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?

Although more discharge can be very normal in pregnancy, if it is watery or there is a noticeable increase then contact your maternity unit.

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 Brenda (not verified) on 29 Jun 2018 - 01:30

    Hi My Due Date Of Giving Birth Was 26may, It Pasted A Week When I Had Cramps, I Thought It Was Labour But The Doctor Check Me For An Ultra Sound And Said I Should Wait For 2wks. 2wks Have Pasted And Nothing Is Happening, Am Worried Because Am Entering 11months And Its My First Pregnancy,please Advice Me What To Do. Thank You

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 29 Jun 2018 - 12:00

    Hi Brenda,
    In the UK all women are offered an induction of labour when they are about 10-14days passed their due date. From your message it sounds like you are over a month passed your due date so you should have definitely been offered an induction as research shows the placenta becomes less efficient during this time. It is very very important that you monitor your baby's movements closely, if you notice they have reduced or changed then you must go to the hospital straight away.
    I would strongly advise for you to speak with your doctor about inducing your labour.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Unknown (not verified) on 20 Jun 2018 - 11:59

    Iya I'm 33+4 yesterday i leaked kind watery discharge and kind jelly had few lower back pain and hurt every time the baby moved or kicked for over a hour keep feeling very hot

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Jun 2018 - 14:59

    Hi,
    If you are continuing to have some watery discharge then you need to contact your maternity unit to check that your waters have not broken. Some back ache is normal but if you feel like this is worse than usual then again do be reviewed.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Leanne (not verified) on 8 Jun 2018 - 18:34

    Hi I’ve had the above happen today when I went to the loo, and wiped after seeing. . I’ve no other symptoms (no pain etc) and it was a very small amount. I’m not urinating anymore or less and this is my second pregnancy.were off on holiday in the morning so don’t know whether to go anywhere but I’m not sure if I should. Thank you

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 11 Jun 2018 - 14:28

    Hi Leanne, Sorry not to get back to you sooner, We are here only during office hours, Monday to Friday 9-5pm. I hope this has settled now. If you are still concerned, you can usually be seen in the early pregnancy unit at your local hospital. We usually recommend that any bleeding is assessed to find a cause but in many situations no cause is found and the pregnancy continues without any problems. Hope your holiday is going well. Take care.

  • By Laura (not verified) on 7 Jun 2018 - 20:51

    Hi I’m 26 weeks for the past couple of weeks my pants/ panty liners keep smelling of wee?! However I do not seem to have much discharge and the pants are not wet?
    Have had no itching but keep going wee.
    Is this normal?!
    Thanks

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 8 Jun 2018 - 13:12

    Hi Laura,
    If you have noticed a change in smell and that you keep needing to wee then it maybe a sign of a urine infection, it maybe worth dropping off a sample to your GP for testing or speaking with your midwife for a review.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Archana (not verified) on 5 Jun 2018 - 17:51

    My white discharge suddenly stopped 4 days ago, in in 5th week. I already had a history of 2 miscarriages. Now is it a sign of one more. I'm feeling dear and tense. Please help me. Answer me so that I can prepare my mind

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 6 Jun 2018 - 15:49

    Hi Archana
    White discharge can be both related to pregnancy (which is totally normal) or it could be a thrush infection which may require over the counter cream treatment from your pharmacist. Please do not worry that you have not seen any white discharge for a few days, this is more reassuring than worrying. You can go to see your midwife/doctor if you are still concerned for review and reassurance.
    Please take care of yourself
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By For this child ... (not verified) on 29 Apr 2018 - 17:59

    Hello, Friday I had the anatomy scan including a vaginal u/s after to check cervix. Doc said everything looked great. Saturday early afternoon I wiped a good amount of pinkish red and went straight to ER. The doc did an ultrasound and tests including UTI check. Baby was great and no infections were found. She said she believed it was due to the cervical u/s . Said to not worry and lay down for the weekned to relax. I came home and passed a darkish booger like clot? No tissue. No cramping through any of this. It is sunday and I have been wiping light brown discharge. Still no cramping, no heavy bleed and praying it stays that way. I am scared. This would be my 3rd baby. When I had the ultrasound the baby was moving and kicking and I still feel him moving tons. Any one else?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 30 Apr 2018 - 16:29

    Hi, It seems that your bleeding is related to the ultrasound. It is reassuring that you are still feeling movements so rest up and it is most likely that this will resolve. Take care

  • By Addy (not verified) on 25 Apr 2018 - 01:23

    Im currenly 24 weeks and i have been feeling heavy down there like when i get off my bed or get up from a chair, the heaviness comes when i get up...i noticed a increase in discharge also. Any advice?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 27 Apr 2018 - 11:33

    Hi - Thank you for your message.
    As your pregnancy progresses and your baby grows you will notice changes in your body due to the increased weight of the pregnancy. If however, you are concerned or the pressure is causing you pain please contact your GP/Midwife for advice and to be reviewed.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 6 Apr 2018 - 11:13

    In 40wks, 3rd baby. Normal pregnancy, babies head is still high in pelvis.
    I’ve had practically no discharge at all the last week or 2. I’m drinking plenty.
    I remember I had heavy discharge with the 2 previous pregnancies by this stage.
    Is this normal?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 6 Apr 2018 - 13:38

    Hi,
    Please try not to worry that you are not experiencing any discharge, this can be normal. Every pregnancy is different. As long as you do not have any other concerns such as itching or soreness then it is fine. If you have other concerns then do speak with your midwife.
    Best wishes, Tommy's midwives

  • By Rita (not verified) on 19 Mar 2018 - 22:14

    Am 7 months pregnant, I have an heavy discharge so I decided to use cotton wole to absorb the discharge from touching my skin.
    I tried bringing it out but I can't... Am so worried so it won't course any problem for me. Even while trying to bring it out a little blood came out. Please what can I do in thing situation ?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Mar 2018 - 10:16

    Hi Rita,
    Heavy discharge can be very normal in pregnancy as long as it is not watery or of an offensive smell or change in colour. Often many pregnant women wear a thin panty liner to absorb the discharge. If you think that the cotton wool is still inside of your vagina and you are not safely able to remove it then I would suggest to see your GP who may do a speculum examination and be able to remove the cotton wool. Best wishes, Tommy's midwife.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 26 Feb 2018 - 12:57

    Hi, im currently 32 weeks and 5 days pregnant with my 3rd baby just got to the toilet and found i leaked quite a bit ot yellow snotty discharge on to my pad i have had a very severe back ache for the last 2 nights where i havnt been able to sleep, does any one know what this could be at all please?

    Thank you x

  • By Joanne (not verified) on 22 Feb 2018 - 09:43

    I've had discharge all of my pregnancy so far. I'm 19weeks and today it seems to have stopped. Is this normal or should I contact someone? I'm a first time mum so I have no idea what is or isn't normal...

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 23 Feb 2018 - 11:01

    Hi Joanne,
    As a general rule, discharge often does increase during pregnancy but this can vary. In the absence of any other symptoms, discharge stopping is not something to worry about. If you have any other concerns, such as pain or bleeding then do contact your maternity unit for a review.
    Tommy's midwives x

  • By Louise (not verified) on 5 Jan 2018 - 07:22

    Hi am 40 weeks + 5 days now yesterday i had a sweep done and now am getting some clear with a bit of red i think after i use the loo what will i do can any1 help thanks

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 5 Jan 2018 - 16:23

    Hi Louise,
    It is very common to have a small amount of spotting and increased discharge after having a sweep, it is good idea just to pop on a pad and monitor any loss over the next hour or two. If it is brown or stops and you do not have any pain or other concerns and baby is moving well then just continue to monitor. If any fresh red bleeding on the pad or the clear loss is watery or you have any other concerns such as pain or worries about baby's movements then do ring your maternity unit straight away for advice and to be reviewed.

  • 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 Sarah (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 Adella (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 Christine (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 Christine (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 Primrose (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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