Discharge in pregnancy

Having more vaginal discharge during pregnancy is common, but speak to your midwife or doctor if you are unsure about any increase or change in your vaginal discharge.

How much discharge is normal in pregnancy?

Having more vaginal discharge during pregnancy is common. Healthy vaginal discharge is usually thin, clear or milky white and shouldn’t smell bad.

Speak to your midwife or doctor if you are unsure about any increase or change in your vaginal discharge.

Infection

Call your midwife if you have vaginal discharge and:

  • it smells bad
  • is green, brown or yellow
  • you feel itchy or sore around your vagina
  • you have pain when you wee.

This may mean you have an infection that needs to be treated.

Vaginal bleeding

If you have any vaginal bleeding at any time during your pregnancy contact your midwife. You could also contact your GP you’re only a few weeks pregnant. Any sign of blood, which may be red (like if you cut your finger) or dark brown (like old blood) needs to be checked straight away.

Read more about bleeding in pregnancy.

Is it discharge or my waters breaking?

More discharge can be common in pregnancy but you will need to call your maternity unit and get checked urgently if:

  • your discharge is watery
  • your discharge changes
  • you’re bleeding
  • your baby is moving less than usual
  • your waters are green, brown or contain blood.

Leaking or gushing clear or pinkish liquid before 37 weeks.

This may mean that your waters have broken early (preterm prelabour rupture of membranes - PPROM).

If this happens you and your baby are at risk of infection. You may also go into labour and deliver your baby early.

Phone your maternity unit immediately.

Read more about premature birth.

Leaking or gushing 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. Call the maternity unit and tell them what has happened. You may not need to go to the hospital straight away but they will write down what time your waters broke and tell you what to do next.

Read more about waters breaking after 37 weeks.

 

Read more 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 September 27th, 2018. Next review date September 27th, 2021.

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Comments

Please note that these comments are monitored but not answered by Tommy’s. Please call your GP or maternity unit if you have concerns about your health or your baby’s health.
  • 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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