A thick, white, milky discharge may appear frightening to newly pregnant women, but this vaginal discharge during pregnancy is common and harmless.
Causes of Vaginal Discharge
Thin, white discharge during pregnancy is called leukorrhea and exists due to increasing and varying estrogen levels. Estrogen increases blood flow to the pelvic area of the body, which subsequently leads to an increase in mucus discharge.
Important Facts About Vaginal Discharge
When a woman ovulates, vaginal discharge may leak onto her underwear or protective pads. During pregnancy the look may of the discharge may be the same, but the volume is much larger. Throughout pregnancy, 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 the mucus plug releasing from the cervix.
Treatment for Vaginal Discharge
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. Washing the vaginal area often 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.