Is Discharge a Symptom of Pregnancy?
- Discharge may occur in conjunction with pregnancy but is only a sign of pregnancy under certain circumstances.
- During a healthy pregnancy, it is common to experience increased discharge of an odorless, clear-to-white mucus. This is the body's defense against bacteria and germs entering the vagina
- This page explains the difference between "normal discharge" (cervical mucus produced during the fertile window) and discharge that may indicate infection or disease, in which medical attention is needed.
- 🤰 Am I pregnant? Take the Online Pregnancy Test!
What Is Vaginal Discharge?
The term discharge often refers to the cervical mucus that forms during the days surroundings ovulation. This discharge is very noticeably for some women during their fertile window, while others observe little difference. Cervical mucus is a secretion produced by the many small cervical glands. It is discharged via the vagina.
The presence of cervical mucus is normal and healthy – even if it is rarely discussed in conversation. Around the time of ovulation, it enables sperm to survive in the vagina.
For more information, go to Cervical Mucus and the Fertile Window.
What Does Healthy Cervical Mucus Look Like?
Fertile Cervical Mucus:
Cervical mucus is typically transparent or milky and, above all, odorless. It may also have a yellowish tint. The consistency varies (depending on hormone levels) from thick and clumpy to stretchy and almost watery.
If you notice cervical mucus around the time of ovulation, this is not a sign of pregnancy. Instead, it reveals your fertile window. This is when you could become pregnant.
Abnormal Timeline of Cervical Mucus:
If you are experiencing a transparent or milky odorless discharge later than your usual ovulation timeline, this may indicate that your ovulation is late. It may also point toward a possible pregnancy.
Discharge: A Sign of Pregnancy?
Thick, white, flaky, or foul-smelling discharge — i.e., unusual and unpleasant discharge — is not a sign of pregnancy. Click here for more information on brown, green, or otherwise abnormal vaginal discharge.
If you notice a heavy discharge that is transparent or milky, then it is quite possible that you are pregnant. However, mucus cannot be the primary determining factor for identifying your pregnancy status. Take a pregnancy test to gain greater certainty.
In early pregnancy, hormonal changes sometimes cause increased discharge. This can vary significantly from woman to woman and from pregnancy to pregnancy.
Normal discharge at the beginning of pregnancy — mainly during the first few weeks — tends to be colorless, thin, and, above all, odorless.
During pregnancy, mucus prevents bacteria or germs from passing through the cervix to the baby. It is, therefore, a natural protective mechanism of the female body and no reason for concern! In addition, the vagina becomes more supple and receives a greater blood supply which can also cause an increased mucus flow. Many women also observe more mucus in the weeks preceding birth.
Experiencing a slight discharge that is tinted brown or pink? Perhaps even a few drops of bright red blood?
If this occurs around the time your period is due, it may be announcing the immanence of your menstrual bleeding.
Light brown discharge is usually not a sign of pregnancy. It usually occurs in the context of a weak period.
But if your period is not due yet, a light brown discharge or a spot of bright red blood could also indicate implantation bleeding.
Approximately six days after fertilization, the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine wall. The implantation may take a few days. During this time, it is possible for implantation bleeding to occur, lasting no longer than two days. This is unlike menstruation, which is much heavier and a darker red.
ℹ️ How Soon Can I Take a Pregnancy Test?
Unhealthy Discharge (White, Flaky, Smelly Brown, Green, Yellow, Gray...) — What Kind of Discharge Is Alarming?
You may feel alarmed because you are experiencing a discharge you have never noticed before. You may also wonder whether this discharge could be a sign of pregnancy.
Darker brown discharge before or after menstruation:
- This is usually old blood or only a weak period, possibly mixed with vaginal secretions.
- Your brown discharge may also be spotting. Usually, this is not a reason for concern as it is often caused by hormonal fluctuations, which may be stress related. If you experience frequent bouts of discharge or feel uncertain, contact your doctor.
Increased discharge that is white, flaky, and relatively odorless:
- Most often, this is a yeast infection. It can also lead to itching, soreness, and swelling in the external vaginal area.
- A vaginal fungus can have various causes, for example, excessive genital hygiene. Yeast infections are common during hormonal fluctuations, such as pregnancy or menopause.
- White crumbly discharge (often described as cottage cheese) is not a sign of pregnancy but can occur during pregnancy.
Discharge is heavy, grayish-white, watery, and has an unpleasant (fishy) odor:
- In most cases, this is a bacterial vaginal infection. Bacteria (e.g., from your bowel movement) may have reached your vagina causing its flora to be disturbed.
- In addition to the discharge, you may also experience pain during urination or sexual intercourse.
- This type of infection may occur more frequently during pregnancy due to hormonal changes and a weakened immune system.
- Still, an odorous discharge is not a sign of pregnancy.
As a rule:
If the color of your discharge is different than usual (e.g., yellow or green), has an unpleasant odor, or if you are experiencing other symptoms (burning, itching, pain), ask your doctor to check for a yeast infection, bacterial infection or STD. Most cases are easily treatable.
If you are pregnant and experiencing unusual discharge, seek medical advice. When left untreated, pathogens can reach the baby, creating health risks such as premature birth.
- For more information, go to (Sexually Transmitted) Diseases During Pregnancy.
Cervical Mucus — Am I Pregnant?
Even after reading this article, you may still be unsure why your body is undergoing changes. Go to Symptoms of Pregnancy to know what to look for.
You may have other concerns and questions about a possible pregnancy. We are here for you! Perhaps one of the following tests will help you gain clarity:
- 💧 Could I be pregnant from the pull-out method or pre-cum?
- 🧑⚕️ (Suspecting a) pregnancy — How soon to see a doctor?
- ⛑ Unintended pregnancy — First Aid Test