One of the most common pregnancy related questions that women have is related to the increase in the vaginal discharge that they observe during this time.
Although it might be quite shocking for a first time mom but in reality vaginal discharge during pregnancy is quite common.
Also known as Leukorrhea, the mild milky discharge with a mild odor is attributed to the increase in the estrogen hormone production in the body.
As the cervical and vaginal secretions increase during pregnancy, the secretions too become increasingly common especially as the day of your labor draws closer.
The vaginal discharge during the third semester of your pregnancy is different from the early pregnancy vaginal discharge which is also known as a mucus plug. When you conceive, your cervix begins dilating slowly.
This results in the expulsion of egg white mucus that may or may not have traces of blood in it. The consistency of the mucus plug discharge is thinner as compared to one seen the last stages of pregnancy.
While this may be completely normal, an excess discharge especially before eight weeks of pregnancy may signal a leak of the amniotic fluid and cause preterm labor.
Sometimes you may observe certain abnormalities in the vaginal discharge during pregnancy. If the discharge is yellowish in color, has traces of blood in it and has a foul smell then it may be a signal of a possible bacterial or yeast infection in pregnancy. Sometimes the symptoms may be associated with a sexually transmitted disease. This may cause itching and pain during urination.
Unfortunately for pregnant women these yeast infections are quite common because of the change in the vaginal environment and the overactive hormones in the body.
While yeast infections cannot harm the baby, other diseases like bacterial vaginosis and other sexually transmitted diseases that are acquired through sexual contact during pregnancy may cause complications for the unborn child. For example pregnant women suffering from bacterial vaginosis are known to have babies with lower birth weight.
Similarly STDs like syphilis and Chlamydia although uncommon, can be passed on to the child. The untreated STDs in the mother can cause brain damage, stillbirth, blindness and other such problems in the child.
In case you observe any abnormalities in the vaginal discharge, get it checked. Your gynecologist will be able to decipher the cause with a simple vaginal swab test.