female concerned If vaginal discharge an early sign of pregnancy

 Vaginal discharge is common in a female’s life after puberty and it changes on different phases of the menstrual cycle and other changes such as pregnancy, menopause, infections, STDs or STIs, etc. An increase in vaginal discharge is commonly an early sign of pregnancy, which is also known as leukorrhea. Although, some changes in the vaginal discharge can be attributed to other factors or conditions too.

Leukorrhea is the medical term for thin, milky white-colored vaginal discharge that many females first experience in early pregnancy. The discharge may be mild-smelling or sometimes odorless. 

The amount is likely to increase as the pregnancy progresses. Leukorrhea is similar to the vaginal discharge a female might experience between heavy periods but is more in pregnancy.

What causes leukorrhea in pregnancy?

When a female is pregnant, an increase in estrogen levels causes increased blood flow to the pelvic area. More blood flow in the body stimulates the mucous membranes, causing an increase in vaginal discharge in early pregnancy and beyond.

Leukorrhea has an important purpose. This pregnancy discharge removes the dead cells from the vagina, which protects the birth canal from infections and maintains a healthy pH and bacterial balance in the vagina.

Is vaginal discharge an early sign of pregnancy?

Young pregnant female

Many females experience vaginal discharge as an early sign of pregnancy.  Most pregnant females notice sticky, white, or pale-yellow mucus early in pregnancy and it may also be there throughout pregnancy. Increased hormones and blood flow to the vagina contribute to the reasons behind discharge in early pregnancy. In some cases, vaginal discharge may not often be associated with pregnancy. 

Is white discharge in pregnancy normal?

Thin, white discharge is normal and healthy throughout the entire pregnancy. However, it can be a sign of an infection if it is lumpy or thick, especially if accompanied by other symptoms such as itching or a fishy odor.

The female may also notice vaginal discharge which is brown or pink. In the early pregnancy, brown or pink vaginal discharge can be a sign of implantation bleeding. Later on, vaginal spotting in pregnancy is also most often normal, especially after having sex or a pelvic exam. However, the female should keep a note that heavy bleeding in pregnancy might not be normal and should be reported to a doctor. 

What Does Early Pregnancy Discharge Look Like?

After a female gets pregnant, she might notice an increase in the usual discharge (known as leukorrhea). This happens due to more estrogen in the system and an increase in blood flow.

This early pregnancy discharge is normal and is thin, milky white and may have a mild smell. A pregnant female can expect the discharge to increase as the pregnancy goes on.

When to call your doctor about discharge during early pregnancy?

female at gynaecologist

Call your doctor without delay if you have one or more of the following-

  • Yellowish, greenish, thick or cheesy discharge 
  • Foul or fishy vaginal odor
  • Burning or itching in the  vagina or vulva
  • Pain or burning while urinating (dysuria)
  • Painful sex

Pregnancy discharge can frequently mess your underwear, which can be troubling and at times uncomfortable. Rest assured that discharge in early pregnancy is most often normal. And if you notice abnormal or uncomfortable symptoms like the ones mentioned above, it is best to consult your doctor for your own and your baby’s well-being.


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What should I do in case of abnormal discharge?

Normal vaginal discharge is colorless and has no foul smelling odor. But, abnormal vaginal discharge may be yellow or green in color, have a chunky consistency, or have a fishy or foul smelling. Yeast infection or  bacterial infection are usually the cause of abnormal discharge. If you notice any abnormal discharge that looks unusual or has a foul smell, see your gynecologist for diagnosis and treatment.


Is excess vaginal discharge a sign of pregnancy?

When a woman becomes pregnant, her vaginal discharge changes in consistency.  One of the earliest signs of pregnancy is the increase in vaginal discharge. A female is likely to have excess vaginal discharge during pregnancy. 

Normal vaginal discharge (leukorrhea) is thin, clear, or milky white, and has a mild smell. Changes in vaginal discharge can begin as early as 1 to 2 weeks after conception, even before a missed period. As the pregnancy progresses, vaginal discharge usually increases and becomes more noticeable, and it is the heaviest towards the end of the pregnancy.  


When does the discharge change in color during pregnancy?

As the pregnancy progresses, the female may notice an increase in vaginal discharge. This increase in vaginal discharge is normal and nothing to worry about. This happens normally during pregnancy and generally increases as the pregnancy progresses. 

But a vaginal discharge that has a yellow, green or pinkish color, has a consistency like cottage cheese or has a foul smell, the female should consult her OB-GYN as such changes in vaginal discharge are often caused due to STIs (sexually transmitted infections), bacterial vaginosis or BV , yeast infection or vulvovaginal candidiasis which are common during pregnancy.  


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