I am getting a white discharge. Do I have an infection?
White vaginal discharge also referred to as
leucorrhoea is a normal and harmless during pregnancy. Usually the discharge
will keep on increasing in flow till the time of your delivery. To cope with
excessive discharge you may have to wear a sanitary pad during the last few
months of pregnancy. It is also important for you to keep the vaginal area
clean and dry. You must avoid wearing tight clothes and abstain from using
deodorants, soaps, bubble baths and perfumes. In case the discharge turns
yellowish, greenish or very thick you must immediately notify your doctor.
Is it normal to experience excessive vaginal discharge during pregnancy?
Leukorrhea or the odourless, mild-smelling milky discharge can get excessive during pregnancy. This happens because of increased levels of estrogens being produced by the body and greater blood flow to the vaginal area. Vaginal discharge is made up of secretions from the cervix and vagina and old cells from the walls of the vagina.
When should you consult a doctor?
Signs of Preterm Labour - In case the vaginal discharge becomes watery, mucus-like, or bloody, even if it is lightly tinged with pink or brownish old blood it could be a sign of preterm labour. If you notice these changes before week 37 you must contact your doctor immediately.
Signs of a Vaginal Infection - If you have an odourless, whitish discharge accompanied by symptoms like pain during urination or intercourse, soreness, itching, burning sensation, inflammation of the vulva you may be suffering from a vaginal yeast infection for which you must seek formal medical treatment.
Thin white or gray discharge with a fishy vagina odour which becomes pronounced after sexual intercourse is a common symptom of bacterial vaginosis. This is a vaginal infection referred to as bacterial vaginosis which happens because of the vaginal pH balance getting disturbed.
In case your discharge is yellow or green in colour and frothy with an unpleasant odour, you may be suffering from a common sexually transmitted disease Trichomoniasis. Some of the other symptoms of this disease are a red, irritated, or itchy vulva or vagina and discomfort while urinating or while having an intercourse.
During pregnancy even if you have the slightest doubt that you may be suffering from infection of any kind please do not opt for self treatment with the help of over-the-counter medications. Vaginal infections are not easy to treat because of which it is important that you first consult a qualified medical practitioner to correctly diagnose your condition and treat you appropriately.
What can you do about vaginal discharge during pregnancy?
After ruling out the possibility of a vaginal infection there is not much that you can do to keep a check on your vaginal discharge. To manage the discharge you can do the following things:
Make use of panty liners to absorb the excessive discharge. Please note that it is not safe to use tampons during pregnancy.
Ensure to keep your vaginal area healthy and clean. Remember to always wipe from front to back. Instead of wearing panties made of synthetic material wear cotton underwear. Avoid tight pants and nylons. Abstain from having bubble bath, making use of scented pads or toilet paper, feminine hygiene sprays, and scented soaps. Harsh chemicals contained in feminine hygiene products are capable of disturbing the natural vaginal pH balance and causing infections easily.
Abstain from douching since it can upset the normal balance of vaginal flora and increase the risk of vaginal infection. Research studies have indicated that in certain rare cases douching can introduce air into your circulatory system through the vagina, which can cause serious pregnancy related complications.
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- The Indiaparenting Team