Vaginal discharge—what a fun, not at all uncomfortable phrase! It’s something most of us are familiar with and will continue to deal with for years to come. Vaginal discharge, in all its various colors and consistencies, can be a normal part of everyday life, or an indicator of infection or disease. That’s why it’s important to be familiar with your own discharge, especially during pregnancy.
Is it normal to have vaginal discharge while pregnant?
Yes. In fact, you should see an increase in vaginal discharge as soon as you become pregnant. The influx of hormones released when you get pregnant tells your body to do a lot of things, including produce more discharge. So, in most cases, there’s no reason to be alarmed about a sudden increase showing up in your underwear.
Does vaginal discharge change when pregnant?
Typical vaginal discharge ebbs and flows with your menstrual cycle, but during pregnancy it remains relatively constant. It may be a bit thicker than your regular discharge, or just more prevalent.
How does vaginal discharge change during pregnancy?
Throughout your first and second trimesters, you may not see a lot of changes in your discharge pattern. However, in the third trimester, and as you get closer to labor, vaginal discharge may increase significantly. As your body prepares for childbirth, you may notice a thick, mucus-y discharge that may contain pink or red streaks. This could be the “bloody show,” or a release of your cervical mucus, and usually occurs just days (or hours!) before your baby arrives.
What causes vaginal discharge changes during pregnancy?
Hormones are the number one contributing factor to changes in vaginal discharge during pregnancy. Your body experiences a dramatic increase in progesterone and estrogen—which famously affects mood during pregnancy—and also sends signals to your vagina to increase discharge.
The main function of this increase in discharge is to protect the womb from infection.
What color is vaginal discharge when pregnant?
Normal, healthy discharge should be clear, milky white, or a very pale yellow. A few days before labor, there may be some pink or red streaks in your discharge, indicating that your cervix is preparing for delivery.
What is considered abnormal vaginal discharge in pregnancy?
Like we mentioned earlier, vaginal discharge can alert you to infections and disease. During pregnancy, yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis are common and can show up with itching, swelling, and foul-smelling discharge. If you notice discharge that is an unusual color—brown, green, bright yellow, etc—or any other abnormal changes, talk to your doctor right away.
Blood in your discharge can also be a sign of infection, or a more serious problem like placenta previa.
Tips for managing vaginal discharge during pregnancy
Vaginal discharge during pregnancy can be pretty annoying—especially when it feels like your underwear is always wet. As long as your discharge is normal and healthy, there are some things you can do to manage it.
A lot of women deal with discharge by buying panty liners in bulk. This option can help with the feeling of wetness, but can also be a bit of a hassle to keep up with. Reusable panty liners are a more sustainable option, but can still be uncomfortable or challenging to get used to.
Our number one tip for dealing with pregnancy discharge is to wear absorbent underwear instead! Proof undies not only absorb discharge, but they also keep you feeling fresh and dry with moisture-wicking technology. Plus, our underwear is made from super soft material that feels like butter on your skin—perfect for pregnancy!
We recommend the Leak Resistant Everyday Undie as a great option for daily use during pregnancy. They double as protection against bladder leaks, and the multi-way stretch fabric makes these undies comfortable to wear below your belly as your baby grows.
Buy a few pairs to get you through your pregnancy, and simply throw them in the wash on a gentle cycle and hang or lay flat to dry.
An increase in moisture down there can increase your chances of getting a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. Be sure to rinse your vagina regularly with warm water, and dry off before getting dressed. Always avoid scented soaps and douching, as they can create serious irritation and disrupt your pH levels.
You might also consider adding probiotics to your diet to fight off yeast infections, but be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any new supplements.
Another way to decrease your risk of infection when dealing with pregnancy discharge is to wear loose-fitting bottoms and breathable fabrics. Certain materials, like polyester, and tight-fitting pants can trap moisture and invite bad bacteria to the party.
When to seek professional help
It’s always a safe bet to consult your doctor if you ever have concerns about your vaginal discharge during pregnancy. Discoloration, a change in consistency, smelly odors, and blood can all be signs of trouble when it comes to discharge, so don’t hesitate to ask questions and get help.
Vaginal discharge is a fact of life, and something that is totally normal during pregnancy. It protects your vaginal canal from carrying infection up to the womb, and prepares your body for delivery. And although an increase in discharge can be an annoyance during pregnancy, Proof absorbent underwear can help. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns, or if you notice abnormal changes like increased thickness, discoloration, and strong odors in your discharge.