Vaginal Discharge: Signs And Symptoms Of Pregnancy


Vaginal Discharge associated with pregnancy is usually thick white or milky white, it can also be clear or slightly milky, but rarely if ever is typical pregnancy secretion red or yellow. It is rarely associated with an infection, especially if it does not smell.

Normal Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy

For the first two trimesters, thick, white mucus will often be noticed in the panties. This is called leucorrhea and every pregnant woman will see this vaginal discharge during pregnancy. The leucorrhea will have a slight smell and be visibly noticeable. The pregnant women can wear a maxi pad, pantiliner or disposable underwear if she is concerned about the vaginal discharge.

Tampons and vaginal douche are not recommended during pregnancy. Tampons are not sterile and infection is not something a mom wants to introduce to the unborn fetus or the reproductive system.

Douche, as well, can rinse away the healthy bacteria of the vagina that prevent infection. With those bacteria gone, infection can grow quickly and could cause pregnancy complications.

Not so Normal Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy

There are times when infections do become a part of a woman’s pregnancy. These can include vaginal yeast and other infections. The symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection include green or yellow vaginal discharge during pregnancy, itching and foul smell.

If a pregnant woman notices any of these changes in vaginal discharge during pregnancy, the obstetrician needs to be notified immediately.

Thick Creamy White Discharge, or Milky White Vaginal Discharge

A thick creamy white milky vaginal discharge may appear frightening to many women. It could also be the first sign of pregnancy. In most cases, this type of discharge is perfectly normal – especially if it’s odorless. Whether you are pregnant or or not, this vaginal discharge during early pregnancy is common and harmless.


  • Thick milky white discharge during early pregnancy is called: 
  • leukorrhea and exists due to increasing and varying estrogen levels. 
  • Estrogen increases blood flow to the pelvic area of the body, 
  • subsequently leads to an increase in mucus discharge.


Vaginal discharge like thick milky white pregnancy discharge is usually normal. Reddish or brown or greenish discharge, especially if it’s foul smelling, is usually not normal.

When a woman ovulates, vaginal discharge may leak onto her underwear or protective pads. During pregnancy the look of the discharge may be the same, but the volume is much larger. Throughout pregnancy, thick white milky vaginal discharge is common and may even increase as the pregnancy moves into the latter months. Toward the end of the pregnancy, a large amount of white discharge may be passed with a bloody tinge; this is usually the mucus plug releasing from the cervix.

Treatment for Vaginal Discharge

First you need to make sure the discharge you observe is normal. Your doctor is your best source to help you with this. Pads and panty liners are safe for use during pregnancy. No tampons should be used to catch vaginal discharge during pregnancy or after birth for at least the first menstrual cycle.
Some discharge may have a slightly fishy odor which is concerning for women. If the discharge is fishy or foul smelling, it’s best to get an examination. Washing the vaginal outside area, the labia, can help curb the scent associated with vaginal discharge. At no point should a pregnant woman use a douche to cleanse the vagina. Further, wipes and vaginal washes often contain perfumes, which can irritate sensitive pregnancy skin. These treatments can also change the pH of the vagina and vaginal area, which can lead to irritation and breakouts. Therefore, wipes and and vaginal washes should not be used.

The process of implantation

Pregnancy begins when the egg is ejected from the ovary during ovulation and then is fertilized by the sperm inside the fallopian tube. This usually happens within 12-24 hours after ovulation. The fertilized egg then travels down towards the uterus, increasing in size and cells along the way. Right after fertilization, when there is only one cell, it’s called a “zygote”, and as it divides it becomes first a “blastomere” until it reaches about 30 cells, and about 5 days later, shortly before implantation, it’s called a “blastocyst”. Only after implantation is the pregnancy hormone hCG excreted into the blood. Only when hCG is present in the blood stream can typical pregenancy symptoms like vaginal discharge appear.

When do pregnancy symptoms appear?

Small amounts of hCG, the pregnancy hormone, enter the blood stream several days after implantation, about 8-10 days after ovulation and before a missed period. Therefore, most symptoms do not typically appear until the hCG has reached sufficient levels, about 1-2 weeks after you miss your period (3-4 weeks after ovulation, or 2-3 weeks after implantation). Though these may suggest that a woman is pregnant, a positive pregnancy test is needed to confirm a pregnancy.

Vaginal secretions and discharge as sign and symptom of early pregnancy

Thick or milky white vaginal  secretion in early pregnancy, usually around the time of a missed menstrual period, is often among the first typical early pregnancy symptoms. Women commonly notice anincrease in vaginal discharge, especially if an early pregnancy is likely.The other typical early pregnancy signs and symptoms are nausea and tiredness and missing a menstrual period.

Most women are not aware that vaginal discharge, especially if it’s thick and milky white, can be among the first signs and symptoms of pregnancy. This is because the changing hormones of pregnancy can stimulate the vagina to increase production of this vaginal secretion. 

Not every woman experiences this type of vaginal secretion in early pregnancy, however, so not seeing the white, milky secretion does not mean that you are not pregnant.

Vaginal secretion as sign of ovulation and fertility

Vaginal secrtion can also be observed as an indicator of ovulation. Leading up to ovulation, cervical mucus becomes rubbery in texture and will stretch between two fingers. This is known as egg-white cervical mucus or EWCM. The thick, sticky nature of this fertile cervical mucus holds onto semen and helps sperm travel safely through the vagina to the egg.


Third trimester vaginal discharge during pregnancy

It is during the third trimester that women often notice their vaginal discharge a bit more. This is not because of a change necessarily, but because of the impending shedding of the mucus plug. This plug is a stopper of sorts for the cervix and when it is released that could signal the last phase of pregnancy before birth.

Many women never notice the shedding of the mucus plug, but may see spotting, bloody discharge of tinted vaginal discharge during pregnancy after the plug has shed. These are all important changes to report to your attending physician.



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