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Discharge During Pregnancy: When to Worry

Are you pregnant and worried about whether your discharge is normal? Here's how to know when you should be concerned.

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When you're pregnant, having increased discharge is very, very common. It's called leukorrhea of pregnancy, and it's caused by hormonal changes that affect the uterus, the cervix, the vagina. And for the most part, it's nothing to worry about. If you are having symptoms of abnormal discharge, which can include itching, or burning, or discoloration, or odor, you should talk to your doctor. And typically, we'll have you come into the office, we'll do an exam. You'll be checked for infections, which can include yeast vaginitis or bacterial vaginosis, both of which are not life-threatening, both of which are easily treatable with prescription creams. A lot of the books will lead you to think that losing your mucus plug means that labor is gonna start any moment. But in reality, you can lose your mucus plug weeks before going into labor. I think it's important to differentiating the third trimester discharge from having your water break. It's a common question that we get. Patients aren't sure if their water's broken. And so, the first question we ask them is to see if they can discern whether it's watery liquid, or it's more sticky and mucousy liquid that's coming out. If it's more watery, then it could be that the amniotic fluid bag has ruptured-- in which case your doctor definitely needs to know about that. Not every patient will know for sure what it is, and we get lots of calls. And we encourage patients to come and so we can check.