Written by Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD
Once you are pregnant, you may notice that your vaginal discharge has increased. The discharge may be thick or thin, scanty or profuse.
Sometimes, you may find a little thick mucus sticking to your panties. Or the discharge may be so much as to make your panties wet and you you may need to use vaginal pads for protection.
Increase in the amount of vaginal discharge in pregnancy is perfectly normal especially in early pregnancy .
The high level of estrogen necessary to maintain pregnancy stimulates the glands in the cervix. These respond by producing more mucous.
The glands in the walls of the vagina also responds to the circulating hormones to secrete fluids to keep the vagina wet and lubricated. These can leak out to some extent as vaginal discharge.
Vaginal secretions may be safely ignored unless there are certain signs of abnormalities.
Look at your secretions carefully - What colour are they? White or creamy? Or are they brown, red, greenish or blackish? The color of the vaginal discharge is an important indicator of infection.
Is there any smell - a foul or a fishy odour? Is there any associated itching? Is your vagina or other parts of the external genital organs red and swollen?
If you notice any of these conditions, visit your gynecologist for a checkup. You may be suffering from infections that can affect your baby. Or if your discharge is dark brown, red or blackish, there may even be blood mixed with your discharge.
A reddish or brownish colour usually mean the presence of blood in the discharge and indicates bleeding somewhere in the reproductive tract. A red colour points to fresh blood while a brown colour means old denatured blood.
The causes of bleeding in pregnancy is different in early pregnancy and in late pregnancy
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In late pregnancy, there are three main causes of bleeding.
A white or creamy discharge is normal throughout pregnancy if there is no additional symptoms like itching or swelling or a foul odor. If it is excessive, you can use pads for protection. If addiitonal symptoms are present , it may be due to vaginal infections which need to be treated.
It is believed that acute trichomonas infections can cause premature labour or premature rupture of membranes, but this belief has not been confirmed.
Treatment: Treatment of this infection is by metronidazole tablets. But metronidazole given orally in the first trimester of pregnancy can cause fetal congenital abnormalities.
So, it is better to take vaginal tablets of metronidazole as they are not much absorbed through this route and acts directly on the organisms.
Treatment: If asymptomatic, no treatment is necessary. If it causes profuse, irritating discharge however, miconazole vaginal cream 2% should be used thrice daily.
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