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NOTE: Opinions and advice provided on this website are based on the personal experience of the author, Stacy Quarty. Ms. Quarty in no way claims to be a professional source of medical, psychological or statistical information.

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Vaginal Discharge
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Yeast & Bacterial Infections

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Vaginal Discharge

Q. I woke up at 4:30am and found my underwear to be wet. I'm not sure if I urinated or what. I'm 16 weeks pregnant.
-Anonymous, Michigan

A. It could just be vaginal discharge, which becomes increasing abundant during pregnancy. The discharge may have accumulated in the vagina while you were lying down and then just spilled out into your underwear when you stood up. Sometimes this discharge can be thick and creamy, and sometimes it’s thin and slimy. See the other wet underwear question for more details.

Alternatively, you may be right. It could be urine. This stress incontinence can be common in early and late pregnancy. I’ve lost track of how many times I wet myself during pregnancy.

Practicing Kegels exercises can sometimes help prevent involuntary urine flow. If you find this continues to be a real problem, you may want to resort to the use of sanitary napkins.

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Q. I'm 10-11 weeks pregnant and I'm scared I might have had a miscarriage. A few days ago I went the bathroom, wiped, and saw two big, clear, glue-like globs with white stuff in the middle. Maybe discharge? It's more discharge than I've had before. I should have looked before I flushed to see if there was any blood, but I didn't think of it. It seems like I haven't been urinating as much lately either. I also haven't had morning sickness since then, but I rarely got that anyway. Could I have had a miscarriage? Or is this normal?
-Anonymous, Washington

A. At your stage of pregnancy, it's common for vaginal discharge to increase and even vary in texture and color. This discharge, called leucorrhoea, can be white and creamy, clear and slimy or a combination of the two. (See the other leucorrhoea question on this page for more details.)

As for your other symptoms, at two months the progesterone in a woman's body can level off a little and may give you relief (albeit temporary!) from morning sickness, frequent urination, tender breasts, and fatigue. Don't worry, there will be many more symptoms coming your way in the weeks to come, as friendly reminders of you maternal condition!

If you experience cramping, bleeding and/or a high fever, do consult your doctor ASAP. None of these symptoms definitely signify a miscarriage, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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Q. I am close to six months pregnant, and I have been noticing a lot of discharge lately. This is my first pregnancy. It happens before I have to urinate and is white and lotion-like. The discharge stays the same for a few hours, but then turns to a slimy, clear liquid. I also have endometriosis, so I don't know if that has something to do with it.
-Anonymous, Canada

A. I don't think your endometriosis has anything to do with the discharge you are experiencing. The discharge sounds like a very common symptom of pregnancy: leucorrhoea. Sometimes it is white and creamy, while other times it comes out clear and slimy (very similar to ovulation discharge, if you are familiar with that). Leucorrhoea usually does increase in volume and frequency as the pregnancy progresses. See the "Wet Underwear" question on this page for my embarrassing experience with leucorrhoea.

Q. I am eight weeks pregnant. I have been noticing a light brownish color on the toilet paper the last few days. Then today, there were a couple of small, brown, sticky pieces on the t.p. I am in no pain. What is going on?
-Lucy, Minnesota

A. The brownish color sounds like blood. Signs of blood during pregnancy do set off alarm bells. But, before you get yourself in a panic, do know that light bleeding is common during pregnancy, especially within the first trimester. As a matter of fact, it happened to me with both of my pregnancies.

During my first pregnancy, I had a small amount of brownish blood, like you, that most resembled the end of a period. During the second pregnancy, I had a big bleeding episode of bright, red blood that lasted almost as long as a full-length period. That was scary, but both pregnancies turned out fine.

In any event, I do advise that you call your doctor immediately if you are experiencing any amount, or any color, of blood. It’s always best to be cautious.

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Q. I'm just 4 months pregnant and I find my underwear are constantly wet. I am not peeing myself (I think). What is going on?
-Karen, Connecticut

A. It sounds as if you have a completely normal case of pregnancy's vaginal discharge. It's call leucorrhoea and it does get heavier as the pregnancy progresses.

There are a few things you can do to alleviate the discomfort, wetness, stains and yeast infections caused by the discharge: Try to wear dark colored or patterned underwear so stains won't show; Avoid tight, crotch-suffocating clothing (unless, of course, you want to lay out the welcome mat for yeast infections); Wear only cotton underwear and change pairs frequently as they become moist.

Eventually, you may have to use a sanitary napkin, a panty liner or tissues to absorb the increasingly abundant discharge. (Don't worry, in the later months of pregnancy, abundant discharge will seem like a minor blip compared to all of the other symptoms you will be experiencing!)

During my first pregnancy, I found that panty liners tended to trap in moisture and give me yeast infections. I resorted to the use of toilet paper. Every time I went to the john, I would insert a fresh, neatly-folded rectangle in my underwear.

By my seventh month, I was using about ten rectangles a day.

After inserting rectangle number four one afternoon that month, I took a break from work and went to the bank.

It was a Friday, and the long line of people with paychecks snaked out the door. When it was finally my turn to approach the desk and deposit my check, I felt dozens of impatient eyes burning holes in my back. Suddenly, the rectangle of t.p. shimmied down my leg and out of my pants. A man in a gray, pinstriped suit stepped out of line and in one chivalrous movement, picked up the rectangle and handed it to me. I accepted it graciously and quickly folded over the stained tissue.

I stifled my hysteria, exited the bank and bumped into a girlfriend in the parking lot. I could hardly contain myself enough to relay the story of what had really dropped onto the ground!

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Q. I am 11 weeks pregnant and have noticed a yellow discharge when I wipe, and only when I wipe. I have either clear or white discharge otherwise. Is this normal?
-Anonymous, Michigan

A. Unless you notice burning, itchiness and/or a rotten smell, I don't think you have anything to be concerned about. It's normal for vaginal discharge to have a little yellow cast to it. It probably looks more yellow against the white t.p.

Q. I am 18 weeks pregnant with my first pregnancy. When I wiped myself recently I saw a dime-sized "clump" that had a clear-to-yellowish tint, almost like a ball of rubber cement glue rubbed into a ball, but not as firm. I am worried. Could this could be my mucous plug?
-Anonymous, New York

A. The mucous plug is usually much bigger and thicker than what you have described. My friend Karen and her husband had a huge fight when she lost her mucous plug. She thought he had missed the wastebasket and spit into the laundry. It turned out the blob in her underwear was not a loogie of his after all.

What you are probably experiencing is leucorrhoea, which can vary in texture and color. (See the other leucorrhoea questions for more details.)

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Q. I'm 36 weeks and I'm beginning to have a leakage of fluid. What does it mean?
-Anonymous, California

A. Your water (amniotic sac) may have broken. You should report this to your doctor immediately. If this is the case, your doctor will probably want your baby delivered within the next 48 hours to avoid infection. Once your water breaks, it usually triggers labor within 24 hours.

If your membranes have not ruptured, you may just be experiencing incontinence—involuntary leakage of urine. It's very common for pregnant women to have this late in pregnancy, as mounting pressure on the bladder can be an issue. I cannot tell you how many times I wet my pants while sneezing or coughing! Practicing Kegels exercises does help... a little.

Q. I am six months pregnant and I have been getting yeast infections about every other week. Why is this? I also have a yellow discharge that I think is from the yeast infection, but I’m not sure. This discharge itches and has an odor to it. Is this part of the yeast infection or, if not, what could this be? How can I get rid of it?
-Anonymous, Maryland

A. I think your discharge is associated with the yeast infection. Unfortunately, frequent yeast infections are very common during pregnancy, especially late pregnancy. The moisture, heat and abundant blood supply in the vagina lay out the welcome mat for yeast infections.

In addition to any treatment your doctor may prescribe, you may try: taking warm (not hot) baths twice a day while using a gentle, hypo-allergenic soap to wash; changing your underwear frequently as they become moist; wearing only loose-fitting, cotton underwear; and when you can, don't wear underwear at all. Let your vagina get a good airing out.

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Q. The other night my husband and I were having sex. When I was guiding him in, I noticed there was fluid coming out of me. It felt as though it was urine, but it did not smell as such. Is it possible for my water to leak, and, if so, should I call my OB/GYN?
-Anonymous, Colorado

A. If you are in your third trimester, then it's possible you are leaking amniotic fluid. If this is the case, you should contact your doctor ASAP. If your doctor determines that it is amniotic fluid, you should deliver within the next 48 hours or so to avoid possible infection.

If it's not amniotic fluid, then it could just be extra lubrication from sexual stimulation. The vagina works overtime during pregnancy, producing plenty of vaginal fluids. This extra vaginal lubrication can be especially abundant during sex. Sometimes those big wet spots on the sheets are not just from the man!

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Disclaimer: This web site, Frankly Pregnant: The Reality Site of Pregnancy, and the book it represents, Frankly Pregnant: A Candid Week-by-Week Guide to the Unexpected Joys, Raging Hormones, and Common Experiences of Pregnancy, in no way claim to be sources for expert medical or professional advice of any kind.

©2006 Frankly Pregnant: The Reality Site of Pregnancy, by Stacy Quarty. All rights reserved.

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