During pregnancy, your discharge may be different to what you’re used to throughout your regular periods. Your body is going through all sorts of changes, and discharge is one of them.

Why am I experiencing more discharge than usual?

During pregnancy, changes to your cervix and womb may increase your body’s discharge production. Reasons for this include:

  • The pressure of the baby’s head pushing down on the cervix
  • Softening of the cervix
  • Increased blood flow to vagina, cervix and uterus
  • Thick discharge helps prevent infection from travelling through the cervix

If the discharge is bothering you, there are a few things you can do to decrease your discomfort.

  • Avoid intimate washes or any scented soaps
  • Wash your vagina, perineum and anus with warm water more frequently
  • Use unscented liners
  • Change your underwear more frequently
  • Avoid underwear when possible to let the area ‘breathe’
  • Consider if your laundry detergent is irritating. Try an extra rinse cycle at the end of each wash, and change your detergent.

If you experience itchiness, soreness, or notice discharge changing in appearance, colour or smell, consult your doctor.

What should my discharge look like?

Generally, healthy discharge is clear or white. It can be watery, or stretchy like egg whites. It may have a smell, but this shouldn’t be offensive.

Consult your doctor if your discharge becomes:

  • sticky or ‘claggy’ like cottage cheese
  • green, yellow or red in colour
  • you notice blood in your discharge
  • you notice a strong, unpleasant or ‘fishy’ smell

What is the mucus plug?

Your cervix will become ‘plugged’ by mucus during pregnancy. This helps to prevent infection from travelling up into the uterus and provides some resistance to the gravity of the baby’s weight pushing down on your cervix.

When this plug loosens, it’s called ‘the show’. The show can indicate you are getting close to labour time; it may loosen between a few weeks to a few hours of labour beginning. It is not unusual for the show to appear pink, brown, grey, blood-stained or mucus-streaked. If you are close to term, do not panic about the appearance of this discharge. As always, if your discharge is an unusual colour or you notice any vaginal bleeding you should consult your doctor.

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