Vaginal discharge. Most women have it, and during pregnancy, things can get a little crazy in that department. If you’re about halfway through, by now you’re kind of used to some downright weird things happening to your body (and possibly your mind). Hopefully, you’ve found ways to deal with the morning sickness (or it’s packed up and left town – hurrah!), the maternity clothes are out in full force, and you’re probably in denial about your to-do list and spend all your spare time making a labour playlist instead. But the delicate issue of discharge is bugging you. So, in this edition of ‘Ask the midwife’, Natasha Cullen from Beloved Bumps answers the question:
I am 20 weeks pregnant and noticing that I get a lot of discharge – is this normal?
Your vaginal discharge will change in pregnancy – not only the amount, but also the consistency, thickness and frequency!
The increase in discharge can be blamed on the step-up in production of oestrogen which causes more blood to flow to the area. The discharge, or leucorrhoea, is a mild or musky smelling milky fluid that not only protects the birth canal from infection, but also maintains a healthy balance of bacteria in the vagina.
Towards the end of your pregnancy it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish your discharge from urine. It could also become very thick and mucousy which is a ‘show’ – this is a sign that your body is preparing for labour.
How to cope with the discharge? You can use panty liners in your underwear, but otherwise you really don’t need to do anything. Do not rinse out your vagina as this can upset the natural bacteria balance which could lead to inflammation or infection.
When should you see your doctor? If the discharge becomes coloured, such as yellow or green, if there is a strong or foul smell to it, or if there is any itching in the vagina – these may be a sign of infection. Yeast infections are very common during pregnancy but are easily treated.
Stay tuned for the next instalment of ‘Ask the midwife’, coming soon!
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