A lot of women want to know what type of vaginal discharge is normal during pregnancy, and when you're not pregnant. So let's start out by talking about what's normal when you're not pregnant. It's normal to have about 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of whitish, creamy, tannish discharge on most days of your cycle in between periods, with the exception of the time of ovulation. Actually, around the time of ovulation, it's normal to notice the discharge becoming more slippery and clear, almost like egg whites. And this is actually a sign that you can watch for to know when you're ovulating. And if you're seeing this type of discharge and you're trying to have a baby, then you should start to time intercourse with ovulation to increase your chances of conceiving.
Now during pregnancy, it's normal to continue to have whitish, creamish, tannish discharge each day, but you shouldn't have any vaginal bleeding. And if you do have bleeding, then you need to call your doctor, and they'll ask you more questions about what you've seen, and based on their knowledge of your situation, decide if further investigation, or even treatment, is necessary for that - it depends on how far along you are. Watch for an increase in discharge. It is normal to see discharge increase over the course of the pregnancy, and some women feel like they have to wear a pad or a pantyliner by the end, because they're having so much of it. But it should be the same color, odor, and consistency that you've always had.
For example, if you feel like you're having watery discharge, then we want to make sure that your water hasn't broken. Because once the water is broken, then that increases the chances of you and your baby developing an infection, and that needs to be addressed, and it needs to be taken care of. In fact, if it happens early in pregnancy, it means admission to the hospital. And if you're full-term, it means that you're going to have a baby. So of course, there are huge implications to your water breaking, and you need to get it checked out.
One other thing to consider is that an increase in discharge can be associated with preterm labor. So, other symptoms of preterm labor include lower abdominal cramping, lower backache, an increase in discharge, pressure, leaking of fluid, or any bleeding. So if you experience any of these things, be sure to get checked out as soon as possible. Let them know you've seen an increase in discharge, and they'll decide if it's normal, or, again, if something needs to be done about it.
If, at anytime, you notice a change in the color, odor, or consistency of discharge, whether you're pregnant or not, this, in and of itself, is a reason to talk with your doctor. In most cases, it's related to some type of vaginal infection, the most common being yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, or sexually transmitted infections. After performing an exam, they'll decide if it's something that needs to be treated or not. And do make sure you get it taken care of, because if these things go left untreated, it can lead to more serious complications. If you have any other questions for me in the future, feel free to ask them on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/IntermountainMoms, and recommend us to your friends and family too.