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Q&A: I’m Pregnant and Have Vaginal Discharge. Is It an Infection?

Question: I’m pregnant and experiencing some vaginal discharge. Could I have an infection or is this normal? If it is a yeast infection, how should I treat it while pregnant?

Answer: Pregnancy can induce several different types of vaginal discharge, and most of the time, these discharges are normal. Increased blood flow to your vagina coupled with increased estrogen can cause you to experience a whitish, mucousy discharge known as leukorrhea. Leukorrhea is experienced by many women, even when they are not pregnant, at different times in their cycles.

If you experience discharge that causes itching or you notice that your labia are red, you may have a yeast infection. Before you treat yourself with an over-the-counter product, always check with your doctor. It may be a common yeast infection or something else requiring different treatment. If the discharge has a foul odor or is yellow or green, it may be sign of a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or other infection.

What can you do? To avoid or manage a yeast infection, try these tips:

  • Wear panty liners to absorb discharge
  • Always wipe from front to back
  • Wear cotton panties to help with good airflow to the area.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing
  • Don’t use scented sprays or wipes
  • Never douche!
  • Check with your healthcare provider if you have questions and before pursuing any form of treatment

If you see any blood mixed with any vaginal discharge, let your practitioner know right away. This may be a sign that you are going into labor. You should also contact your healthcare provider if the discharge is thin and clear, as you may have broken your water.

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