Vaginal Discharge and Odor

    No woman wants to talk about vaginal discharge and odor, but this side effect of hormonal changes in the body is very common. Vaginal discharge can be normal or not, and sometimes it can indicate a problem such as an infection.

    As estrogen levels rise in pregnancy, leukorrhea may develop. Leukorrhea is thin and watery white discharge, and it can have a slight odor. Blood flow increases during pregnancy which can lead to the production of more mucus and thus more vaginal discharge.

    From the first weeks after conception, some vaginal discharge may normally appear. As the pregnancy reaches the final weeks, another increase in vaginal discharge may be seen. At this point, the body is increasing vaginal mucus to lubricate the birth canal to help the baby ease out during labor.

    Vaginal odor will differ for each pregnant woman. As pregnancy changes a woman’s sense of smell, vaginal odor that once smelled normal may smell differently.

    If the odor does not subside, and especially if the vaginal discharge is yellow and/or mixed with blood or smells "fishy", you should let your doctor know about it and she may want to test your vagina for an infection. Some sexually transmitted diseases or BV (bacterial vaginosis) may be assopciated with abnormal vaginal discharge and vaginitis.

    Untreated vaginal infections in pregnancy can let to major complications such as premature labor and births, and treating the infection can often prevent these problems.

    It is important to never use a douche or other internal feminine wash while pregnant. These washes can reduce the natural bacteria in the vagina and cause an infection.

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