Clear, odorless vaginal discharge is a sign of a healthy vagina. The quantity, color, odor of discharge changes from time to time during a woman's menstrual cycle. It also undergoes significant changes during important phases such as puberty, pregnancy, menopause etc. Sexually active women in the reproductive age group are susceptible to various infections, sexually transmitted diseases etc. While there is no need to raise an alarm whenever your discharge pattern varies a little, you certainly need to be more vigilant about it when you are pregnant. Smelly discharge during pregnancy is one such condition that needs to be addressed quickly.
What Causes It
Pregnancy is characterized by a lot of activity at the hormonal level. Besides, the female uterus also becomes more active than usual. The pelvic region receives increased blood flow during this time. All these physiological changes are bound to affect the nature, consistency and color of your vaginal discharge. Smelly discharge in first trimester is often an indication of increased hormonal activity.
Yellow Smelly Discharge
During pregnancy, you are susceptible to various infections and sexually transmitted diseases as your immune system is not working to its full capacity. A smelly yellow discharge during pregnancy is often an indication of a sexually transmitted disease like chlamydia, gonorrhea etc. Often it may also be due to an amoeba infection named, trichomoniasis. In this case, the discharge is yellowish green, frothy but very scanty. Trichomoniasis can be easily treated.
Fish Smelling Discharge
This is a sure shot indication of bacteria vaginosis. Bacterial vaginosis is very common in women and affects 10 to 20% of pregnant women. Mainly it is caused due to an imbalance of beneficial bacteria in the vagina and harmful bacteria. It can be cured with the help of an antibiotic course.
White discharge with a consistency of a cottage cheese is a result of yeast infection, named candidiasis. During pregnancy, the levels of estrogen in the body increase. Estrogen bring about rapid growth of fungus in the vagina. Besides, it makes it easier for candida albicans to stick to the wall of the vagina.
During pregnancy, vagina produces glycogen in larger amounts, which provides a very favorable habitat for the fungus to thrive. This leads to a white or yellowish discharge. Candida can be treated with a probiotic treatment. Probiotic bacteria are the beneficial bacteria, which reside in your vagina and prevent overgrowth of yeast. Probiotic cultures can also be found in yogurt. Simply apply some plain, unflavored yogurt in vagina to kill fungus. This also reduces itchiness and inflammation and soothes the skin.
Clear, Watery, Sweet Smelling Discharge
This could be a situation to raise an alarm, especially when you are weeks away from your due date. Clear, watery discharge during pregnancy can be amniotic fluid leaking from your uterus. As amniotic fluid is your baby's only source of nourishment and protection while inside uterus, this can spell danger for your baby. Leaking of amniotic fluid must be immediately reported to an OB-GYN. During the last trimester, you are likely to take it for incontinence or accidental urine leakage due to pressure on bladder by growing baby. While this is certainly a possibility, you should pay attention to the smell of discharge. Urine smells like ammonia while amniotic fluid has a strange sweet odor.
Pink, Brown Discharge in Late Pregnancy
During the onset of a pregnancy a mucus plug is formed at the neck of cervix which prevents the entry of microbes. This mucus plug comes off when you are only hours away from your labor. The incidence of coming of mucus plug is quite dramatic and appropriately termed as 'bloody show'. It may be clear, pinkish, brown and may come with a gush of amniotic fluid.
While abnormal discharge during pregnancy may not always pose threat to you or baby, it is best to get yourself examined by an OB-GYN. Most of these causes are treatable and pose no harm for baby while it is inside uterus. However, during birth, your baby may acquire some of these infections while passing through birth canal. Hence, see your doctor on a priority basis whenever you experience this condition.