White Discharge During Pregnancy in Third Trimester

When you are pregnant, there are a lot of changes that happen in your body. You expect some of them and even look forward to them; however, some of these changes can be quite unexpected and may be troublesome at times. Pregnant women experience vaginal discharge like non pregnant women; however, the vaginal discharge during pregnancy can be greater, which could be either normal or caused by infection or related to impending labor.

White Discharge in Third Trimester—Is It Normal?

White discharge is something that does happen in pregnancy; however, it is not much discussed as women might feel embarrassed about it or simply choose to ignore it. There can be situations when this needs to be checked and discussed with the doctor.

1. Normal Discharge in Third Trimester

It is very normal to have a clear and runny, whitish or slightly yellowish vaginal discharge during pregnancy. With the number of changes taking place in your body to get it prepared for the delivery, it is very natural to have these changes. The cervix receives an increase in blood supply and hormone levels also keep changing. More mucous is secreted which results in increased vaginal discharge. The discharge can be so much that you may need to wear a pad or panty liner.

The discharge is non-smelly in normal conditions. However, if you experience foul smell, bloody or greenish discharge, or itching or a burning sensation, you should immediately consult your doctor, as it could be related to infection. No over-the-counter drugs should be taken as they could have detrimental effects on your baby.

There is a mucous plug in the cervix which closes the entrance to the uterus. During the later stages of pregnancy, you may start losing this plug as well. It is jelly-like substance and maybe discharged over a period of few days or all at once. It is normal to have a slightly pinkish color to this discharge, which indicates that you are close to your delivery date.

The normal vaginal discharge is annoying but can be ignored. However, even if you feel the slightest hint of uneasiness or discomfort due to it, you should get it checked with your doctor.

2. Abnormal Discharge in Third Trimester

Besides the regular white discharge in third trimester, if you experience discharge that is yellowish or greenish in color and with foul smell, you should immediately get in touch with your doctor. There could be various causes for it and it should be controlled before it can affect the baby. Abnormal discharge can be caused due to many reasons. Let us look at the more common ones below:

  • Leucorrhea: This is when you have a thick yellowish discharge, which is a combination of normal bacterial flora found in the cervix, the old vaginal cells and other secretions of the vagina and cervix. This is caused by increased levels of estrogen during pregnancy.
  • Candidiasis: This is a yeast infection which causes the vaginal discharge to be yellowish or greenish in color. This is caused due to infection with the fungus candida that may happen due to increased changes in the hormonal levels in the body. You may experience itching and irritation in this case.
  • Chlamydia: Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease and can cause the vaginal discharge to be thick and yellowish in color. In case you are suffering from this or any other sexually transmitted disease, you should inform the doctor immediately and start treatment as it can cause preterm delivery, or the infection can be passed on to the unborn child.
  • Bacterial Vaginosis: This condition, caused by the imbalance of the bacteria present naturally in the vagina or cervical canal, also causes yellowish vaginal discharge. It causes a stinging or burning sensation during urination. This condition can cause preterm babies or small babies.

You can check the difference between normal and abnormal vaginal discharge from this video on pregnancy symptoms by a certified nurse-midwife:

How to Deal With White Discharge in Third Trimester

1. Dos and Don’ts When Dealing With White Discharge

Taking simple steps will help you in dealing with vaginal discharge and prevent infection.

Dos

Don’ts

Wash the vaginal area couple of times in a day with soap and water, and pat it dry.

Avoid using scented creams or having bubble baths.

When drying or wiping the vaginal area, ensure to wipe from front to back and never back to front.

Tampons can cause infections and introduce bacteria in the vagina, hence, avoid using them.

Ensure that you use a clean cotton underwear and change it twice a day at least.

If you have foul smell in the vaginal area, do not use scents, sprays or powders to mask it.

Wear comfortable cotton wear at night which will allows your skin to breathe instead of silk or nylon.

Never use over-the-counter drugs or self-medication for itching, redness or swelling.

Using pads or panty-liners will keep you dry and make you feel comfortable.

If possible, avoid using the toilets in public places to prevent germ transfer.

Using condoms during sex is always preferred as they help in preventing sexually transmitted diseases.

Douching causes the good bacteria in the vagina also to be washed away, so avoid doing it.

2. Call Your Doctor If Needed

  • You should call and inform your doctor if you experience any symptoms which are not normal.
  • If you find a watery discharge before 37 weeks, you should immediately contact your doctor, as this could mean you have ruptured the amniotic sac and the fluid is being discharged. In this case, the baby is not secure entering the uterus from organisms.
  • If your underwear is constantly getting wet a lot before your due date, you should let your doctor know immediately.
  • If you have any doubts pertaining to any discomfort you are feeling, you should get it cleared from your doctor.