal, and flushing out bacteria and dead cells. It makes sure there is a healthy balance of bacteria in your vagina.
You can also notice increased vaginal discharge toward the end of pregnancy. This could be due to the baby’s head pressing against the cervix as the birth is nearing. Thicker discharge that can contain streaks of blood and appears in the last two weeks of pregnancy is referred to as “show,” and can be an early sign of labour.
Do’s and Don’ts During Pregnancy
Pregnancy discharge can resemble your in-between periods discharge, only heavier. Don’t be too eager to clean yourself as this can interfere with the natural balance and may disturb the pH levels in your vagina.
It’s important not to use tampons, douches, or wet wipes during pregnancy. Remember, your vagina is self-cleaning, so skip anything that could disturb the natural process.
So, what can you do about it? Some women decide to go commando at home to feel cleaner and drier (not to mention more free!).
After all, a pregnant woman can do as she chooses! When out, many resort to panty liners (best if they’re cotton and unscented) or absorbent underwear.
Check out our maternity panty for the specially designed V-shape style that fits under your swelling belly.
When Should I Become Worried About My Pregnancy Discharge?
The American Pregnancy Association advises keeping an eye on your discharge so you can detect any changes. As already mentioned, white, mild smelling discharge is no cause for alarm. In fact, it protects you and your baby.
In contrast, if your discharge turns green, grey or yellowish, has a strong odour and/or is accompanied by redness or itching, you might have an infection.
Yeast infections, also known as candidiasis, are the most common vaginal infections during pregnancy. They are often characterized by a cheesy-looking discharge.
Sexually transmitted diseases can also cause an abnormal discharge.
If you suspect you have an infection, don’t attempt to treat it yourself. See your gynaecologist or health care provider so you can get properly diagnosed and treated.
How to Maintain Vaginal Health During Pregnancy?
Here are a few tips that may help you avoid infections during pregnancy:
- Wear loose clothing made from natural materials.
- Use unscented personal care products.
- Dry your vaginal area thoroughly after swimming, showering, etc.
- Use breathable underwear.
- Make sure you wipe your genital area from front to back.
- Eat a balanced diet and limit your sugar intake (candida loves sugar!).
What About Pink Discharge?
Pinkish or brown discharge at the start of pregnancy is usually a sign of implantation bleeding, so is harmless. Later on, many women experience spotting, which is also normal.
Nonetheless, you should tell your doctor about it. If the bleeding is heavier (enough to fill a pad) and lasts longer than a day, you need to notify your health provider immediately.
When in doubt about your discharge, it’s always best to check with your doctor. Better safe than sorry.