Vaginal Discharge

When you become pregnant your body undergoes a variety of changes. One of the first changes you may experience is in your vaginal discharge. It is important that you are aware of the normal changes during pregnancy and that you inform your health care provider about any changes that may appear abnormal.

What is normal vaginal discharge?

Normal vaginal discharge during pregnancy called leukorrhea is thin, white, milky and mild smelling. Leukorrhea is normal and nothing for you to worry about.

During pregnancy do not:

  • Use tampons (they can introduce new germs into the vagina)
  • Douche (this can interrupt the normal balance and lead to a vaginal infection)
  • Assume that it is a vaginal infection and treat it yourself

During pregnancy do:

  • Use panty liners if it makes you more comfortable
  • Notify your health care provider at your appointment of any changes

What is abnormal vaginal discharge?

If the vaginal discharge is green or yellowish, strong smelling, and/or accompanied by redness or itching, you may have a vaginal infection. One of the most common vaginal infections during pregnancy is candidiasis, also known as a yeast infection. Your doctor can easily treat vaginal infections. Another cause of abnormal discharge during pregnancy could also be an STD.

When should I notify my health care provider about my vaginal discharge?

You should notify your health care provider any time there is a change in normal pregnancy discharge. NEVER try to diagnose and treat yourself. Spotting during pregnancy can be normal but should be mentioned to your health care provider. Notify your provider immediately if you experience spotting or bleeding that lasts longer than a day and is accompanied by cramping or pain.

Last Updated: 07/2006

Compiled using information from the following sources:

Williams Obstetrics Twenty-Second Ed. Cunningham, F. Gary, et al, Ch. 8.

Mayo Clinic Complete Book of Pregnancy & Baby’s First Year Johnson, Robert V., M.D., et al, Ch. 11.

Last updated: 12/2006