If you’re used to tracking your menstrual cycles and fertility signs, you’re probably very familiar with keeping an eye on your discharge. From blood to “egg whites” to “milky white,” you’ve seen it all…. But what about yellow discharge during pregnancy? Hmmm – that’s a new one.
In this article, we explore the common causes of yellow pregnancy discharge and what to do when you spot it.
Pregnancy discharge: What’s normal?
Right from the first trimester, you’ll probably experience clear or milky white pregnancy discharge. This will have a thin consistency and will be either odorless or mild-smelling. It’s caused by the increase in your estrogen levels during pregnancy, and you’re likely to see more and more of it as you head toward your third trimester.
What does yellow discharge mean during pregnancy?
If you see your discharge change from white to yellow during pregnancy, there might be a simple explanation, or it could suggest a problem that needs to be sorted out. Give your doctor a call if you’re at all concerned.
Some common causes of yellow pregnancy discharge include:
Leaking amniotic fluid
When you notice yellow discharge in the third trimester, it could mean you’re leaking amniotic fluid. That’s the stuff that your baby has been happily swimming around in while growing inside you.
Amniotic fluid is very thin and watery in consistency, either odorless or slightly sweet-smelling, and can be light yellow in color. It leaks out when the membrane sac is broken open or “ruptures,” which is what happens when your water breaks before or during labor.
Definitely call your doctor if you think you’re leaking amniotic fluid. After 37 weeks, this could mean that labor is starting soon - yay! Before 37 weeks, leaking amniotic fluid is called “preterm premature rupture of membrane,” and often needs to be treated by your doctor so that you don’t go into labor before your baby is ready.
And because pregnancy is never simple, yellow discharge during pregnancy can also be the sign of an infection, especially if it’s accompanied by a strong smell, discomfort, or stinging. Common infections include yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis which are caused by an imbalance of bacteria.
The good news is that both are relatively easy to treat with medication or antibiotics. So give your healthcare provider a call as soon as you can and they’ll be able to help you figure things out. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner you can knock that infection on its head and get back to enjoying being a mama-to-be!
Leaking urine (incontinence)
If you experience a light yellow discharge during pregnancy, there’s a possibility that what you’re seeing is actually a little bit of pee. Leaking urine (aka incontinence) is a common-yet-slightly-annoying side effect of pregnancy. It can be caused by changes to your hormones, pressure on your bladder from your growing baby, or a UTI (urinary tract infection).
Usually, the leaking will happen only every so often, in quite small amounts, and you might be able to detect that telltale smell. If you’re worried, wearing a panty liner can help you stay dry and comfortable.
Maintaining good vaginal health during pregnancy: 5 tips
To help avoid infection and keep your vagina in healthy during pregnancy, you can:
- It goes without saying, but wipe from front to back after using the bathroom.
- Choose underwear made from natural, breathable fabrics, such as cotton.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing. (We give you permission! Bring on the kaftans!)