Pregnancy is the ultimate step towards motherhood. A woman’s body undergoes several changes during pregnancy. It essentially prepares the mother for gestation of the foetus and helps with its nourishment and care. Breasts getting bigger, weight gain, aversion to certain foods, morning sickness are some of the changes which occur over the course of a pregnancy. For some women pregnancy can come with other complications as well as hypertension and gestational diabetes being the most common among them.
Apart from that, another important change seen in pregnant women is their vaginal discharge. Yes, you read it right. We may not think that vaginal discharge is something which can be linked to pregnancy, but it is.
What is Vaginal Discharge?
First things first, what exactly is vaginal discharge? If you are a woman, you know that the sticky, slightly viscous white substance that we find in our underwear at the end of a day is vaginal discharge. White, non-smelly vaginal discharge occurs commonly when a female is experiencing ovulation.
Contrary to popular opinion, discharge does not mean that your vagina isn’t healthy. In fact, it is quite the opposite. A vagina is a very sensitive part of a woman’s body and a self-cleaning organ. It maintains its pH balance by fostering good bacteria and keeping itself well-lubricated. The discharge we often spot is just our vagina’s way of keeping things clean, down there and ensuring that all the ‘bad’ bacteria exits the vajayjay. So, there is no need to go all out with soaps (or gels, oils or whatever!) just a splash of water will keep everything neat and clean.
Discharge and Pregnancy
Similar to the increase in levels of estrogen experienced by women during their menstrual cycle, expecting mothers also showcase a rise in estrogen levels. With the foetus needing constant nourishment, pregnant women exhibit heightened levels of estrogen. Owing to the high level of estrogen, the texture and colour of the vaginal discharge may be wet, slippery and milky white or clear, respectively. A word to the wise, though. If you do not showcase the indicators, it does not mean that you are not pregnant or that the pregnancy is not feasible. So, talk to your doctor and do not jump to any conclusions, as each pregnancy and individual’s body is different.
Here is a list of vaginal discharge indicators and what they mean:
a) Watery discharge – It may mean that you are leaking amniotic fluid, the liquid which protects the foetus.
(If this discharge occurs only when you sneeze or cough, it may just be pee)
b) Bloody discharge – Light spotting is common during pregnancy but, heavier bleeding may be indicative of a miscarriage, cervical infection or other concerns.
c) Clear, pink or slightly bloody discharge – This is part of a phenomenon often referred to as the ‘bloody show’. When a woman is closer to labor or about to give birth, the mucous plug formed to block the cervix and prevent any bacteria from entering the uterus, is pushed out. It is a sign that labor is about to commence.
d) Thick, chunky discharge – It may be the result of a yeast infection.
e) Thin, gray or white, fishy-smelling discharge – It may indicate Bacterial Vaginosis.
Since being pregnant does not exempt one from being prone to Sexually Transmitted Infection(s) (STI), any kind of strange or different discharge could be cause for concern. Any discharge that is different in colour, texture or smell, or accompanied by burning or itching symptoms, is worth and absolutely essential to discuss with your doctor. It will help you get proper treatment, if necessary, and ensure that everything is well, down there. DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE.
Vaginal Discharge | Explained by Dr. Nita Thakre