Registered midwife Pippa Hime opens this taboo pregnancy discussion.
Some level of vaginal discharge is normal for most women at various times of their cycle, and this is no different in pregnancy. In fact, for some women, this can be one of the earliest signs of pregnancy.
In pregnancy, you may notice you have a constant and often increased vaginal discharge. This is known as leukorrhea.
What is leukorrhea?
Leukorrhea is a normal discharge that you may notice when you’re pregnant. It’s watery and white in colour. It doesn’t itch or smell foul and is the result of increased pregnancy hormones and blood flow that results in this discharge hanging around in your underwear making it one of those pregnancy symptoms that one doesn’t really talk too much about.
Why is it constantly wet down there?
There is an increased amount of blood flow to the pelvic area, which is a result of your pregnancy hormones – namely oestrogen. This means that the mucous membranes in the vagina are more stimulated. This actually helps to keep the vagina clean by passing out old cells and preventing any overgrowth of bacteria in the area. The amount of discharge can vary from day to day. There also tends to be an increase closer to the end of pregnancy, leading up to delivery.
How can I stay fresh down there?
Maintain normal personal hygiene by bathing regularly. There is no need to use a vaginal douche or any specialised products. This may upset the very delicate natural pH balance of the vagina and could potentially worsen your symptoms. Make use of unscented, cotton panty liners which can be changed throughout the day to keep the area dry. These are perfectly safe to use in pregnancy. Don’t make use of tampons at all.
When should I worry?
A watery, milky to clear discharge is normal. If you notice the colour changes to a creamy yellow, green or grey colour, it is time to get checked out. If the discharge becomes offensive with a musky or fishy smell, or chunky texture, there is a chance that you may have an infection. Consult your clinic or doctor to get this seen to immediately. It’s also important to let your healthcare provider know if you experience any burning inside the vagina, painful intercourse or painful urination. Any unwanted infection can pose a risk to your unborn baby. Your doctor or clinic may treat an abnormal vaginal discharge with an antifungal medication or antibiotics.
While your body undergoes many changes in pregnancy, rest assured that leukorrhea is normal and nothing to worry about.
Pippa is a Registered Professional Nurse and trained as a Registered Midwife at Chris Hani Baragwanth Hospital. She has extensive experience in all things baby related with a special interest in preparing couples for the exciting journey of parenthood as well as supporting them in the weeks that follow the birth. She and her husband Richard are the proud parents of Becca age 6 and Tom age 4. Pippa has a comprehensive private clinic service that includes Childbirth Education classes, a Well Baby Clinic including Immunization as well as Post Natal and Lactation support. With over 5 years of running a private clinic facility and raising 2 children Pippa comes with a wealth of knowledge and first-hand experience of parenthood. Learn more about Pippa Hime