Some women spot during pregnancy and in most cases this does not indicate that there is any problem at all. In addition, vaginal discharge is also quite normal during pregnancy. However, an excessive amount of vaginal discharge or bleeding can be a sign of trouble. If you are pregnant for the first time then your body is probably going through many changes that may confuse you or even frighten you at times. On top of that not knowing what to expect at any given time can be overwhelming, not to mention frustrating. The following information may help you to gain a better understanding about some of the things that are happening with your body and what is considered normal or problematic.
Normal Vaginal Discharge
Every woman has a certain amount of vaginal discharge during her reproductive years. This is normal and by now you have probably noticed a slight amount of a milky white substance at one point or another. This substance is called leucorrhea and it is usually odorless or at least quite mild smelling. When you are pregnant this discharge may increase slightly due to the higher levels of estrogen in your body as well as a much greater blood flow to your vaginal region. This normal discharge is actually comprised of secretions from your cervix as well as your vagina. Basically it comes as a result of old cells from the wall of your vagina in addition to healthy bacterial flora.
Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
Now that you understand what normal vaginal discharge should be like it is important to understand that there may be times when there is a cause for concern. Firstly, a vaginal discharge should never be accompanied by a foul and offensive odor. If there is a foul odor and the discharge is yellow in color then this is a sign of infection and it should be checked out by a gynecologist right away. In addition, a very thin, clear and watery discharge could actually be amniotic fluid leaking. If either of these types of discharge should occur then medical attention is highly recommended.
Bleeding or Spotting
When a woman first becomes pregnant there is a very good possibility that she may have a partial period or bleed slightly at the time her cycle would normally start. This is not a common occurrence but it does sometimes happen. There are also times throughout pregnancy when a bit of spotting may be normal. However, it is important to understand that there is a big difference between spotting and bleeding. The biggest differences are in the color and amount of blood present. Normal spotting which typically occurs in very late pregnancy as labor approaches will usually be brownish in color or even pinkish. Bright red blood is a clear indication of a problem and should be looked into right away. In addition, when a woman is getting ready to go into labor any day she may notice that her “mucus plug” begins to expel. This usually looks a lot like egg whites or even like the type of mucus that comes out of your nose when you have a cold.
When to Call a Doctor
When you are pregnant it is always best to live by the motto it is better to be safe than sorry. If you feel that there is something wrong with you or your baby then by all means call your doctor. If there are things you are unsure of then likewise it would be a good idea to call your doctor. There is never any reason to be ashamed of asking questions when you are pregnant. After all, your doctor is there to answer any questions you may have and to address your concerns. Never wait to call the doctor if you have any abnormal bleeding or discharge. Even if you think there may be a chance that everything is fine, it is still best to make absolutely sure.
Signs of Early Labor
If you should begin to leak excessive amounts of fluid or if you should begin to see a yellowish mucus like discharge there is a good chance you are either leaking amniotic fluid or that your mucus plug is being expelled. In either case these things are both signs of early labor. In addition, contractions that begin to take on a normal pattern and increase in frequency are actual contractions and not Braxton hicks contractions. Early labor is usually not life threatening provided that at least 37 weeks of pregnancy has been reached. If these things should happen prior to 37 weeks then there is a good chance your doctor may try and take steps to stop labor. Obviously, if amniotic fluid has begun to leak then there won’t be much anyone can do but contractions can sometimes be stopped with specific medications.
Whether you are having your first baby or your 3rd baby, pregnancies are all different. Do not automatically become alarmed if you should experience something a bit unusual for you in terms of what you have experienced with your previous pregnancies. Remember that anything that causes you pain or discomfort could be worth having a look at. However, try not to take on a blasé attitude either. A healthy balance of confidence and concern are very important. As your pregnancy progresses there are some things that will begin to make you a bit less comfortable but most of the time these things are normal and everything is just fine.