Clear (Watery) Vaginal Discharge in Pregnancy: Signs & Treatment

Watery Discharge During Pregnancy – Causes & Treatment

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Nina Mansukhani (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

White watery discharge, also known as vaginal leucorrhoea, is common among women. It begins at the onset of puberty and lasts until the end of menopause. The amount of discharge varies from woman to woman and usually increases during the menstrual cycle. A watery discharge signifies a healthy vagina as it helps expel bacteria, keeping the vaginal area free from infection.

Apart from daily life, if watery vaginal discharge comes during pregnancy, it raises questions about whether or not the pregnancy is progressing well. Plus, if it is your first pregnancy and you ask around your friends and family who did not experience it, the worry and anxiety just double up.

To free you of that anxiety, we are here to help you with the knowledge of clear discharge during pregnancy, what signs to watch for, and in what cases you should consider seeing a doctor.

Also Read: Cloudy Urine While Pregnant: Causes & Treatment

What Is Watery Discharge During Pregnancy?

The fluid that comes out of the vagina is known as vaginal discharge. Vaginal discharge is usually white or clear. If you are pregnant, you may notice watery discharge, but there is nothing to worry. Watery discharge during pregnancy usually depends on the stage of pregnancy. Based on the stage of your pregnancy, the characteristics and implications of a watery discharge may differ. Here is a categorised list of the same:

1. Watery Discharge in Early Pregnancy

Clear discharge during early pregnancy or first trimester has a slightly pungent smell. It resembles the slimy discharge of menstrual cycle and can stain your underclothes. This watery discharge appears due to the sudden surge in estrogen levels that increases blood flow to the vaginal area leading to an increase in other secretions.

Also Read: Vaginal Odour during Pregnancy: Reasons & Treatment

2. Watery Discharge in the Second Trimester

In the second trimester, vaginal discharge is milky egg white in colour and consistency. It is considerably more frequent than the discharge in the first trimester but is perfectly normal as it occurs due to the hormones cascading through a woman’s body. However, if you notice bloody discharge or foul-smelling discharge in your second trimester, it can indicate a problem. In such a case, you should consult a doctor immediately.

3. Watery Discharge in the Third Trimester

At this point, the discharge can exhibit itself in many forms, based on colour, odour, frequency, amount, and presence of blood. A heavy flow near your due date might imply preterm labour or even water breaking.

Also Read: Common Vaginal Infections during Pregnancy

Is it Normal to Have a Watery Discharge During Pregnancy?

It is quite common for a pregnant woman to have a watery discharge from the vagina. The amount of discharge will only increase as the pregnancy progresses. Read on to know about normal and abnormal watery discharge in detail.

1. Normal Watery Discharge

Most instances of watery discharge are perfectly normal. You have nothing to worry about if you experience the following:

  • Leucorrhoea

As mentioned, this is the standard fluid discharge. It is thin, clear, and watery in consistency. It can be perceived as one of the first symptoms of pregnancy as it shows up at the very beginning after conception.

  • Bloody Show

In your final week, the discharge might include blood and mucus, which implies that you are ready to go into labour within a few days. The mucus is part of the plug that blocks your cervix, preventing infections. This is known as a bloody show.

  • Amniotic Leakage

When the watery discharge in the third trimester of your pregnancy resembles urine and has flakes in it, it might be your amniotic fluid leaking. This is a perfectly ordinary occurrence; you need not worry about it. However, if you notice a greenish watery discharge in copious amounts, it may indicate that your water bag has broken and the baby might have passed the meconium. In this case, you should rush to the hospital.

2. Abnormal Watery Discharge

Abnormal Watery Discharge

Sometimes, a watery discharge is associated with several other symptoms which can irritate you. In such cases, a watery discharge is abnormal and can be a sign of one of the following:

  • Premature Labour

Noticing a small amount of blood in the last week of pregnancy is normal but if it is excessive, it might indicate preterm labour. Please contact your doctor immediately if this occurs.

  • Yeast Infections

A yeast infection can happen any time, but it may cause a lot more discomfort during pregnancy. Besides having greenish-yellow watery discharge or thicker white curdy discharge, you may experience pain while urinating. Yeast infections can also lead to irritation or redness in the vaginal area.

  • STIs

Watery discharge can even occur if you contract sexually transmitted diseases during pregnancy. Any disease can affect your health and immune system. It can also affect your fertility levels. Hence, consulting a doctor would be the best option if you notice watery discharge frequently.

  • Vaginosis

Caused by bacteria, it is accompanied by discharge, itchiness, and burning sensation while urinating. In addition, the discharge has a foul odour. It needs to be treated immediately as it might lead to premature labour or even miscarriage.

What Causes Clear, Watery, or Jelly-like Discharge in Pregnancy?

The increase in oestrogen hormone and increased flow of blood to the pelvic region causes the mucous glands in the cervix to produce extra mucus. In addition, the cervix and vagina may also shed dead cells, which may lead to white jelly-like discharge.

When Is Watery Discharge a Sign of Concern?

If the watery discharge is accompanied by cramps in pregnancy, it should not be taken lightly. If it is green or yellow in colour and has a strong and foul odour, you should consult a doctor. You might also experience redness, itchiness, or swelling in the vaginal area.

Important Facts About Watery Discharge in Pregnancy

There are several signs and symptoms associated with a watery discharge during pregnancy. Some of them are stated below:

  • A watery discharge may occur consistently throughout the entire pregnancy period.
  • Watery discharge can be yellowgreen, pink, white, or brown in colour.
  • It may occur during and after sexual intercourse in pregnancy due to a congested cervix and ectropion.

When Does Watery Vaginal Discharge Indicate an Infection?

As watery discharge is common during pregnancy, most women can’t tell the difference between normal watery discharge and abnormal watery discharge. It can be difficult to say that watery discharge is due to an infection. But if you observe any of the following things mentioned below, it might help to consult your gynaecologist.

  • Excess watery discharge along with lower body pain, especially after the 27th week of pregnancy.
  • Sudden changes in the colour or smell of vaginal discharge.
  • Itchiness, inflammation, redness, or painful sensation in your vaginal area.
  • Persistent fever.
  • Difficulty in urinating.

What If the Discharge Is Smelly or Changes Colour?

Watery discharge is usually white in colour and has a mild smell. If these features change drastically, it might be due to underlying problems such as premature labour or infection. Remember to carefully scrutinise your discharge for any changes.

When Is the Discharge Heavy?

The amount of watery discharge increases during periods and as the pregnancy progresses. You can expect a much higher amount of fluid secretion near the end of your third trimester.

Is Watery Discharge During Early Pregnancy a Sign of Miscarriage?

If you are experiencing vaginal watery discharge during your first trimester that is pink in colour, it might indicate a miscarriage. The colour will be due to blood, clots, or pieces of tissue from the placentauterus or amniotic sac.

How to Treat Watery Discharge

The treatment for the issue depends greatly on the underlying condition. The problem of watery discharge can easily be treated at home by making a few changes in your lifestyle. But sometimes, it may require medical intervention. Here’s how watery discharge can be taken care of.

1. Medical Treatment

As explained, you should consult your doctor if you observe any changes in your vaginal discharge during pregnancy or if you experience certain associated symptoms. Your healthcare provider might take swabs from your vagina for assessment, and provide you with treatments as well as steps to keep your vagina healthy and clean.

2. Remedies to Try At Home

Maintaining proper hygiene can keep your vagina clean and healthy. Here is what you can do to ensure good vaginal health:

  • Keep a stock of panty liners and sanitary napkins and use them as required. Avoid using tampons as they might irritate or cause toxic shock.
  • Practice Kegel exercises to strengthen your vaginal walls and to prevent urine leakage.
  • Maintain hygiene to lower the risk of contracting any infections. Wash your vaginal area with clean water.
  • Wipe your genital area from front to back after urinating or passing stool.
  • Steer clear of processed food and opt for fresh fruits and veggies instead. Follow a healthy diet and avoid eating sugary foods as they might lead to yeast infections.
  • Wear cotton underwear as cotton is a breathable fabric. Your underwear should stay clean and dry.
  • Drink plenty of water to flush out toxins from your body regularly.
  • Include yoghurt in your diet to encourage the growth of good bacteria as it is a probiotic.
  • Use pH balanced vaginal washes intermittently to prevent abnormal bacterial growth.

Things to Remember

Taking a few precautions will help you avoid complications that can come with watery discharge.

  • Get Tested Regularly

If your watery discharge is accompanied by symptoms of an infection, you might have to get medical treatment. In addition, consume foods rich in probiotics to avoid the occurrence of yeast infections.

  • Maintain Hygiene

Keep your vaginal area clean. Avoid using a bar of scented soap or spray to clean your vaginal area. If you have foul-smelling vaginal discharge, using a spray won’t help. Wash your vaginal area with warm water and wear clean and comfortable underwear.

  • Change Your Underwear Regularly

Protecting your panties with a liner or simply changing underwear every time you experience a discharge will keep your vaginal area fresh and lower the chances of contracting any infection.

  • Keep Track of Your Vaginal Discharge

Always keep track of your vaginal discharge. Notice the colour, consistency, amount, and odour of the discharge, so you can tell if it changes suddenly. Also, wash your vaginal area properly after sexual intercourse and urinate often.

  • Trust Your Doctor

Listen carefully to your doctor, as she will be able to guide you the best through your pregnancy journey. If necessary, note down the instructions and tips given by him so you don’t miss out on important things.

Can You Prevent Watery Discharge?

If your discharge is normal, then there is no need for any treatment. However, taking the precautions mentioned above will help treat or prevent any abnormal watery discharge.

When to Consult a Doctor

In some situations, urgent medical care is required to treat any underlying problem. In any case, experiencing excess discharge in the third trimester is a serious matter, especially if you experience pain and discomfort. Don’t hesitate to contact your doctor even if you are not entirely sure about the situation.

Any sort of watery discharge is bound to be unpleasant, but it is completely natural most of the time. By now you must have understood the differences between normal and abnormal watery discharge. Pay attention to the changes your body goes through. Furthermore, follow the tips mentioned in this article to ensure that you have a normal watery discharge. However, if you notice abnormal discharge, don’t hesitate to consult a doctor.

Also Read: Losing Your Mucus Plug during Pregnancy

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