Is discharge during pregnancy normal or dangerous?

There are some topics that one would rather not talk about even during pregnancy. Hemorrhoids, for example. Or vaginal discharge.

Is discharge during pregnancy normal or dangerous?

Many pregnant women asks, Is discharge during pregnancy normal or dangerous? It is perfectly normal for the color, consistency, and amount of discharge to change during pregnancy. After all, hormones do change. As long as it does not itch, burn, or smell unpleasant, there is rarely any reason for concern.

Why discharge change during early pregnancy?

Every healthy woman has a vaginal discharge. This is the body’s way of transporting impurities, skin cells, or dead germs to the outside. This is because of the vaginal acid environment, which is built up with the help of lactic acid bacteria, protects against bacterial and fungal infections.


Depending on the cycle, the female discharge changes. During the fertile days, women have an increased whitish or transparent discharge so that fertilization of the egg cell can take place smoothly. During this time, the vaginal flora is, therefore, less “aggressive.” After that, the discharge decreases again.


During pregnancy, the female hormones change, and there is more progesterone in the body. A cycle with ovulation no longer takes place. During pregnancy, the blood supply to the abdomen and, therefore, also to the vagina is improved, which is one of the reasons for the increased discharge. Increased secretion formation also prevents vaginal infections that could rise to the uterus and endanger the unborn child.


In addition to other important early signs of pregnancy, the coming offspring can, therefore, also make itself felt in this way initially.


I am pregnant, and my discharge smells – when do I need to see a doctor?

Healthy discharge, whether or not it is during pregnancy, is almost odorless and usually whitish. If you are healthy and there is nothing wrong with your vaginal protective flora, it does not itch, burn, or hurt. This also applies during pregnancy.


So if you notice that the quantity and consistency, especially the smell of the discharge, changed during pregnancy, you should consult a doctor.


For many women, pregnancy also weakens the immune system, and (vaginal) infections occur more frequently. Usually, it caused by bacteria or yeast fungi, which can multiply quickly in a disturbed vaginal environment.


Treat fungal infections during pregnancy

The majority of fungal infections are caused by the yeast fungus Candida Albicans. It is found everywhere in our body and our environment, including our vagina. In a healthy, acidic vaginal environment (PH value below 4.4), however, it cannot multiply to any significant extent. Only when the vaginal flora is disturbed does the fungus take over and cause unpleasant symptoms:

  • Itching, burning, pain when urinating
  • mastodynia
  • sour-smelling, thin-white discharge

The gynecologist can tell within a few minutes by examination, whether it is a fungal infection. Treatment is particularly important during pregnancy because, at birth, the infection would pass to the baby and disturb the healthy development of the skin and intestinal flora.

If a fungal infection is present, you can easily treat it with a freely available medication containing the active ingredient clotrimazole – even during pregnancy. The most effective is a combination of suppositories, which are inserted into the vagina on one or more days, and a cream, which is also applied externally.


Bacterial infection during pregnancy

A bacterial infection is immediately dangerous for pregnant women or their babies. In the worst case, the pathogens could trigger premature labor and lead to premature birth or miscarriage. Bacterial infections can be recognized by the fishy, unpleasant smell of the discharge and by a change in color, usually yellowish or even greenish.


Self-test with PH strips during pregnancy

The PH value in the vagina is relatively meaningful when it comes to infections and discharge during pregnancy. While fungi also reproduce in a normal vaginal environment with a pH value between 3.8 and 4.4, the PH value is higher in the case of a bacterial infection and around 5. If you want to be sure that your discharge during pregnancy is not a bacterial infection, you can also get measuring strips for the PH value yourself at the pharmacy. If the level is elevated, you should see your doctor. If it is normal, but you still feel symptoms, you can simply go to the pharmacy and use a fungicide.

What does brown discharge during pregnancy mean?

Brown or brownish discharge is caused by light bleeding. It is common in the first few weeks of pregnancy and is usually a nidation bleed. If real blood, i.e., red light discharge, comes or bleeding, occurs after the first few weeks, you should consult a doctor or hospital to make sure that everything is fine. If you have Brown spotting discharge during 5-6 weeks pregnancy 1st trimester then it’s for you.

What does clear, strong discharge mean if I am pregnant?

If, especially in advanced pregnancy, there is a light, thin-white, or transparent discharge, you should have it checked to make sure it is not amniotic fluid. This is because the amniotic fluid does not always gush out in large quantities, but can also seep out gradually when the baby’s head closes the opening at the cervix.

The difference between outflow and amniotic fluid can again be shown by a Ph test strip (amniotic fluid has a Ph value of 7, outflow of less than 5) or an examination by a gynecologist. If the birth of your child is still more than four weeks away, it could be a premature rupture of the bladder. In that stage, you should see a doctor as soon as possible because your child may be in danger.

Is discharge during pregnancy normal or dangerous?

If the discharge is mucilaginous or jellylike and transparent, possibly mixed with some blood, the mucus plug may have come loose. In the last weeks of pregnancy, this is a normal process that heralds the birth.

What can I do against discharge during pregnancy?

Unfortunately, as a pregnant woman, you can do absolutely nothing against the discharge itself. We can only hope that this phase will soon be over because the strength and type of discharge do not remain the same throughout the pregnancy. Instead of  worrying about Is discharge during pregnancy normal or dangerous?, you should rather support its function: Protect the vaginal flora from infection and make sure that no bacteria can rise to your baby. The best way to do this is to eat a healthy diet, avoid excessive intimate hygiene, and never use tampons to catch the discharge.

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