What Does it Mean if I am having Discharge during Early Pregnancy?

Vaginal discharge of some sort is common during pregnancy.  During early pregnancy, there is an increased production of hormones, particularly estrogen, that can lead to vaginal discharge.  In addition to the increased production of estrogen, there is increased flow of blood to the vaginal area during pregnancy.  These factors can cause a variety of secretions, both from your cervix and from your vagina itself, that lead to vaginal discharge.  Increased vaginal discharge is generally not anything to worry about.  The term for vaginal discharge is leukorrhea, and this is the same vaginal discharge that you may have occasionally had before you became pregnant.  It is typically odorless or has just a mild smell, and will probably be somewhat milky.  Occasionally, you might find something of a reddish to brown tint to your vaginal discharge.  If you do, this typically indicates "spotting" or light bleeding. 

Spotting during early pregnancy is relatively common.  However, you should be careful to take the proper precautions.  Any spotting or bleeding at any time during pregnancy that lasts for more than a day, is severe, or is accompanied by cramping or abdominal pain should be looked at by your health care provider.

There are some things that you should and should not do during pregnancy in regard to vaginal discharge.  During pregnancy, you can use panty liners if your discharge is particularly heavy or uncomfortable.  Never use tampons during pregnancy, as they can bring germs and bacteria into the vaginal region.  Likewise, you should not douche during pregnancy, as this will upset the delicate balance of vaginal bacteria and can even cause a vaginal infection.  If your discharge is bloody, if it is green to yellow in color, if it is accompanied by itching or redness, or has a strong smell to it, don’t assume that it is just an infection and attempt to treat it by yourself.  Other problems, such as a variety of STDs, can cause these symptoms, and can be harmful to you and to your baby.  Always consult your health care provider if you have an abnormal vaginal discharge.



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