Notice any of these three symptoms in your underwear lately? Here’s what you need to know about spotting, bleeding and discharge for pregnant women.

There’s no doubt that your pregnant body has been going through a lot of physical changes, even as early as conception. Aside from the changes you may have noticed in your energy levels, skin, weight or appetite, you may have also observed differences in your reproductive cycle.
 

Of course, when you are pregnant, it is expected that your period isn’t going to come again in nine months. But what does it mean when you start noticing different kinds of discharge in your underwear during pregnancy?

Spotting

One common symptom some women may experience during the first stage of pregnancy is spotting. Spotting is defined as a lighter flow of menstrual bleeding (sometimes even just a few drops), usually colored light pink or brown.

First of all, there’s no need to panic! Approximately 20% of women experience this during their first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

 

Also, a common reason for first trimester spotting is implantation bleeding. This occurs due to the fertilized egg attaching to the lining of the uterus.

When you begin spotting, even if it is fairly normal for first trimester pregnancies, it is strongly advised to visit a trusted medical professional for advice on how to manage this symptom and ensure a continued healthy pregnancy. Some of these tips may include longer bed rest, frequent naps, less strenuous chores, limited physical activity, and elevation of feet when possible.

However, what happens if the spotting becomes more than just a light flow of blood?

Bleeding

When the flow of blood becomes as strong as a regular menstrual period, it is normal to feel a bit scared. Common fears of bleeding are miscarriage (which comes with strong lower abdomen cramps) or an ectopic pregnancy, which is when the fertilized embryo implants outside of the uterus and into the fallopian tube instead, causing it to burst as the embryo grows. Cervix changes may also be a reason (since extra blood flows to this part during pregnancy), or a vaginal infection.

Again, there’s no need to panic—bleeding does not necessarily indicate right away that it is a failed pregnancy. There are various reasons as to why bleeding during pregnancy occurs, which is why visiting your obstetrician right away to know is urged.

If you notice bleeding, the first thing you should do is to wear a pad to keep track of how much you’re bleeding and the color and consistency of the blood. Your doctor will need this kind of information.

Discharge

Sometimes, an odorless or mild-smelling, milky white, clear or sticky discharge is what appears in your underwear instead. This is called leukkorhea, and is normal during pregnancy. This is the result of an increased production in estrogen and a greater blood flow to the vaginal area. More specifically, it is a mix of the secretions of your cervix and vagina, plus old cells from your vagina’s walls, and normal bacteria.

This is usually nothing to worry about, but if you think it smells unusual or it starts to comes with pain, itching or soreness in the vaginal area, visit your doctor immediately to see if you may have contracted a vaginal infection and how best to treat it.

When you first see any of these three symptoms, the best thing to do is to relax and book an appointment with your trusted doctor. Let the fact that you are not alone calm you down, and the reassurance that medical care will help you through any of your pregnancy symptoms keep you hopeful and relaxed.