What White Discharge During Pregnancy Means: 6 Causes

Having white discharge during pregnancy is common and considered to be normal. It occurs due to hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy.

Pregnancy discharge occurs other symptoms, such as pain or burning when urinating, itchiness or a foul odor, it can also be a sign of vaginal infection or inflammation. Therefore you should see your obstetrician for assessment and possible treatment if you do have other symptoms.

It’s important to see your OB if you notice any changes to discharge during pregnancy, so that treatment can be initiated as necessary to prevent complications with the pregnancy or delivery. 

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What causes white discharge during pregnancy?

The main causes of white discharge during pregnancy include:

1. Hormonal changes

A white odorless discharge during pregnancy is absolutely normal and happens due to the pregnancy-related hormonal changes. This type of discharge it is not a cause for concern,  It is also normal for the expectant mother to notice increased discharge as the pregnancy progresses due to increasing pressure on the uterus. 

What to do: Normally, no treatment is necessary. However, it's important that the expectant mother monitors for other signs or symptoms that could indicate an infection, such as foul smell, itchiness or pain. If so, it is recommended to visit a doctor, so a diagnosis can be done and adequate treatment started.

2. Yeast infection

A yeast infection, or candidiasis, is a fungal infection commonly caused by Candida albicans. It is associated with white discharge, intense itching, redness and swelling in the genital area, as well as causing burning and pain when urinating. Learn more about what causes a yeast infection and other symptoms some women experience. 

Many women frequently have yeast infections during pregnancy, as the hormonal changes that occur can promote the growth of fungus that is naturally found in the vaginal flora. 

What to do: It’s important that yeast infections are treated as instructed by your doctor to avoid the baby getting infected during labor. The doctor may prescribe vaginal creams or ointments, such as miconazole, clotrimazole or nystatin.

3. Colpitis

Colpitis is a vaginal condition characterized by inflammation in the vagina and cervix. It can white, milky discharge that may also be strong-smelling and foamy. Colpitis is usually caused by a fungal, bacterial or viral infection, most commonly  Trichomonas vaginalis bacteria.

What to do: it is recommended to consult a gynecologist to confirm the diagnosis of colpitis and, if necessary, start adequate treatment, that can be done with antibiotics.