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Spotting & discharge during pregnancy

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Pregnancy brings an array of changes inside your body, and some on the outside that might be a bit more obvious. You might find that you have more vaginal discharge than normal during your pregnancy or the consistency of your discharge changes. You might also get some pregnancy spotting which can be quite common in the first trimester. If you’re ever in doubt about anything though, we always recommend that you speak to your health care professional.

What is pregnancy spotting?

Pregnancy spotting looks like a very light period or brownish vaginal discharge and is actually reasonably common during the first trimester. It may be a release of blood caused by the fertilised egg attaching itself to your uterus wall (implantation bleeding). Spotting with other symptoms like tummy or pelvic pain could be a sign of something serious, either a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy, which is why it’s always best to contact your health care professional if you notice any bleeding at any time during pregnancy, even if it stops.

During your third trimester it could be linked to premature labour, another reason to call your health care professional as soon as possible.

Increased discharge during pregnancy

Let’s talk about discharge! Let’s lay it all out on the table and say that vaginal discharge is probably not your favourite part of being a female. Unfortunately you will probably experience an increase in discharge during your pregnancy. The good news is that the increase in discharge is completely normal and is often a positive sign.

An increase in vaginal discharge during pregnancy is caused by the increased blood flow to your vaginal area and is your body’s way of protecting baby from any nasty bugs. The normal, good type of discharge is thin, white and non-irritant. You may notice it gets heavier towards your due date – a good sign that your baby’s on the way. However, discharge can sometimes be a sign of an infection or thrush, especially if there’s an itching or burning sensation, too. If that’s the cause, it’ll probably be thick, yellowish or green and might smell. The first thing to do is call your doctor, who will be able to check and help you treat it.

Discharge is more often an annoyance rather than anything serious. If you are experiencing it, remember that it will pass once your baby’s born.

  • If you feel it’s heavy or makes you uncomfortable in your underwear, use sanitary pads to absorb it (do not use tampons)
  • Wash regularly with warm water but avoid perfumed soaps
  • Wear light, cotton underwear

It is often difficult to determine what is normal during pregnancy and what you should be concerned about. We recommend that you understand that there will be changes to your body during pregnancy. Some of these are very common and harmless. If you are ever worried, it is best that you contact your doctor and discuss your concerns.

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