White Discharge During the Third Trimester of Pregnancy – Is It Normal?

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Dr. Deepinder Kaur (Obstetrician and Gynaecologist)
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White Discharge During the Third Trimester of Pregnancy - Is It Normal?

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Pregnancy is a time of excitement and brings a lot of changes in your life. When you are pregnant, your body goes through a lot of changes. You may already be expecting and even looking forward to some of these changes. However, some bodily changes are unexpected and may cause trouble at times. All women experience some form of vaginal discharge once in a while, and pregnant women may also experience vaginal discharge. However, during pregnancy, vaginal discharge can be more, which may or may not be normal. The abnormal discharge could be due to an infection, or it could be related to labour.

Women often feel embarrassed discussing vaginal discharges, but pregnant women should understand that certain abnormal discharges require medical attention. Read on to know more about white discharge during pregnancy.

Is White Discharge Common During the Third Trimester of Pregnancy?

White discharge from the vagina or a milky discharge in the third trimester is common, and you must not worry about it. As the number of changes takes place in your body during pregnancy, it is very normal to experience white discharge during the third trimester of your pregnancy. But you must consult your doctor if the discharge has an unusual colour, texture, or a foul smell. Close to the date of your delivery, you may also notice blood-stained thick white discharge in the third trimester. This is an indication that you are likely to go into labour.

Normal Discharge During the Third Trimester of Pregnancy

There are quite a few changes that will take place in your body to prepare you for labour and delivery. These changes are associated with the changes in your vaginal discharge. Your hormone levels will change as the blood supply to the cervix will increase, causing a higher amount of discharge. You may have to wear panty liners and pads. Here are the signs of a normal discharge:

  • It is whitish, clear, runny, or even slightly yellow
  • It is odourless
  • Slightly pinkish discharge as your delivery date gets closer

However, if you have the slightest hint of uneasiness or discomfort due to the discharge, you should reach out to your doctor.

Abnormal Discharge During the Third Trimester

Abnormal discharge is yellowish or greenish in colour, and may or may not be accompanied by a foul smell. In a situation like this, you should immediately get in touch with your doctor. It could be because of various reasons, and it should be treated before it can affect the baby.

Here are the common reasons for an abnormal discharge during pregnancy:

  • Bacterial Vaginosis is a condition caused by the imbalance of the bacteria present in the vagina or cervical canal. It is also a cause of the yellowish vaginal discharge. The symptoms of this are a stinging or burning sensation during urination. If not treated, this condition can cause preterm babies or small babies.
  • Candidiasis is a yeast infection because of which the vaginal discharge may be yellowish or greenish. An increase in changes in the hormonal levels can give rise to an infection with the fungus candida. It may make you experience itching and irritation.Abnormal Discharge During the Third Trimester
  • Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). It can cause vaginal discharge to be thick and yellowish. If you are suffering from this or any other STD, you must inform the doctor immediately, and start the treatment as it can cause preterm delivery, or pass the infection to the unborn child.
  • Leucorrhea is caused by an increase in the levels of estrogen during pregnancy. It can cause a thick, yellowish discharge. The discharge is a combination of normal bacterial flora found in the cervix, old vaginal cells, and other secretions of the vagina and cervix.

How to Deal with White Discharge in the Third Trimester

The following dos and don’ts will help you deal with vaginal discharge and prevent infection:

What to Do

Ensure that you do the following:

  • Wash the vaginal area a couple of times in a day with water and a medicated soap that is recommended by your doctor. Pat dry.
  • When drying or wiping the vaginal area, the hand movement should be from front to back and never back to front. Wear clean, cotton underwear, and change it twice a day, at least.
  • Wear comfortable cotton clothes at night that allow your skin to breath.
  • Using pads and panty liners will keep you dry and comfortable.
  • Use protection while having sex to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Immediately call and inform your doctor if you experience any symptoms that are not normal.
  • If your underwear is continually getting really wet before your due date, let your doctor know immediately.

What Not to Do

Avoid doing these things for a healthy pregnancy:

  • Avoid using scented creams and bubble baths.
  • Tampons can cause infections and introduce bacteria in the vagina. Hence, avoid using them.
  • If you have a foul smell in the vaginal area, do not mask it by using scents, sprays, or powders.
  • Avoid self-medication and consult a doctor for itching, redness, or swelling.
  • Avoid using public toilets to prevent any infections.
  • Avoid douching as it may also cause the good bacteria in the vagina to be washed off.

When to Call a Doctor

If you experience watery discharge before the 37th week or notice symptoms that aren’t entirely normal, you should see a doctor. Also, if you notice that your underwear is getting soaked unusually or you feel any discomfort, it is best to get it cleared. A watery discharge before 37 weeks should raise a red flag. You must immediately contact your doctor, as this may mean you could have ruptured the amniotic sac and the amniotic fluid might be leaking.

Although white discharge is not a big concern during pregnancy, you must consult a doctor if you notice anything unusual. If you see a lot of white discharge during the nine months of pregnancy, inform your doctor and follow their advice.

Also Read:

Watery Discharge during Pregnancy
Brown Discharge while Pregnancy
Jelly Like Discharge in Pregnancy

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