What causes yellow discharge during pregnancy, and when should you seek medical advice? Let’s take a look at yellow discharge through the trimesters.
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.
So let’s explore the common causes of yellow pregnancy discharge and what to do when you spot it.
In this article: 📝
- What color discharge is normal in pregnancy?
- What does yellow discharge mean during pregnancy?
- Is yellow discharge a sign of pregnancy?
- Yellow discharge at different points in pregnancy
- What does pregnancy discharge look like?
- How do I stop yellow discharge?
- Should I be worried about yellow discharge?
What color discharge is normal in pregnancy?
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.
Is it normal to have a yellow discharge while pregnant?
So, is yellow discharge normal during pregnancy?
Well… sometimes yes, sometimes no.
At times, discharge may appear to have a yellow tinge when it comes into contact with air ‒ kind of like oxidization.
But it can also be a sign of something else.
If you have yellowish discharge during pregnancy, particularly if it has an unusual odor (compared to your normal discharge), it’s worth paying a visit to your doctor, as it could be a sign of infection.
Even if you have yellow odorless discharge during pregnancy, have a chat with your doctor.
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.
Some common causes of yellow pregnancy discharge include:
Leaking amniotic fluid
If 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.
Definitely call your doctor if you think you’re leaking amniotic fluid.
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.
Can amniotic fluid be yellow?
Yes, while some amniotic fluid is clear, it can also appear yellow or a sort of pale yellow color, too.
And amniotic fluid can also be green or brown, although this is only usually the case if baby has pooped in the womb ‒ yup, that can happen, too.
Can the mucus plug be yellow?
Yes, sometimes the mucus plug can also be yellow or it can be clear.
It’ll look like a sort of blob of mucus, like a thicker discharge, and will be passed in the third trimester, before active labor kicks in.
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!
What infection causes yellow discharge?
Yellow discharge can be a symptom of STIs, like gonorrhea or chlamydia, but it might also could be an infection called trichomoniasis.
If you have bright or dark yellow discharge, a noticeably unpleasant smell to your discharge, pain when peeing, stomach pain, or spotting while pregnant, it’s worth speaking with your doctor as soon as possible.
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 tell-tale ammonia-esque smell.
If you’re worried, wearing a panty liner can help you stay dry and comfortable.
Is yellow discharge a sign of pregnancy?
Does yellow discharge mean pregnancy?
If you’re TTC or you think there’s a chance you might be pregnant but you haven’t taken a pregnancy test yet, yellow discharge could well be an early sign of pregnancy.
But it also could be a sign of infection, regardless of whether you’re pregnant or not.
So if you have any of the following symptoms, speak with your doctor as soon as you can:
- Bright or dark yellow discharge
- Strong, unpleasant smell to discharge
- Stomach pains
- Spotting or light bleeding between periods
Can yellow discharge mean miscarriage?
Not always ‒ particularly if you visit a doctor as soon as you can.
Because yellow discharge in early pregnancy can be a sign of infection, and infections can lead to pregnancy loss, you should visit a doctor ASAP if you notice yellow discharge, just in case.
Yellow discharge at different points in pregnancy
So what can yellow discharge during pregnancy mean for different trimesters?
Well, mostly, it can mean the same things, but it can get a little confusing in the third trimester.
Yellow discharge during pregnancy: first trimester
Yellow discharge may be an early sign of pregnancy, but it could also be a sign of infection.
So if you think you might be pregnant in your first trimester and you notice yellow discharge, speak with your doctor as soon as you can.
Yellow discharge during pregnancy: second trimester
An infection can still strike during the second trimester, and it can still cause harm to you and baby, so if you see yellow discharge in the second trimester, visit your doctor.
Better to be safe, mama.
Yellow discharge during pregnancy: third trimester
Now, third-trimester yellow discharge can be a slightly different story.
While there’s still a risk of infection, and yellow discharge during pregnancy can also be a sign of infection, it could also be a sign that baby’s ready to make their appearance.
So if you’re 36 weeks pregnant and see yellow discharge, make sure your hospital bag is packed, because baby might just be ready to say hello!
It is normal to have yellow discharge before labor?
But if you see yellow discharge at 38 weeks pregnant or later in your third trimester, it might not actually be discharge.
It might be your waters breaking ‒ particularly if it’s watery yellow discharge during pregnancy.
But if you’re at all worried, speak with your doctor.
What does pregnancy discharge look like?
Generally speaking, pregnancy discharge (or leukorrhea) will be clear or milky-white, and perhaps a bit thinner than usual.
You might also notice that there’s more discharge than normal, too ‒ that’s a classic pregnancy symptom, and nothing to worry about.
Is light yellow discharge normal?
Generally, pale yellow discharge during pregnancy is pretty normal.
If it’s during your third trimester, it could be your waters breaking or your mucus plug.
If it’s in your first trimester, it could be caused by a touch of older blood in your uterus or vaginal canal.
But there is a chance that it could be an early sign of an infection, so it’s worth talking to your doctor if you notice any yellow discharge, just in case.
Is yellow-brown discharge while pregnant normal?
Brownish-yellow discharge during pregnancy is usually a sign of infection, so if you notice a darker yellow discharge, book an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
Is greenish-yellow discharge during pregnancy normal?
Just as with brownish-yellow discharge, green-yellow discharge is also usually a sign of infection, so see your doctor as soon as you can.
Is watery yellow discharge during pregnancy normal?
It can be totally normal to get watery yellow discharge during pregnancy, depending on how watery and how yellow it is.
If it’s very watery and pale yellow, it could be your waters breaking or even a bit of pee (nothing to be embarrassed about, mama, it happens to the best of us!).
If it’s thicker and pale yellow, it could be your mucus plug passing, which can be another sign of impending labor.
If it’s a darker yellow and watery or thick, it could be a sign of infection, so pop in to see your doctor as soon as possible.
How do I stop yellow discharge?
While we can’t guarantee that this will keep yellow discharge during pregnancy completely at bay, keeping your vaginal health in check can help prevent infection.
To help avoid infection and keep your vagina healthy during pregnancy, you can:
- Wipe from front to back after using the bathroom.
- Choose underwear made from natural, breathable fabrics, such as cotton.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing. Now’s not the time for skinny jeans, mama.
Should I be worried about yellow discharge?
Generally, no, yellow discharge is often just one of those weird things that can happen during pregnancy.
But every now and then, it could be a sign of infection, which can be harmful to you and baby, so if you notice any yellow discharge during pregnancy, it’s always worth getting it checked out, just in case.
So that’s all there is to know about yellow discharge during pregnancy.
Still have questions? You’re always welcome to ask our moms-to-be or veteran mamas on Peanut what they think.
We’re having the conversation, and you’re not alone, mama.
You’ve got this.