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White Discharge During Pregnancy: Main Causes and What To Do

February 2021

Having a white discharge during pregnancy is common and considered normal, as it normally occurs due to the changes that happen in the body during pregnancy.

However, if the discharge is followed by other symptoms, such as pain or burning sensation when urinating, itchiness or foul smell, it can also be a sign of infection or inflammation in the genital area, and it is therefore important to visit a gynecologist, to get a correct diagnosis and adequate treatment.

It’s important that the cause of the discharge be identified and treated - in serious cases - to avoid complications during pregnancy, which can place the baby in danger, or to prevent the baby from getting infected during labor.

White Discharge During Pregnancy: Main Causes and What To Do

The main causes of white discharge during pregnancy include:

1. Hormonal changes

A white odorless discharge during pregnancy is absolutley normal and happens due to the pregnancy hormonal changes. Therefore, this type of discharge it is not a reason to worry. In addition, it is normal for the expectant mother to notice more discharge as the pregnancy progresses due to the increasing pressure on the uterus. 

What to do: normally no treatment is necessary, however, it's important that the expectant mother continually checks if there are other signs or symptoms that could indicate an infection, such as foul smell, itchness or pain. If so, it is recommended to visit a doctor, so a diagnosis can be done and adequate treatment started.

2. Candidiasis

Candidiasis is an infection caused by a fungus, usually Candida albicans, which causes white discharge, intense itching, redness and swelling in the genital area, as well as causing burning and pain when urinating.

Candidiasis in pregnancy is frequent, as the hormonal favor the proliferation of this microorganism, which is part of the normal vaginal microbiota.

What to do: it’s important that pregnancy candidiasis is treated according to doctor’s orders to avoid the baby getting infected during labor. Therefore, the doctor may prescribe vaginal creams or ointments, such as Miconazole, Clotrimazole or Nystatin.

3. Colpitis

Colpitis is also a condition that leads to the appearance of white discharge, similar to milk, which can be strong and foamy, and it appears if the vagina and the cervix are inflamed, which can be caused by fungus, bacteria, or protozoans, especially Trichomonas vaginalis.

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.

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