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Vaginal discharge

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. When you're pregnant, it's normal to have more discharge than before.

In all women, healthy vaginal discharge is usually thin, clear or milky white, and shouldn't smell unpleasant.

Non-urgent advice: Call your midwife if you have vaginal discharge and:

  • it smells unpleasant or strange
  • it is green or yellow
  • you feel itchy or sore around your vagina
  • you have pain when you pee

Any of these could be symptoms of a vaginal infection.

Urgent advice: Urgent

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

Is it normal to have vaginal discharge in pregnancy?

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

Thrush in pregnancy

Thrush is an infection that can cause unusual vaginal discharge. if you get thrush when you're pregnant, it can easily be treated - talk to your midwife or doctor.

Thrush can cause:

  • increased vaginal discharge which is usually white (like cottage cheese), and doesn't usually smell
  • itching and irritation around the vagina

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

Coronavirus update

If you're well, it's really important you go to all your appointments and scans for the health of you and your baby.

Hospitals and clinics are making sure it's safe for pregnant women to go to appointments.

If you get symptoms of coronavirus, or you're unwell with something other than coronavirus, speak to your midwife or maternity team. They will advise you what to do.

Find out more about pregnancy and coronavirus

Page last reviewed: 28 February 2018
Next review due: 28 February 2021