Discharge and bleeding in pregnancy

Published: 09th March 2006
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Being pregnant causes a lot of changes in your body. Many of these changes are due to increases in your hormone levels. Most pregnant women know about changes like swelling, mood swings, and cravings, but there are other changes that come along with pregnancy that are not commonly discussed. 

One of the changes that can occur in a pregnant woman is an increase in vaginal discharge. Having vaginal discharge during pregnancy is completely normal so if it is a symptom you notice don’t get upset. There are several different things that can cause vaginal discharge in a pregnant woman just as there are different causes of discharge in women who are not expecting. Some of the reasons include infection, hormones, non-infectious irritation, or cervical erosion. There is always yeast present inside of your body, but a yeast infection occurs when the balance of the yeast is affected by hormones, such as during pregnancy.

If the discharge you are experiencing has a foul smell, causes itching or burning, or is blood stained then you may have an infection. If you suspect that your vaginal discharge is caused by an infection then you need to make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. If your discharge is caused by an infection there is a good chance that it is either caused by Candidiasis, also known as thrush or a common yeast infection, or bacterial vaginosis. 

Candidiasis, or yeast infection, is generally characterized by a cottage cheese like consistency and may be whitish or whitish gray in color. The odor from a Candidiasis infection often smells yeasty like baking bread or beer. Your doctor may be able to determine if you have a yeast infection by a visual examination or they may perform a swab test. Because you are pregnant you need to see a doctor about any potential infection, but there are some home remedies reported to be safe even during pregnancy. Eating yogurt can help to restore the natural balance of yeast inside of your body, and garlic has also been used to treat yeast infections. Depending on the severity of your yeast infection your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic or cream to treat it. Do not use over the counter treatments for a yeast infection without consulting your doctor first. 

Bacterial vaginosis is another common infection that is seen during pregnancy. The discharge from bacterial vaginosis has a watery consistency and a strong fishy odor. Bacterial vaginosis can cause premature labor so it does need to be treated. Treatment for bacterial vaginosis is usually a round of antibiotics. There are other infections that can cause vaginal discharges in an array of colors and smells and many of the causes of those are sexually transmitted diseases. 

Hormones are another cause of vaginal discharge. The discharge from an increase in hormones is often clear or may have a slightly whitish color to it. Vaginal discharge related to an increase in hormones is normally mild smelling and will not be an irritant to the skin in the genital area. 

There are several non-infective irritations that can also cause vaginal discharge in pregnant women. These can include wearing a wet bathing suit for too long, sweating, a reaction to feminine products like odor reducing sprays, a reaction to laundry detergent or fabric softener, or sexual activity. The irritation cause by these can be relieved by keeping the vaginal area clean and dry, and by wearing cotton underwear and loose fitting clothes. 

Cervical erosion or a thinning of the cervix can also cause a vaginal discharge in pregnant women. This typically occurs as a woman is nearing labor and her cervix begins to thin. This can cause a mucus like discharge that may be lightly pink. The mucus plug is a concentration of mucous at the mouth of the uterus that protects the growing baby from infection. As the time for delivery nears some women will lose their mucus plug. This may involve the passing of quite a lot of mucus discharge from the vagina. The mucus plug can be brownish yellow or light pink, and the release of it is sometimes known as the "bloody show". The loss of the mucus plug means that labor will begin soon, but it could still be several hours or days before the cervix dilates completely. 

Another pregnancy symptom that some women aren't aware of is bleeding during pregnancy. You may experience some bleeding during your pregnancy and some of it is quite normal. Other bleeding can be a sign that something is wrong, and all bleeding needs to be reported to your doctor or mid wife. 

Another pregnancy symptom that some women aren't aware of is bleeding during pregnancy. You may experience some bleeding during your pregnancy and some of it is quite normal. Other bleeding can be a sign that something is wrong, and all bleeding needs to be reported to your doctor or mid wife. 

During early pregnancy some women experience some light bleeding called implantation bleeding when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall. Bleeding during early pregnancy can also be a sign of miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. Most miscarriages occur during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy and the bleeding can be dark brown, bright red, or light pink. An ectopic pregnancy happens when the fertilized egg becomes implanted outside the womb, most commonly in the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancies are extremely dangerous and are not viable pregnancies. 

Bleeding that occurs during the later stages of pregnancy can also be a sign that something is wrong. Two common cause of bleeding in late pregnancy are placenta previa and placental abruption. Placenta previa happens when the placenta fully or partially covers the opening of the cervix. If you are diagnosed with placenta previa you may spend some time on bed rest and your delivery may be by caesarean section. Placental abruption is when the placenta comes away from the uterine wall prematurely. Women who are diagnosed with placental abruption may be placed on hospitalized bed rest or they may require an emergency C-section. Any woman who experiences bleeding in the later stages of pregnancy needs to get to a hospital immediately.








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sage2010 on September 2, 2011 said:
I deeply regret for not rushing to the doc at the first sight of spotting. I did not expect that a small dab of brown discharge can be damaging to my pregnancy, as I did not experience any cramps/pain. However, my next visit to the OB confirms that I had a missed miscarriage about the same time I had the spotting. I was so devastated!
Adrian Lawrence on September 2, 2011 said:
If you have any concerns at all during pregnancy, don't delay call your doctor straight away.
Cari_Kay on September 5, 2011 said:
Unfortunately, some doctors do not tell women much about the bleeding and some even lead women to believe that they are miscarrying even when they are not.
Charlotte Smith on September 12, 2011 said:
This is a great article as it provides information on many different features of pregnancy. It has informed me of things i should expect or thigns that are abnormals as well as teling me how serious things could be. Its great to be clued up on all these things during pregnancy so that if there is a chance of anything serious happening during your pregnancy you are aware of it and seek medical help immediately.
Siv Klemets on January 27, 2013 said:
Its interesting that some bleeding is seen as normal in a pregnancy, I think like me most women will be very worried about even a small amount. Good read and nice article.
Babiesbase on January 28, 2013 said:
Losing your muscus plug or Operculum can also give rise to discharge commonly known as a bloody show.
Linea Nigra on June 11, 2013 said:
Always get any bleeding or discharge checked out, its better to be safe than sorry.

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