Your pregnancy and baby guide

Vaginal discharge in pregnancy

All women, whether they're pregnant or not, have some vaginal discharge starting a year or two before puberty and ending after the menopause.

How much discharge you have changes from time to time. It usually gets heavier just before your period.

Is it normal to have vaginal discharge in pregnancy?

Yes. Almost all women have more vaginal discharge in pregnancy. This is quite normal.

During pregnancy, the increase in discharge helps prevent any infections travelling up from the vagina to the womb.

Towards the end of pregnancy, the amount of discharge increases further. In the last week or so of pregnancy, it may contain streaks of sticky, jelly-like pink mucus.

This is called a "show", and happens when the mucus that's been present in your cervix during pregnancy comes away.

It's a sign that the body is starting to prepare for birth. You may have a few small "shows" in the days before you go into labour.

Read more about the signs that labour has begun.

When to see your midwife or GP

Increased discharge is a normal part of pregnancy, but it's important to keep an eye on it.

Healthy vaginal discharge is usually thin, clear or milky white, and shouldn't smell unpleasant.

Tell your midwife or doctor if:

  • it smells unpleasant or strange
  • you feel itchy or sore
  • you have pain when peeing

These could be symptoms of a vaginal infection.

Contact your midwife or doctor immediately if you have any vaginal bleeding while you're pregnant.

Thrush in pregnancy

The most common infection is thrush, which your doctor can treat easily.

Always talk to your doctor, pharmacist or midwife if you think you have thrush, as there are some thrush medicines you shouldn't use while you're pregnant.

You can help prevent thrush by wearing loose cotton underwear, and some women find it helps to avoid perfumed soap or perfumed bath products.

Find out more about vaginal discharge

Find out about more common pregnancy health problems

Page last reviewed: 28/02/2018
Next review due: 28/02/2021