If you notice more vaginal discharge or flow as your waistline grows, you have plenty of company.
While you are pregnant, changing body chemicals and more blood moving about your vagina can cause this discharge.
- This runny, whitish fluid shouldn't have a bad smell - if it does, call your doctor
- There is nothing you can do to lessen this fluid
- It's really a good thing - your body is getting rid of bacteria and germs, which keeps you and your baby healthy
- Change underwear
- Don't douche or wear tampons - this can bring in new bacteria and germs
The mucus plug
You may notice some other normal type of vaginal fluid may appear during the last few weeks you are pregnant.
- This fluid may have a thicker, jelly-like feel and can happen more often
- This can mean you are passing the mucus plug.
- This can happen a week or two before labor begins or just before your first real contractions.
- Talk to your doctor if you are passing the mucus plug, though it is most often not cause for alarm.
- This fluid typically appears on or after week 37, and may gush or leak steadily as your body prepares for birth.
- If you have any leaking of fluid before week 37, call your doctor right away.
- See your doctor about any vaginal discharge that is heavier or not what you think is normal.
- Some vaginal infections may be linked to premature labor or problems at birth.
- Signs that you should call your doctor right away:
- Spotting or bleeding
- Discharge that looks like cottage cheese
- Discharge that smells like yeast or bread
- Green or yellow discharge
- Soreness or itching of the vaginal lips
- Pain during urination or sex
These signs could mean you have a:
- Yeast infection
- Pregnant women are more likely to get yeast infections, which are caused by a very tiny mold that lives in the vagina.
- These infections will not harm the fetus, but your baby may get an infection of the mouth if you give birth while infected.
- Be sure to see your doctor if you think you have a yeast infection.
- Bacterial vaginosis (BV)
- Results from an imbalance in the micro-organisms in your vagina
- Often produces an unusual fishy-smelling discharge
- Can cause a burning feeling while peeing
- Sometimes there are few or no signs
- Pregnant women with BV are more likely to have babies who are born too small or too soon
- Your doctor can help you decide if you should be tested
- Sexually transmitted disease (STDs)
- Some STDs can cause premature labor and uterine infections after birth.
- Certain diseases, such as syphilis, High-risk pregnancy and Genital herpes may not cause vaginal discharge but can be passed on to your baby.
- Untreated STDs can lead to serious problems for your baby such as:
- Low birth weight
- Brain injury
- Some STDs show few signs for months or even years.
Don't be reluctant to seek help; there's nothing wrong or shameful about having been sexually active. The right health care help and treatment can help protect you and your baby.
Help protect yourself from infections
- Avoid douching
- Wear loose-fitting cotton underwear and clothing.
- Dry the part on all sides of your vagina all the way after washing.
- Always wipe from front to back after using the toilet.
- Change wet or damp clothing right away.
- Don't use toilet paper or feminine products containing deodorant or scents.
- Avoid bubble baths
Help protect yourself from STDs. The best ways to keep STDs from hurting your baby are to:
- Have a partner who is free of STDs
- The only way to know for sure is for both of you to be tested
- Use a spermicide-free condom
- These may not work 100 percent of the time, but can lower your chances of getting an STD
- Talk with your doctor and get screened for STDs if needed
[references] Copyright © 2010 LimeHealth