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Pregnancy can be accompanied by some wonderful and horrible experiences. With your body changing rapidly and your hormones playing their balancing act, you may find yourself combating many unpleasant reactions from your body. One of them is fluids and discharges that leave your body through your vagina. There could be many potential reasons for yellow discharge during early pregnancy from the vagina. It could be the result of an infection which, if left untreated, could spread through your cervix to the placenta and infect the amniotic fluid.
What is Yellow Discharge?
The surge in your hormone levels during pregnancy include the increase in the levels of oestrogen within the body. This leads to additional blood flow to the vagina causing leucorrhea (the discharge seen from the vagina during pregnancy). This discharge comprises of secretions from the cervix as well as the vagina, normal bacterial flora from the vaginal walls, and the old vaginal cells. The amount and frequency of discharge differ in every woman.
Is Yellow Discharge Normal During Pregnancy?
Vaginal discharge is the body’s own mechanism for cleaning the vagina by flushing out dead cells and bacteria to keep the vagina clean and healthy. Leucorrhea, an increased amount of vaginal mucus, is a common pregnancy symptom. The amount of discharge released will peak during the third trimester. If the discharge has a foul smell and is of a dark colour, then you will need to visit the doctor.
What Causes Yellow Discharge in Pregnant Women?
Other than high oestrogen levels, there are some other causes for the bright yellow discharge that can be seen when you’re pregnant.
1. Dominance of Oestrogen
High levels of oestrogen mean larger amounts of vaginal discharge. Other factors that cause an increase in oestrogen levels are excess body fat, stress, a low-fibre diet or even a weak immune system. Your doctor may prescribe medication if oestrogen dominance is the cause of the abnormal discharge.
2. Yeast Infections
Yeast infections are common during the second trimester of pregnancy as the hormones affect the vagina’s pH level, allowing yeast called Candida albicans to grow. This causes the production of thick, white, foul-smelling discharge, vaginal itching, redness, and swelling of the vulva. The colour of the mucus may differ from woman to woman. Your doctor may prescribe medication that will eliminate the infection soon, causing no harm to your baby.
3. Bacterial Vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis is caused when the balance of good and bad bacteria of the vaginal flora is toppled. Good bacteria control the bad bacteria, but when the bad bacteria outnumber the good, it results in bacterial vaginosis. It is characterized by a yellow-green, thick and foul-smelling discharge accompanied by itching and swelling. This condition could lead to premature delivery, low birth weight of the baby and even a uterine infection after pregnancy, if not treated on time.
4. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
The most common cause of abnormal discharge, STDs pose a very high risk to both the mother and the baby. STDs, if not treated on time, could lead to premature rupture of the membrane, premature delivery, and even lead to the baby being born with low birth weight. The main STDs that lead to an abnormal discharge are trichomoniasis, chlamydia, and gonorrhoea.
When You Need to Worry
Other than the causes mentioned above, you may be infected by some other STDs which are not characterised by burning, itching or irritation. Any sight of grey, green, yellow discharge with an unpleasant smell is certainly something to worry about.
How Is Yellow Discharge Treated?
There are various measures that could help reduce the amount of discomfort resulting from the discharge. Some of the home remedial measures that you can try are as follows –
- You can use panty liners; panty liners can help absorb the discharge if it is not caused by an infection.
- Keep the vaginal area clean, healthy and neat. After doing your business, ensure that you always wipe the area from front to back. Wiping the other way around can cause germs to reach your vagina.
- Wear cotton panties for additional comfort and breathability. Stay away from synthetic materials if you suspect an infection.
- Avoid scented soaps, pads and toilet paper, hygiene sprays, and tight-fitting pants.
- Stay away from douching as it distresses the normal bacterial flora of the vagina and increases the chances of having an infection.
How You Can Prevent Yellow Discharge When Pregnant
Here’s how you can prevent yellow discharge during pregnancy.
- Keep the genital area clean and dry all the time.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes and undergarments that do not irritate your skin.
- Avoid douching the vagina to abate infection.
- Follow a healthy diet and include a lot of yoghurt in it.
- Emotional stress can also lead to an excess of discharge. Relieve yourself of stress through various methods like yoga, meditation, exercise, eating right, etc.
Below are a few notable questions that people may have:
1. Can Yellow Discharge Be a Sign of Pregnancy?
When the vaginal discharge is yellow, it can usually be of two types – thick, or thin and watery. The latter indicates that a woman’s period is about to start, the yellowish tint arises from early menstrual blood. However, if the woman doesn’t notice other symptoms of her period, it could also mean that she has an infection.
When the discharge is thicker, it can either mean the onset of the period or an early sign of pregnancy. The yellowish tint, in this case, can arise due to the process of implantation. A pregnancy test will help you confirm this matter.
2. Is Yellowish-White Discharge During Pregnancy Normal?
A yellowish-white discharge with no odour and with the consistency of an egg white is quite normal during pregnancy.
3. Is Yellow Odourless Discharge While Pregnant Okay?
Generally, the discharge tends to be white in colour or light yellow. But if it is of a dark shade and gets increasingly darker over time, a doctor’s opinion must be taken. It’s best if the colour of the discharge is monitored so that the doctor has more information to go by to diagnose the actual problem.
4. Can Thick Yellow Discharge With Foul Smell Be a Symptom of a Disease?
In most cases, yes, thick yellow discharge accompanied by a foul smell could be a symptom of an infection or a disease, and it calls for medical intervention.
It’s definitely a concern when you see an unpleasant discharge from your vagina and it may also be embarrassing to discuss the same with your doctor. A light vaginal discharge, whether white, cream or light yellow in colour with an egg-white consistency is completely normal. But if the discharge takes on some strange colour and emanates a foul odour, you would need to seek medical advice to take corrective action.