Is it normal to have vaginal discharge during pregnancy?

Individual holds paper with question mark in front of their shorts

“What was THAT?! Discharge? Did I just pee myself? Is it supposed to smell like that?!” Pregnancy comes with many changes in the body and one of the not-so-fun changes is increase in vaginal discharge. As a nurse, I am often asked by pregnant clients if an increase in vaginal discharge is normal during pregnancy – the answer is YES!

One of the earliest pregnancy changes is an increase in vaginal discharge as a result of hormonal stimulation of the cervix. The cervix becomes larger, softer and more active, producing an abundant amount of mucus. For some pregnancies, this may mean more discharge as the pregnancy progresses.

What is normal vaginal discharge?

  • Appears clear to cloudy in colour and may turn yellow when dry
  • Does not have a foul odour
  • Does not cause vaginal itching, burning or irritation

What is not considered normal?

  • A “fishy” or foul odour to discharge
  • Vaginal irritation, pain or burning
  • Changes in the colour of vaginal discharge (e.g. yellow or green discharge)
  • Painful urination
  • Swelling of the vulva, vagina, or both
  • Vaginal bleeding

Any of these changes can be signs of an infection and should be assessed by your health care provider.

How can I prevent vaginal infections?

  • Wear cotton underwear
  • Wipe from front to back
  • Avoid bath oils/salts, bubble baths, scented toilet paper, feminine hygiene spray
  • Do not douche
  • Use condoms during sex
  • Urinate frequently including before and after sex
  • Eat yogurt containing lactobacilli

Vaginal health before conceiving or during pregnancy is important. Be sure to get early and regular prenatal care.

For more information speak to our public health nurse via eChat or call (416) 338 7600.

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