White discharge is a fairly common occurrence for a woman but for first-time mother Chitra Rawal, it became a cause of concern when she started having more of the white discharge during pregnancy in second trimester.
Chitra decided to discuss this with Dr. Payal Chaudhary, Consultant Obstetrician at Sitaram Bhartia Hospital, Delhi.
Why Do You See a White Discharge During Pregnancy in the Second Trimester?
“There are many possible causes of having thick white discharge in the second trimester of pregnancy. Most of the time it is normal, but it could also indicate something serious. So it is good that you didn’t keep your concerns to yourself and came for a checkup,” said Dr. Payal.
The most common reason why you might experience increased white discharge during pregnancy in second trimester is leucorrhoea. It is a normal part of pregnancy and happens to many women. In fact, this is the same white discharge you might have seen before your periods. The only difference is this time it is thicker and more in amount.
“Leucorrhoea is a thick white discharge with a mild smell. It is made up of secretions from the cervix and vagina,” said Dr. Payal.
“When you’re pregnant, the estrogen production in your body increases causing a greater flow of blood to your vagina. More mucus is produced from your cervix glands as a result. This then comes out of your vagina as a white discharge.”
This white discharge is important because it helps protect your developing baby by maintaining a healthy balance of helpful bacteria in your birth canal and vaginal area.
2 Yeast Infection:
If you experience vaginal itching and a burning sensation during urination along with a thick, white discharge resembling cottage cheese, then it might be the sign of a yeast infection in your vagina.
Yeast infection is common in women but its chances of occurring increase during pregnancy.
“During pregnancy, hormonal changes disrupt the pH balance of the vagina causing yeast infection,” explained Dr. Payal.
Chitra was relieved when she got to know that it is not dangerous and doesn’t harm the baby.
She further asked, “what are the other causes of white discharge during pregnancy in second trimester?”
3 Sexually Transmitted Infections:
“Sexually Transmitted Infections are bacterial or viral infections transmitted through genital, oral or anal sex. It causes a yellow or white discharge but with a foul smell and you might also experience pain during sex and urination,” elaborated Dr. Payal.
Sexually Transmitted Infections are harmful to you and your baby and hence, require immediate treatment. The most common STI is gonococcal infection.
In most cases, these infections can be treated with antibiotics.
“Whenever you notice that your white discharge has a foul smell or is associated with itching, consult your doctor immediately,” advised Dr. Payal.
4 Bacterial Vaginosis:
As the name suggests, Bacterial Vaginosis is caused by an imbalance in the normal bacteria existing in a woman’s vagina. It is unclear what causes the imbalance.
“Bacterial vaginosis is a serious concern during pregnancy. It leads to an increased risk of preterm birth or miscarriage thus needs immediate medical attention,” remarked Dr. Payal.
After understanding all the possible causes of white discharge during pregnancy in second trimester, Chitra realised that since her discharge was white in colour without a foul smell or any other unusual symptom, she was just experiencing leucorrhoea which is normal in second trimester.
This article has been written with inputs from Dr. Payal Chaudhary, who has over 15 years of experience as a Gynecologist with focus on urogynecology conditions like urinary incontinence, stress incontinence, prolapsed uterus and other bladder problems
Dr. Payal Chaudhary, MBBS, Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi (2000), MD Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi (2005), Observership Minimally-Invasive Surgery, Magee Women Hospital, Pittsburgh
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