Most women are not aware that vaginal discharge can be among the first signs and symptoms of pregnancy. This is because the changing hormones of pregnancy can stimulate the vagina to increase vaginal discharge.
Vaginal discharge is a term given to fluids that are expelled from or stay inside the vagina. Vaginal discharge can have different colors like clear, white, yellow, brown, or green, and it can be odorless or have an odor.
Most vaginal discharge is normal and can reflect the changing stages of the vagina during the menstrual cycle. Some vaginal discharge is not normal, however, and may be the result of an infection such as a sexually transmitted disease (STD). If discharge has an odor and/or abnormal color, you should see your doctor for further investigation.
Pregnant women often report an increase in vaginal discharge and it is common to notice an increase in white, milky discharge in early pregnancy. This type of discharge is among the first signs and symptoms of pregnancy and is often referred to as leukorrhea, or "white flow." Leukorrhea is milky white in appearance and typically odorless or has only a mild odor. If you notice an increase in this white colored discharge and there is a possibility that you might be pregnant, take a home pregnancy test. This type of discharge is perfectly normal and has been reported by many women as a sign of early pregnancy.
Not every woman experiences this type of vaginal discharge in early pregnancy, however, so not seeing the white, milky discharge does not mean that you are not pregnant. Pregnancy symptoms are experienced differently by each woman so you could be pregnant and not have this particular early symptom. The most reliable way to determine whether you are pregnant is to see your doctor for a pregnancy test.
Aside from the "normal" leukorrhea associated with pregnancy, there are other possible reasons for vaginal discharge. Some of these reasons are normal, while others may require further diagnostic tests and treatment. As long as the vaginal discharge you are experiencing has no odor, and is not accompanied by burning or itching, it may be an early pregnancy sign. However, if your vaginal discharge is foul-smelling, itchy, and is a color other than clear or milky white, you should see your gynecologist immediately. Your doctor will need to examine you because you could have a viral or bacterial infection or a sexually transmitted disease that must be treated. Read here for more information on causes and treatment of vaginal discharge.
Vaginal discharge can also be observed as an indicator of ovulation. Leading up to ovulation, cervical mucus becomes rubbery in texture and will stretch between two fingers. This is known as egg-white cervical mucus or EWCM. The thick, sticky nature of this fertile cervical mucus holds onto semen and helps sperm travel safely through the vagina to the egg.
Pay attention to your vaginal discharge throughout your menstrual cycle so that you can become familiar with the changes in cervical mucus. Not only will this help you know when you are ovulating (essential when trying to conceive), but it may be your first indicator of early pregnancy. If you pay attention to how much discharge you usually have throughout the month, you may not have any trouble noticing an increase in vaginal secretions, which could be the first sign that you are pregnant.