Let’s talk about pregnancy discharge smells: what you need to know
Vaginal discharge might seem like a taboo topic, but we’re here to tell you that it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Throughout your menstrual cycle, your vaginal discharge can change in colour and consistency – and it’s completely normal. During pregnancy, your body goes through more hormonal changes that can also affect your discharge, including how it looks and smells. We’re here to answer all your questions, so you can feel empowered and informed about the changes happening in your body.
What’s normal when it comes to pregnancy discharge?
If we’re talking about discharge and pregnancy, first, we need to talk about hormones.
During pregnancy, your body experiences a surge of hormones, including an increase in progesterone, estrogen and prolactin. These hormonal changes, coupled with increased blood flow to your vagina, can affect your pH level and lead to new – and sometimes unwelcome – pregnancy discharge smells. The extra estrogen stimulates an increase in discharge, bolstering your body’s defences against infections. So if you notice changes in your discharge during pregnancy, it can actually be a positive sign that your body is just doing its thing.
Dr Raewyn Teirney is a fertility expert and gynecologist. We spoke to her about changes to your discharge during pregnancy.
“Typical vaginal discharge, known as leukorrhea, will begin to change as early as 1 to 2 weeks after conception, even before you’ve missed your period. As your pregnancy progresses, this discharge usually becomes more noticeable, and it’s heaviest at the end of your pregnancy.”
It’s important to keep an eye on what’s happening in your body. A yellowish discharge stain in your undies, for example, may be a sign of early pregnancy, but it can also be a sign of infection – always check with your doctor if you’re unsure.
What does it mean if my pregnancy discharge smells?
If you’ve noticed a not-so-pleasant smell coming from your undies or some funky colours in your discharge – it might be time to investigate.
Dr Raewyn shares that a ’normal’ pregnancy discharge should be clear to slightly white and “not overly thick”. She advises that any green or yellowish discharge with an unpleasant ‘fishy’ smell should be discussed with your doctor.
Thrush, a common culprit during pregnancy, could also be behind the scenes causing funky smells. And let’s not forget about bacterial vaginosis. This infection occurs when there’s an overgrowth of a certain bacteria that typically resides in your vagina, causing an imbalance in the bacterial ecosystem. Dr Raewyn explains that this could be the source of that smelly discharge.
How can I manage and avoid smelly discharge while pregnant?
Conditions like bacterial vaginosis and thrush can thankfully be treated with medication, but there’s also some lifestyle changes you can make, especially when you’re pregnant.
Here’s a few tips:
- Opt for loose, breathable clothing – This can help prevent excessive moisture build-up and promote better airflow.
- Switch to bamboo underwear – Consider swapping your regular undies for bamboo underwear for added breathability and comfort.
- Remove any soap residue from your underwear – Soap residue can lead to an increase in discharge, particularly thrush.
- Watch your sugar intake – High sugar levels can increase the risk of developing thrush.
- Avoid douching – Your body has its own natural cleaning mechanisms, so avoid douching. Let your body maintain its delicate balance on its own.
On those days when your discharge is particularly heavy, our range of pregnancy underwear is here to keep you feeling fresh. These specially designed undies offer superior support during moments of heavier-than-normal discharge, thanks to their leak proof absorbency. They’re also ideal for managing things like postpartum bleeding and bladder leaks before and after pregnancy.
Worried about your pregnancy discharge smells? Don’t keep it to yourself – share your concerns with your doctor. They’re trained professionals and can offer the best advice and solutions tailored to your needs.
Get to know what’s happening in your body
Now you’ve got a better idea of what’s considered normal when it comes to discharge and vaginal smells during pregnancy, you can put your mind at ease or check in with your doctor if you have any concerns. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about – it’s probably just your body working its magic.
For more info on all things health, pregnancy and menstruation, check out our blog.