Discharge in pregnancy

A slight increase in discharge during pregnancy is normal, especially when the weather is hot. You may find that it is a mild-smelling, milky fluid, which is fine.

How much discharge is normal in pregnancy?

A small increase in your pre-pregnancy amount of discharge during pregnancy normal, especially when the weather is hot. It should be mild-smelling.

When do I talk to the midwife about discharge in pregnancy?

Other than the above any other discharge/fluid needs to be checked out by a midwife or doctor.

Look out for the following:

  • any sign of blood, which may be red (like if you cut your finger) or dark brown (if it is old blood). This is not normal and if it happens, you should contact your midwife.
  • discharge that is green/brown or yellow in colour, is itchy and/or has an offensive smell. This may be a sign of infection so you should contact your midwife or doctor.

Is it discharge or leaking amniotic fluid?

Leaking or gushing clear or pinkish liquid from your vagina before 37 weeks.

This may mean that your waters have broken early (preterm prelabour rupture of membranes - PPROM). Once your waters have broken, the baby has less protection against infection. There's also a possibility that you may need to prepare for a premature birth. Contact your midwife or hospital.

Read more about premature birth.

Leaking or gushing of clear or pinkish fluid after 37 weeks

This may mean that your waters have broken and that you may be about to go into labour. Most maternity units prefer for you to phone when you think this has happened so it’s good to note down the time your waters broke.

You may not necessarily need to go straight in to the maternity unit but you should call them for advice. If your waters are green or brown (or if there is blood) you need to be checked urgently, so call the maternity unit immediately.

Read more about waters breaking after 37 weeks 

Read more about symptoms in pregnancy

Sources

  1. Macdonald S, Magill-Cuerden J, Mayes’ midwifery, thirteenth editionEdinburgh, Bailliere Tindall Elsevier, 2012

 

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Last reviewed on April 1st, 2014. Next review date April 1st, 2017.

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Comments

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 4 Nov 2017 - 12:23

    I’m 9 weeks pregnant and on and off since 6 weeks I have had either a brown stringy discharge or white/creamy coloured discharge. I’ve mentioned this to my doctor and then again at my booking in appointment with my midwife and was told this was nothing to worry about as I should only worry if I was to bleed heavily and would need to use a sanitary pad. Reading the above i’m now not sure this was the correct?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 6 Nov 2017 - 14:28

    A white creamy coloured discharge is normal at 8 weeks but I am more concerned when you describe it as brown. If you are wearing a pad I would ask your doctor to assess again. It is not possible to assess without seeing it. Best wishes

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 7 Nov 2017 - 06:51

    I’m not needing to wear a pad as it’s only occasionally when I wipe after going to the toilet that there is the odd bit of this stringy discharge sometimes it’s brown other times it’s creamy coloured. No one has examined me even though I have mentioned it both to my doctor and midwife as both said it was nothing to worry about. I have another midwife appointment next week so will mention it again then.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Nov 2017 - 09:19

    Please do mention to your midwife at your next appointment and ask for a more detailed explanation. Best wishes for the rest of your pregnancy.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 11 Oct 2017 - 19:40

    Hi there just fount out im 32 weeks pregnant, had a really bad increase of discharge as to the point im changing my underwear 4 times a day, braxton hicks are becoming more regular and i sometimes have intence pain, is this normal?
    Thank you :)

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Oct 2017 - 09:53

    Hi Thank you for your comment.
    Braxton hicks can be normal during pregnancy but if you are feeling damp and changing your underwear this regularly and experiencing pain, then we would recommend that you need to be assessed at your local maternity unit. They may want to check and see if you have broken your waters and make sure you are not going into premature labour with these pains. Please don't be alarmed, sometimes you can develop urine infections in pregnancy and this can be a cause of pain. The best thing to do is to call or visit your local antenatal day unit and be seen. Hope this helps, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 13 Oct 2017 - 16:39

    Thanks for your advice, as soon as i saw it i went to my see my midwife who confirmed my waters had broken and was 7cm dialted, baby was born prematurely, by emergency c-section and is currently in an incubator but doing really well, thanks for your advice dont no if id have had it checked if i didnt ask, and things could have been alot worse so thank you x

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Oct 2017 - 11:17

    Hi there, congratulations on your little one! Please do take good care of yourself and baby. We are so pleased that you did ask! All the best!

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 15 Sep 2017 - 07:15

    Hey, I'm 35 weeks and 5 days and I have noticed that every time I wake up and go toilet or just during the day I always end up with white, sticky gooey mess on my underwear. Is this normal?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Sep 2017 - 10:32

    Many women have an increase in discharge during pregnancy. If this is clear or milky and doesn't smell it is not usually anything to worry about. However, if the discharge is green or has an unpleasant odour I would suggest that you see your midwife or GP who may take a swab sample to check for any infection. Best wishes

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 16 Aug 2017 - 08:15

    Hi I woke in the night for the loo, all of a sudden my stomach felt tight and hurt like a period pain I felt sick. I went to the toilet no pain no blood then all of a sudden my eyes went fuzzy saw sparkles then eyes went black feltlike I was going to pass out it went quite quickly along with the pain and haven't had it since
    I am potentially 6 weeks pregnant tomorrow does this sound normal?
    Thank you :)

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Aug 2017 - 09:51

    Hi Adella. Having abdominal pain, at any gestation of pregnancy needs to be reviewed. It would be sensible to get an urgent appointment with your GP who can take bloods for you to check your iron levels, as low iron can make you feel very dizzy and faint. They can also refer you to your local early pregnancy assessment unit if they are concerned about the abdominal pain you felt. Then you would be reviewed and possibly scanned at the EPU. Please take good care of yourself and get seen urgently.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 10 Aug 2017 - 22:56

    I'm 24 weeks and today my underwear is damp, but doesn't smell like usual discharge, instead it smells like semen...Is this normal?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 11 Aug 2017 - 09:41

    Hi, if your underwear is damp and you have noticed a change in your discharge particularly if it is more watery, it is very important to rule out that your waters have not broken. If you put on a pad and monitor your loss, ring your maternity unit to explain your symptoms. If we can help you further then do email us [email protected] Take care, Tommy's midwives x

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 5 Jun 2017 - 03:04

    I woke up yesterday morning and when I wipe there was a light green discharge I'm 35 weeks

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 5 Jun 2017 - 11:45

    Many women have an increase in discharge during pregnancy. If this is clear or milky and doesn't smell it is not usually anything to worry about. However, if the discharge is green or has an unpleasant odour I would suggest that you see your midwife or GP who may take a swab sample to check for any infection. Best wishes

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 9 May 2017 - 16:47

    I think I am 6 + 3 and today my white discharge has changed to a pale cream/yellow. this morning when i got up and wiped there was a tiny amount of mucous which dried beige/very light brown there has only been a tiny amount of pale yellow since if I wipe. is this normal?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 10 May 2017 - 09:06

    Hi Christine
    It sounds as if you have a thrush (yeast) infection as this tends to be white/cream/pale yellow. It can be common in pregnancy. I would recommend that you speak to your GP or pharmacist to get a pregnancy- safe treatment. Here's some more information on the link below. Please take good care of yourself.
    http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/1101.aspx?CategoryID=54

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 10 May 2017 - 11:24

    Hi, thank you for your reply.
    I've had thrush before but it normally itches and there is no irritation whatsoever, or odour. Yesterday evening there was a small amount of light brown/beige when I put a cotton bud in slightly. Today there is no discharge. Could it still be thrush from what I have described? Thank you

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 10 May 2017 - 11:42

    Hi again Christine
    At any gestation of pregnancy, any unusual vaginal discharge , in terms of colour (red,pink,white,yellow,green,brown etc), with or without odour, or itching, should ideally be reviewed by your GP or Midwife as soon as possible. It is difficult to know if it is thrush for sure without you being reviewed and hopefully being given some appropriate treatment for it. Please do contact your midwife, GP or visit a pharmacy to address your concern and get treatment for it. Take care of yourself.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Oct 2016 - 11:45

    Hi there.
    You need to go into your local hospital as soon as possible. Once your waters have broken, you and your baby are at an increased risk of infection. As a matter of urgency, please take yourself, with your overnight bag and pregnancy notes, to your local labour ward and let the midwifery team know what date and time your waters broke. Take care of yourself.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 13 Oct 2016 - 07:58

    I'm 41 weeks and my water has broken BT I have no pains yet its been three days ago now, I need your advice plz

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