One of the perks of pregnancy is avoiding your period for nine months (and often longer, if you breastfeed). But don’t throw out your pads yet. Leukorrhea, or increased vaginal discharge, is a common pregnancy symptom. In fact, it’s one indication that could tell new moms that they’re expecting!
Why Vaginal Discharge Increases During Pregnancy?
When you’re pregnant, your body ramps up estrogen production. The hormone helps your body nourish and support your developing baby. The estrogen boost also increases blood flow to your pelvic area and stimulates mucous membranes (if you have a drippy nose, pregnancy hormones may be to blame there, too). All that hormonal activity can lead to expectant moms feeling damper than usual “down there.”
While increased discharge can be annoying, the good news is that in most cases it’s completely normal and harmless. Better yet, leukorrhea helps protect your developing baby by maintaining a healthy pH and protecting helpful bacteria in your vaginal area and birth canal.
Normal Leukorrhea and Unhealthy Discharge
Normal discharge in pregnancy looks a lot like what you may be familiar with during your usual cycle. Leukorrhea is thin, white or off-white, and has little or no odor. The occasional small sticky bit is normal, too. The main difference to expect is more of it.
If your vaginal discharge is greenish or yellow, clumpy, or bad-smelling, this can be a sign of an infection. Call your doctor about these symptoms, or if you’re experiencing itching or burning. A healthcare provider can help you find pregnancy-safe medications to treat an infection.
It’s also important to call a doctor right away if you notice blood. Some light pink or brown spotting can be normal during pregnancy, especially within a day or so of intercourse. But blood, heavier spotting that fills a liner, or cramping can signal a problem. It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor if you’re unsure or worried about a symptom.
How to Deal With Leukorrhea?
You now know your increased discharge is normal and healthy in many cases. That doesn’t make it more comfortable. A few easy tricks can help you manage annoying discharge:
- Wear panty liners or pads. Being able to change into something dry will keep you comfortable.
- Wear loose, breathable clothing. Letting a little air circulate is healthy.
- Avoid tampons. It’s way too easy for them to pick up germs, leaving you pushing a wad of bacteria toward your growing baby. Travel with panty liners and a fresh pair of underwear instead.
- Leave douches and scented washes on the shelf! Your vagina is doing a great job keeping itself clean and balanced. Chemicals in douches can throw off pH and irritate sensitive tissue. Remember, leukorrhea is odorless, anyway. A rinse in the shower is enough to keep you clean.
- Know when it’s not leukorrhea. A sudden trickle or gush of watery liquid could be a little urine or (in late pregnancy) your water breaking. Pelvic floor exercises can help with incontinence. And, if your water breaks, well, you may be getting ready to meet your new baby!