Ah, the wonders and joys of pregnancy! You expect the morning sickness, the tiredness, and the stretchmarks. But discharge, too?
Pregnancy discharge can vary in color, consistency, and duration.
White discharge is one of the many different types of discharge you might have in pregnancy.
White discharge during pregnancy is annoying but usually normal. Always have your midwife or doctor check it out, though, just to be sure.
Milky white discharge during pregnancy
Leukorrhea is extra vaginal fluid in pregnancy. It is usually a clear to milky white, mild-smelling vaginal discharge that is quite normal.
The leukorrhea fluid increases as your pregnancy progresses; some women need to wear a sanitary pad to absorb discharge in the third trimester. You should avoid scented pads.
It’s not recommended to use tampons during pregnancy, due to the risk of infection and their position close to the cervix.
Is white discharge normal in pregnancy?
It’s normal to have increased discharge or leukorrhea during pregnancy.
A thicker white discharge, however, could mean a thrush infection. Thrush is a vaginal yeast infection that causes itching, redness of the area, and a thick white discharge.
If your symptoms persist and are accompanied by itch, odor, or redness, see your healthcare provider for assessment.
You might be interested in reading Discharge During Pregnancy – What’s Normal and What’s Not.
White vaginal discharge in early pregnancy
When ovulation occurs, it’s common for women to notice a discharge that looks similar to egg white. This is a sign an egg is being released.
If the egg is fertilized, it will implant into the uterus. Implantation triggers many hormonal and physical changes in your body. One of these is early pregnancy discharge, which might be milky white and thin in consistency.
Changes in vaginal discharge can begin as early as one to two weeks after conception – even before you’ve missed your period.
We think you might like to read Clear Jelly Like Blob Discharge – What Is It?
White vaginal discharge during pregnancy in the second trimester
During the second trimester, leukorrhea becomes more evident, and you might need to wear panty liners to absorb excess discharge.
If you have thicker white discharge with any other symptoms, please speak with your healthcare provider.
White vaginal discharge during pregnancy in the third trimester
In the third trimester, leukorrhea is at its peak and you might need to wear a sanitary pad to absorb the increased vaginal discharge.
Again, if a thick white discharge with any other symptoms occurs, please discuss it with your midwife or doctor.
As you come closer to the time of birth, other reasons for a white discharge might be:
- Releasing of the mucus plug. This appears thick, sometimes stringy, and sometimes a little blood-streaked
- Leaking amniotic fluid. Waters have broken, leaking clear, sometimes pink fluid; it shouldn’t be green or yellow.
Be sure to read Mucus Plug – How To Tell If It’s The Plug Or Discharge for more information.
Does white vaginal discharge mean an infection?
Vaginal infections can have other symptoms apart from a white discharge. Usually, if it is milky white with a mild odor, it’s a normal discharge.
If other symptoms are present, including itch, soreness, redness, and a fishy odor, then it might be a vaginal infection.
Some vaginal infections that can have a discharge are:
- Bacterial vaginosis (BV). If left untreated, it can lead to premature birth, low birth weight and PID (pelvic inflammatory disease), diagnosed via a vaginal swab and treated with antibiotics. You may like to read Preterm Birth – Ways To Prevent Preterm Birth
- Group B Strep (GBS). If left untreated, it can be passed on to baby, and can cause UTI (urinary tract infections). It might or might not involve vaginal discharge. It is diagnosed via a vaginal swab and treated with antibiotics
- Trichomoniasis. This is a green frothy discharge with a foul odor. The Trichomonas vaginalis parasite is transmitted sexually and typically lives in the vagina; it is treated with antibiotics
- Candida. This is a yeast infection, with typical thick white discharge, and treated with antibiotics. This information from Dr. Andrew Orr in Thrush Treatment – Get Rid of Thrush For Good (Yes, It’s True!) might help.
Contact your healthcare provider if you think you have a vaginal infection.
Thick white vaginal discharge during pregnancy
Discharge that is thick and cottage cheese-like is usually a candida yeast infection (thrush).
Some women will notice the yeast infection after taking antibiotics. The antibiotic interferes with the normal flora of the stomach and a yeast infection is a common side effect.
It’s recommended to take a good probiotic if you need to take antibiotics.
Most pregnant women notice symptoms of itchiness and a fishy odor along with the white lumpy discharge that occurs with yeast infections.
Home remedies for white discharge in pregnancy
If you’ve been diagnosed with thrush, your doctor will often suggest using a specific anti-fungal cream as a treatment.
Some women prefer to use home treatments, such as:
- Vitamin C or ascorbic acid, which supports the immune system and has antimicrobial properties that might help treat a yeast infection
- Apple cider vinegar. Add half a cupful to a lukewarm bath to assist the treatment of a yeast infection by eliminating microorganisms. You could also consider adding apple cider vinegar to your diet
- Coconut oil. Apply it directly to the affected area to help in the treatment of a yeast infection.
You can also make changes to your diet, such as limiting or removing sugar and increasing foods that are high in prebiotics, such as garlic, asparagus, legumes, strawberries, and bananas.
White vaginal discharge treatments
Depending on why you have a white discharge, you might not require any treatment.
If the discharge is a yeast infection, you can buy an over-the-counter cream or pessary to treat this during pregnancy.
Always speak with your pharmacist to check the product is right for you, and let your healthcare professional know if you are using medications.
How can I get rid of white discharge in pregnancy?
First, find out whether your discharge is normal or whether it’s due to an infection. It’s important to treat infections, as they can be harmful to your baby if left unchecked.
Wearing liners or pads is the best option for containing normal white discharge. If you prefer, you can use maternity underwear.
Wash with warm water and avoid soaps, as they can irritate sensitive skin. There’s no need to use douches or any internal ‘cleaning’ products. Your vagina is self-cleaning and the cervix is producing extra fluid for a reason – pregnancy!
You might like to read this information on 9 Tips For Optimal Vaginal Health – A Must Read For All Women And Girls.
Is white discharge a sign of miscarriage?
Healthy vaginal discharge is normally milky white in color and isn’t usually a sign of miscarriage.
Abnormal vaginal discharge that’s more like vaginal bleeding with increased blood flow could be a sign of miscarriage.
The vaginal discharge can sometimes be stringy and mucus-like in appearance.
These articles will give you more information on miscarriage and vaginal discharge during pregnancy: