How Do Early Pregnancy Discharge Look

These are some of the early pregnancy discharge look like which you may see during your pregnancy. Early pregnancy discharge is common in the first trimester of pregnancy, but it is important to know what it looks like so you can tell if there is a problem. Early discharge has a distinct texture and appearance that distinguishes it from other types of vaginal discharges…

Learning to recognize early pregnancy discharge is important for a healthy pregnancy. It’s also helpful to know if you might have an infection or other infections that can cause abnormal discharge. In this chart, we outline what normal early pregnancy discharge looks like so you can be aware of changes to your body. Discharge during early pregnancy is normal. But it can also be a sign that something is wrong. Knowing the difference can help you feel more comfortable and less worried about early pregnancy discharge.

Early pregnancy discharge can be anything from clear or slightly milky to a pink or brownish color. It may be thick and sticky, or thin to watery in consistency. Some women report spotting with or without that mucusy discharge, which can slightly increase or decrease throughout the day.

How Does Your Discharge Look Like in Early Pregnancy

Because of the increase in progesterone in your body, your discharge may look a little different now. In early pregnancy, it is clear and stretchy like egg whites. But when you are not pregnant, it is thicker than an egg white and more yellow or white.

In early pregnancy, the vaginal discharge may be mostly clear or slightly cloudy. It’s normal for your discharge to change at this time, but there are a few things you can look out for. A normal discharge is clear, watery and odorless. In early pregnancy, you may find an increase in your cervical mucus. Your discharge may be more prevalent during ovulation and pre-ejaculatory fluid, which also increases at this time.

The discharge of a pregnant woman is very important in the early stages of pregnancy when her body is preparing for childbirth. However, it can be difficult to distinguish a normal discharge from an abnormal one. The color and amount of your vaginal discharge should be natural during your pregnancy. Throughout your pregnancy, you will notice more vaginal discharge than usual. If you’ve recently noticed an increase in discharge, it could be because of early signs of pregnancy.

Following the end of menstruation, you may notice discharge from your vagina. This discharge is not the result of ovulation, it’s simply a byproduct of all the changes going on in your body prior to conception. The vaginal discharge will be clear and thin to start out with before getting a little thicker, milky then white.

How Long Do You Discharge in Early Pregnancy

It is not necessary to let your phone discharge until the battery is empty in an early pregnancy. Since modern batteries are designed to shut down automatically when they reach a low charge, there is no need to worry about over-discharging your device.

You should discharge for at least a week before your period. Normal discharges are mainly from the cervix. Cervical mucus or discharge may change during a woman’s cycle. It is normal to see changes in the amount, color and consistency of cervical secretions as your menstrual cycle progresses. the discharge of the cervix in early pregnancy, which is often confused for the menstrual period. However, it has some distinct differences from a menstrual period and should be treated differently. The vaginal bleeding associated with implantation is generally lighter than a normal period and may come from only one or two areas within the vagina.

All females, whether pregnant or not, have some discharge from their vagina that starts one year before puberty and stops after menopause. The amount of vaginal discharge varies during the different phases of your life. When you get pregnant, it’s normal for you to have an increased cervical discharge. The pregnancy discharge may vary in thickness, consistency, amount and frequency throughout the duration of your pregnancy. It is among the earliest signs and symptoms of pregnancy.

Normal discharge from the vagina is called leucorrhea. It helps in keeping your vagina clean and preventing infection. An increase in vaginal discharge may occur as early as 1 to 2 weeks after you conceive, even before missing of your periods.

Is pregnancy vaginal discharge normal?

Yes, it is normal to have more vaginal discharge while pregnant. The cervical discharge may start increasing as soon 1 to 2 weeks after you conceive. The discharge may become heavier as the pregnancy progresses and is at its heaviest during the later stages of pregnancy. 

The vaginal discharge while pregnant increases as your body produces more estrogen and the blood flow to the vaginal area is increased. Cervical changes during pregnancy may also affect the discharge from the vagina. As the cervix and the walls of the vagina soften, your body produces extra pregnancy discharge to help prevent the infections. The head of your baby may also press against your cervix towards the end of your pregnancy which may often result in the increase of vaginal discharge. 

The pregnancy discharge consists of vaginal and cervical secretions, normal bacteria present in the vagina and old vaginal cells.

Can vaginal discharge be a sign of pregnancy?

An increase in cervical discharge is among the earliest signs and symptoms of pregnancy. The cervical fluid when pregnant may increase as soon as 1 to 2 weeks after you conceive and the discharge may become more apparent as the pregnancy progresses.

Types of pregnancy discharge

Mucosal discharge

During pregnancy, the blood flow to the cervical area is increased. This leads to an increase in the secretion of cervical fluid during pregnancy, which results in an increased pregnancy discharge. You should not get concerned about this increased vaginal discharge while pregnant as it is common during pregnancy and is harmless. 

This discharge is clear or milky white, thin or mucus-like and mild smelling and it helps in keeping your vagina clean and preventing infections.

You should visit your physician if you have a pregnancy discharge with an unpleasant and strong smell or an unusual color.

Show

The show is the mucus plug, which seals the cervix during your pregnancy and helps prevent the occurrence of infections. It is usually released during the later part of pregnancy as you are approaching labor. The mucus plug to seal the cervix forms early during pregnancy (at around 7th week) and when it loosens and start coming out, it indicates that labor may begin soon. Labor may begin soon after the mucus plug is discharged, or even one to two weeks later.

The show is thick mucus that may be tinged with streaks of blood. It may be stringy or sticky in consistency. If you release the cervical mucus plug, it’s a good idea to visit your physician as they may assess how much time has left for your labor to begin. It becomes even more important to visit your physician if you notice any vaginal bleeding.

Amniotic fluid

Another type of pregnancy discharge that may occur anytime during your pregnancy is the leakage of amniotic fluid. It is the liquid, which surrounds your fetus in the uterus. It helps in the proper development of the baby. Leakage of amniotic fluid may feel like gushing or slow trickling of a warm fluid from your vagina. It is usually odorless and clear but may contain traces of mucus or blood. 

Leaking amniotic fluid can be dangerous for you and your baby at any point during your pregnancy. While you may naturally leak a small amount of fluid, losing too much can be harmful.

You should visit your physician immediately if the discharge of cervical fluid while pregnant is brownish yellow or green-tinged. This may indicate that your baby has passed stool in the uterus, which may cause breathing complications in the baby at birth.

Yeast infection discharge

Hormonal changes during pregnancy may affect the pH of the vagina, which increases its susceptibility to pathogenic microorganisms that may lead to infections such as candida. Hence, during pregnancy, you are more prone to get yeast infections, particularly during the second trimester. 

Yeast infection, also called thrush, may cause pregnancy discharge that is thick, white and appears like cottage cheese. The other symptoms and signs of thrush are itching around and in your vagina, redness and soreness around the vagina, stinging sensations during urination and pain while having sex. 

You should visit your physician if your symptoms of cervical discharge during pregnancy are due to a yeast infection. They may prescribe antifungal creams and suppositories suitable for the stage of your pregnancy. 

Spotting

Spotting is the passage of trace amount of red, dark brown or pink blood during pregnancy. It is lighter in comparison to your menses. During pregnancy, spotting may be caused by a variety of factors. Around 20 percent of pregnant females notice spotting during the first trimester and it may occur due to implantation bleeding, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, and unknown causes. During the second trimester, spotting may occur due to cervical irritation usually after a cervical exam or having sex and a cervical polyp. Spotting during the third trimester may occur after a cervical exam or having sex. It may also occur when there is a passage of the cervical mucus plug or show. 

You should visit your physician if you experience spotting or vaginal bleeding any time during your pregnancy. Heavy vaginal bleeding during the second trimester may indicate medical emergencies such as placenta previa, late miscarriage, and premature labor and require immediate medical attention. Similarly, heavy bleeding during the third trimester also requires emergency medical attention as its cause may be placenta previa, vasa previa, and placental abruption. 

Vaginal hygiene during pregnancy

Increased cervical discharge is among the normal and temporary changes of pregnancy. You may not do anything particular about it. If it is troubling and irritating you, you may try using unscented panty liners. You may also change your undergarments more often. 

Try the following tips to maintain vaginal hygiene and manage increased cervical fluid while pregnant: 

  • Keep your vulva (outer genital area) and the perineum (area located between the anus and vagina) clean.
  • Use water and mild, unscented soap or an emollient while washing the genitals. Wash gently and do not scrub your genitals. 
  • Don’t use vaginal deodorants, perfumed bubble baths or scented wipes on the vaginal area. 
  • Avoid douching the vagina (rinsing the vagina). This irritates the vaginal lining and upsets the natural balance of bacteria. Normal vaginal discharge is quite acidic and the presence of good bacteria keeps the harmful bacteria away. Altering this natural balance may result in inflammation and infection. 
  • Wear cotton undergarments.
  • Wear loose clothing that allows air to pass through.
  • Always dry your genital area after bathing or showering, exercising or swimming. 
  • Don’t use tampons during pregnancy as they may introduce germs in your vagina.

The discharge of a miscarriage is vaginal bleeding, which may be accompanied by cramping and passing tissue or clots. This can begin a few hours after conception and last for a few days to several weeks. The amount of blood will vary; some women only notice spotting, while others see heavy bleeding.

Is There Discharge at Early Pregnancy

We often get asked if there is discharge at early pregnancy. No, there isn’t any visible discharge until after the birth of your infant. You may experience spotting, which can be lighter than a normal menstrual period and only last for a day or two. Your body will continue to undergo the changes that began at conception, so you’ll feel cramps and your uterus will start to expand.

Some women experience a discharge during early pregnancy. The discharge is similar to egg white, and is not harmful or contagious. The fact that you are experiencing a discharge does not mean that you have conceived. Many women experience this with every menstrual cycle even though they do not have an egg to release at the time.

Discharge during pregnancy is normal, but it may have a different scent and appearance throughout the different stages of pregnancy. The color and consistency is often determined by what stage of your cycle you’re at. For example, if you are ovulating, cervical mucus may be stretchy, clear and egg white-like when you wipe yourself. If you are menstruating, your secretions will gradually become more watery as your period gets closer.

One of the earliest signs of pregnancy is a vaginal discharge, commonly called “quickening.” This discharge appears because hormonal changes cause the cervix to soften and open. You may experience vaginal discharge during the first half of your pregnancy. This discharge is called “lochia”, and it can vary in color and texture throughout the months ahead. Lochia can range from a bloody brown to bright red, and sometimes even appear whitish or yellow. The amount of discharge decreases as your pregnancy progresses. You may also notice light spotting at this time, but this bleeding is not actual lochia and should not be confused with it.

How Do Early Pregnancy Discharge Look Like

Early pregnancy discharge typically looks like a clear or white-ish discharge with a sweet or sour smell. This is completely normal and there’s no need to worry. It is likely caused by estrogen and progesterone (hormones) that are released during pregnancy. It also might be due to the changes in your vaginal environment.

Early pregnancy discharge is a sign that you are ovulating and getting pregnant. It can be a yellow, white or snotty type of discharge. It might come out of your vagina, but it can also come out of your breast ducts if you’re feeding a child. And if you don’t have this early pregnancy discharge and get pregnant, you’ll be more likely for an ectopic pregnancy. you may have sticky, stretchy or whitish discharge throughout your pregnancy. It may also smell different than normal vaginal secretions. This can be due to changing hormone levels and new cells being made in the vaginal lining.

When you become pregnant, you of course expect your body to change—but you probably never considered how pregnancy would affect your vaginal discharge. Surprise!

Even immediately after conception, the consistency, color and odor of your pregnancy discharge is likely to change due to hormone fluctuation. And if you’re not up to speed on those changes, things can sometimes look strange or feel pretty wet down there. Right off the bat, you may find yourself with questions about your early pregnancy discharge—like, should my discharge look that color? Is this smell normal? And when should I be concerned?

Knowing what to expect is important, which is why we’ve talked to experts to get the lowdown on what’s normal vaginal discharge during pregnancy, what your vaginal discharge color might mean (and trust us, there’s a rainbow of possible discharge colors) and when you should call your doctor. Follow our guide to find out everything you need to know about pregnancy discharge.

In this article:
What is leukorrhea?
What is normal vaginal discharge during pregnancy?
What your vaginal discharge color means during pregnancy
Vaginal discharge color chart
How to deal with pregnancy discharge
When to call the doctor

What Is Leukorrhea?

Before we dive into the different types (and colors) of pregnancy discharge you may experience, let’s first address leukorrhea. Leukorrhea is the medical term for the normal discharge you can expect to see in the early stages of your pregnancy. You might see white-ish clear, mild-smelling vaginal discharge, which can be evident within the first weeks of conception, says Nicolle S. Underwood, MD, an obstetrician at Pacific Women’s Healthcare Associates in Irvine, California. In this phase of your pregnancy, your body is experiencing higher levels of estrogen that increase blood flow to your pelvis, which in turn triggers the mucous membranes to ramp up production, leading to more discharge than you may be used to. That white pregnancy discharge can take some women by surprise, rest assured, it’s totally normal vaginal discharge during pregnancy.

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What is the purpose of leukorrhea?

While it may seem like a nuisance at times, leukorrhea actually serves several purposes during the course of your pregnancy. This early pregnancy discharge helps protect your birth canal from infection and helps maintain a healthy level of bacteria. Leukorrhea also helps flush out dead cells from the vagina.

What Is Normal Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy?

We’ve established that your discharge will likely change when you’re expecting—so what does pregnancy discharge look like? You will likely see what we just referred to as leukorrhea.

Also, don’t be alarmed; there also tends to be more discharge during pregnancy due to the extra hormones circulating, such as estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen can thin out your pregnancy discharge, while progesterone thickens it, explains Kimberly Langdon, MD, an obstetrician and medical advisor for digital health company Medzino. Plus, the glands of the endocervix (the opening to the uterus) produce more mucus during pregnancy (which, fun fact, results in the mucus plug).

On top of all that, as pregnancy progresses, your full uterus can get in the way of your bladder completely emptying, making it possible for small urine leaks as well, which can add to the feeling of wetness down there. You also may find that your pregnancy discharge smells different than usual, which is also due to—you guessed it—hormonal fluctuations. Is this normal? Yes!

Your discharge may get thicker and stickier during late pregnancy, and it’s not uncommon to see mucus (which may be clear or red-tinged) during the last few weeks of your pregnancy. This is your mucus plug—aka the clump of mucus that helps keep the opening of the cervix closed. You can lose parts or all of your mucus plug, typically after 37 weeks. It can be a sign that labor is on its way, but it’s by no means a guarantee. If you lose it before 37 weeks, give your doctor a call, as it can be a potential sign of preterm labor.

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What Your Vaginal Discharge Color Means During Pregnancy

What if your pregnancy discharge color isn’t white or clear? It doesn’t mean anything is wrong. For example, you may also see some spotting in the week following conception. Called implantation bleeding, this is due to the fertilized egg attaching itself to the uterus. While slight spotting throughout pregnancy—think: a few specks of blood on your underwear or a streak when you wipe—isn’t atypical, it’s something an obstetrician would want to discuss and monitor, says Underwood, so let your doctor know if you see any blood.

Here’s a full rundown of the vaginal discharge colors that may make an appearance in your underwear during pregnancy:

Clear vaginal discharge

More commonly referred to as leukorrhea, this early pregnancy discharge is made of cervical and vaginal secretions and is normal. It can show up almost immediately after conception and may continue throughout the pregnancy.

Clear, stringy, mucusy vaginal discharge

During late pregnancy, this discharge is likely part of the mucus plug. This may come out all at once (think: a tablespoon of a jelly-like substance) or may come out in bits and pieces during the last weeks of pregnancy.

Cream-colored vaginal discharge

Leukorrhea can also have a whitish hue (like the color of skim milk). If the white vaginal discharge is clumpy and accompanied by itching or burning, however, you may have a yeast infection. Yeast infections are common during pregnancy due to hormonal shifts and a changing pH in the vagina. It’s a good idea to check in with your doctor before treating yourself; while your doctor may suggest an over-the-counter treatment, it’s important to rule out any other issues.

Tan vaginal discharge

Vaginal discharge color resembling the hue of creamy coffee could also signify a yeast infection. The discharge may also be clumpy and have an unusual odor, Underwood says.

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Dark brown vaginal discharge

Dark brown discharge during pregnancy could be dried blood leaving your body, Underwood explains. A few streaks when you wipe may be normal—especially if the brown is a jelly-like consistency, which could be part of your mucus plug—but more than a few streaks should be discussed with your doctor.

Green vaginal discharge

Green, foul-smelling pregnancy discharge could be a sign of an infection like chlamydia or trichomoniasis, Langdon says. This may be accompanied by itching or burning.

Yellow vaginal discharge

Yellow discharge during pregnancy could also be a sign of an infection. Keep in mind, an occasional splotch of yellowish discharge on a panty liner or underwear could simply be dried urine and is nothing to worry about.

Gray vaginal discharge

Thin, fishy smelling, gray vaginal discharge could signify an infection like bacterial vaginosis (BV), which requires treatment from a doctor, Langdon says.

Pink vaginal discharge

Pink or pink-streaked discharge signifies blood. It doesn’t necessarily indicate anything is wrong, but it’s a good idea to discuss with your doctor right away to determine the cause of the spotting.

Red vaginal discharge

While heavy bleeding or discharge containing clots may be a sign of miscarriage, smaller amounts of blood—more than a few specks or streaks—also warrant medical attention. Any persistent spotting or heavier bleeding in early pregnancy should be evaluated by your doctor with an exam and an ultrasound. “Bleeding in the first trimester does not mean that you’ll inevitably have a miscarriage,” Langdon says. Instead, it could be a sign of an infection or could indicate an issue like placenta previa, where the placenta lies over the cervix. This isn’t an emergency, but it does require monitoring.

Vaginal Discharge Color Chart

Image: Lindsey Balbierz

How to Deal With Pregnancy Discharge

There’s really no way to reduce discharge during pregnancy—but you wouldn’t want to, anyway. It’s your body’s natural way of expelling bacteria that could harm both you and baby. The best way to deal with pregnancy discharge is to keep the area dry and clean.

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Wearing cotton underwear and a pantyliner or changing underwear once a day can keep you feeling fresh and can also make it easier to monitor anything amiss. If you have heavy discharge, you can always use a pad for extra protection. However, steer clear of tampons and douches, Underwood warns, as putting anything in the vagina during pregnancy could increase your risk of infection. You also don’t need to use any wipes; remember, your vagina naturally cleans itself. Plus, wipes can also potentially change the pH levels in your genital tract and lead to infection.

When to Call the Doctor

If you’re ever nervous about your vaginal discharge during pregnancy, don’t hesitate to call your doctor, who’ll want to hear if anything is unusual for you, especially if the discharge is accompanied by pain, itching or burning. “We talk about this all day, so if you have any questions, we want to know,” Underwood says.

If you begin experiencing any of the following signs or symptoms related to your pregnancy discharge, contact your doctor:

  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Pain
  • Foul odor
  • Swelling
  • Discharge with blood (while it’s not uncommon to see some blood in your discharge, if your discharge is bloody and watery, call your doctor)
  • Discharge that is green, yellow or grey
  • Discharge that is frothy or watery

Note that intercourse can change the consistency of your vaginal discharge during pregnancy. Keeping track of when those changes happen—for example, seeing a few streaks of pink discharge after having sex—can help you monitor your pregnancy discharge and give your doctor a heads up about any concerning patterns you may notice.

During later pregnancy, if you’re experiencing significant dampness, it could potentially signal an amniotic rupture that needs immediate attention. Since amniotic fluid is clear and odorless, it can be hard to discern from typical pregnancy discharge. One way to assess: Put on a new pair of underpants or a new pantyliner for an hour. If you’re noticeably damp or wet after an hour, Underwood says, it may be a good idea to call your doctor.

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You’re going to notice a lot of changes in your body during the course of your pregnancy, and some of those may show up in your discharge. While leukorrhea is totally normal, it’s important to keep an eye on your discharge as it can tell you a lot about what your body is going through—maybe you notice signs of your mucus plug, which means baby is on the way, or perhaps you discover symptoms of an infection. The more you familiarize yourself with what’s happening below, the more in tune you will be with your body and baby.

It is normal to have some vaginal discharge in the first trimester of pregnancy. However, the type and quantity may vary from woman to woman. Changes in discharge are common during this time, particularly at the beginning of the pregnancy. A small amount of vaginal discharge that looks white or yellow is usually normal during the first five weeks after a missed period. If you experience any unusual symptoms, contact your doctor. Early pregnancy discharge is a yellowish or whitish fluid that flows out of the vagina when you’re ovulating. It can be tinged with blood, but usually no more than a light brown color. It’s normal for some women to have some discharge throughout their cycle and not just immediately after ovulation, but it will still be mostly clear rather than white or cloudy.

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