Vaginal discharge during any stage of pregnancy can be entirely normal. However, how normal it is greatly depends on what color the discharge is. Anytime an expectant woman experiences brown discharge, she may react with alarm and worry. However, in most cases this discharge is normal and nothing about which to worry. Knowing what causes this coloration and why it frequently occurs in pregnancy can put a woman’s mind at ease.
The brown color does in fact come from blood, something that would worry even the calmest of expectant mom. However, as it is brown, the blood does not come from a fresh infection or injury. In fact, the color shows that the blood has aged and perhaps has been in the woman’s vagina or cervix for some time. Even more, the discharge just now be making its way out of the woman’s body, a process that could have been slowed down by the closing of the cervix once the woman’s pregnancy attached to her uterine lining. The discharge itself is relatively harmless, even if it does cause a woman to worry and perhaps rush to her doctor’s office unnecessarily.
However, the discharge could be brown because of irritation to the woman’s cervix. A woman who is pregnant for the first time could experience a brown discharge during pregnancy because of her uterus stretching or because of her cervix being irritated by sexual intercourse. The discharge could also signal an oncoming infection, particularly if the expectant mother begins to bleed more profusely in the coming days or has discharge that turns yellow, gray, or green. If she notices a foul odor or experiences itchiness or swelling in that region, she should also seek the immediate help of her gynecologist or midwife. In most cases, however, brown discharge is a not a sign of pending disaster or miscarriage. Most women have some sort of discoloration with their discharge throughout their pregnancies, particularly women who are pregnant for the first time. As with any physical occurrence, however, a woman should keep watchful eye and report any changes in the discharge, its consistency, color, or odor to her doctor. She should also report any changes with how often it occurs, especially if it happens more than twice or three times per week.
As stated, discharge during pregnancy can be entirely normal. White discharge is in fact very normal once a woman reaches puberty. It is a sign of her sexual reproductive system working normally and can correspond with her monthly cycle, occurring most frequently when she is ovulating. Even after she gets pregnant, however, a woman can still experience white discharge. It can happen when a woman is sexually aroused or after she has been exercising or exerting herself physically.
Alternatively, brown discharge may happen with less frequency during pregnancy, yet also be relatively normal. The discharge is brown because it has been tinted with old blood. The old blood may have come from an injury to a woman’s cervix or from the stretching of her uterus. It can also happen after sexual intercourse because pregnancy hormones make a woman’s cervix more sensitive and fragile. Nonetheless, if this color of discharge continues for more than a week or occurs several times each week for more than a month, a woman should seek medical advice from her doctor. She may have an infection that needs to be treated. She could also have an injury to her cervix that needs to be repaired.
When a pregnant woman has white or brown discharge, she may be tempted to use tampons to stem its flow. However, she should avoid using tampons and even heavy maxi-pads unless otherwise advised by her doctor. She can keep the discharge in check by using a pantyliner and by reporting any significant heavy discharge flow to her doctor immediately. If the discharge becomes water-like or appears to be gushing, she should go immediately to the emergency room. She may have ruptured her waters and be going into early labor.
A brown discharge during pregnancy can happen for a variety of reasons. Most of it occurs because of the level of hormones in a woman’s body. Other times it happens because a woman has exerted herself or has has sexual intercourse. However, discharge that is brown happens during all stages of pregnancy and typically should not be regarded with any amount of alarm. Most of the time, it signals that a woman’s body is functioning as it should and is capable of healing itself from injury or infection.
In fact, sometimes the discharge happens because of an old wound somewhere in the woman’s vagina or cervix. When a woman becomes pregnant, her cervix closes to protect her developing baby. This closing of the cervix stops blood from flowing from the uterus out of the body. However, the build up of hormones combined with the closing of the cervix also slows down old blood from passing out of the vaginal canal. As the old blood from a healing wound or infection makes its way out of the body, a woman may react with alarm and believe that she is miscarrying. In reality, this discharge is nothing more than an old injury or infection healing itself.
Anytime that discharge is accompanied by pain, cramping, heavy flow, odor, or becomes water-like, a woman is advised to see her doctor immediately. She should also see her doctor anytime her discharge causes her to run a fever or develop chills. These symptoms could indicate a serious infection to her kidneys, uterus, or elsewhere. Hormones cause a woman’s body to react in unpredictable ways. She may not be ready to see discharge that by all appearances seems to be bloody. However, this occurrence can be entirely normal, especially when it is not accompanied by other symptoms like fever, pain, or chills. In many cases, the discharge will clear up on its own, allowing her to have a normal and successful pregnancy.