Yellow Discharge During Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

It is common for a woman to have an increasing white vaginal discharge while pregnant. But when the discharge is yellow or green in color more attention needs to be paid to find out why this is happening. It could mean you have a vaginal infection or nothing to worry about.

A watery yellow discharge is normal in later pregnancy. But a thick or clumpy yellow discharge whether in early pregnancy or late pregnancy that is itchy is usually an infection .

If you have a yellow watery discharge in the first trimester or early pregnancy see your doctor immediately. The doctor would determine if this is leucorrhea or not.

A light yellow watery non-itchy or smelly discharge is common in 3rd trimester. 

What does yellow discharge mean?

A discharge that is yellow is usually a sign that something is wrong. 

A normal vagina discharge is clear, white or off-white in color. It may turn slightly yellow or grayish in color. It has no odor and it is not itchy.

Any form thick or clumpy yellow discharge that is smelly or itchy is a sign of vagina infection or std.

A yellow vaginal discharge ​may be caused by yeast infection(thrush), Bacteria Vaginosis, or by sexually transmitted diseases like Trichomoniasis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea.

I'm pregnant and have yellow discharge is this normal?

A whitish discharge is common in pregnancy and this is known as Leukorrhea. But a yellow discharge may mean you have an infection.

It is important that you see a doctor immediately, if you see an abnormal discharge while pregnant.

What are the Causes of Yellow mucus discharge while pregnant?

Here are the common reasons for yellow discharge while pregnant:

1. Estrogen Dominance or high estrogen

Estrogen is one of the most important female sex hormones. It is what makes you a woman. It helps to regulate the female menstrual cycle.It is produced at the ovaries, fat cells and adrenal glands.

Having high level of estrogen and little or no progesterone to balance it out can lead to excessive vaginal discharge and yeast infection.

Estrogen dominance is a medical condition, where a woman may have deficient, normal or excessive estrogen but has little or no progesterone to balance its effect in the body.

Yeast infection is common in women who have high level of estrogen including women who are pregnant.

Also women taking estrogen birth control pills are at high risk of developing ​yeast infection.

2. Vagina Yeast Infection

Yeast infection also known as vaginal thrush is a common cause of yellowish discharge in pregnancy. It is caused by a fungus called candida yeast. Every woman has candida yeast in their vagina. It lives in the vagina alongside bacteria(lactobacilli).

But due to some circumstances, the candida yeast multiplies leading to an over-growth in the number of the candia present in the vagina. This overgrowth is what is known as yeast infection.

Yeast infection can be found in other areas of the body such as skin, mouth and gut.

Other symptoms of vaginal yeast infection are:

  • Intense itching and irritation of the vaginal opening and area​
  • Burning sensation when peeing or having sex
  • Odourless or mild smell​
  • Thick clumpy discharge that looks like cottage -cheese
  • could be whitish gray in color
  • Redness or soreness of the vulva

If you are pregnant and you experience any of this symptoms listed above, see the Doctor immediately. The Doctor would prescribe the right medication for pregnant women for you. When pregnant avoid taking over the counter medications.

3. Bacteria Vaginosis

Around 10-30% of women experience bacteria vaginosis while pregnant.

BV is an infection in women caused by the overgrowth of the bacteria in the vagina. Just like yeast is present in the vagina, bacteria is also natural present in the vagina. Bacteria infection occurs when there is an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria in the vagina.

The most common symptom of bacteria vaginosis is vaginal odor or a fishy smell coming from the vagina. The smell is more prominent after sex or during period.  

See a doctor immediately, if you have a discharge with odor during pregnancy. The Doctor or sexual health team will perform a swab test by taking samples of fluid from your vagina. The sample is placed under a microscope to find out what bacteria are present on the swab. 

BV is a treatable vaginal infection. Antibiotics (metronidazole) is the most prescribed tablet or cream used in treating BV.

4. Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is a common sexually transmitted disease caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis.

Pregnant women with trichomoniasis are at higher risk of preterm birth or having babies with low birth weight.

Not all women with trich have symptoms. The Symptoms of Trichomoniasis are:

  • Greenish or yellowish vaginal discharge
  • Foul smelling vaginal discharge
  • Frothy vaginal discharge
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Spotting after intercourse
  • Painful urination
  • Painful intercourse
  • Red, itchy vulva or vagina

If you experience any of this symptom during pregnancy see a doctor as soon as possible.

Pregnant women with Trichomoniasis are usually given oral metronidazole. Oral metronidazole is a safe drug during pregnancy.

You partner should also be treated as Trich is a sexually transmitted disease.

5. Chlamydia

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacteria chlamydia trachomatis. It can be passed to babies during child birth if not treated.

Chlamydia discharge in women may be milky white or yellow. Other symptoms of Chlamydia are : burning sensation when urinating.

A test is carried out during pregnancy to determine if chlamydia is present. ​

Your doctor will prescribe the best antibiotics for you to treat the infection. Avoid taking over the counter medication in pregnancy.

6. Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease that is caused by a bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria.

Women with gonorrhea in pregnancy are at a high risk of miscarriage and preterm birth.

One of the symptoms of g​onorrhea is a yellowish discharge. Men with gonorrhea also have a discharge that is yellow on their penis that is accompanied by itching and burning sensation.

The symptoms of gonorrhea are:

  • abnormal vaginal discharge, which may be green or yellow in color.  And thin or watery in consistency.
  • A painful or a burning sensation when urinating
  • Cramps in the lower abdominal area 
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding between periods, heavier periods and bleeding after sex (this is less common)

Talk to your doctor if you have any of this symptoms. The doctor will be able to prescribe the right anti-biotics for you

Is Yellow Pregnancy Discharge a sign of Pregnancy?

It is normal to have a vaginal secretion that is thick white or milky white during pregnancy.

But a yellow discharge whether in early pregnancy or late pregnancy should be given more attention.

If the discharge is itchy or has a smell, then it is an infection such as yeast of bacteria vaginosis. It could also be a sexually transmitted disease such as Trichomoniasis, Gonorrhea or chlamydia. Any abnormal yellow or greenish discharge should be treated as soon as possible. This is to avoid passing the std or infections to the baby. 

Abnormal discharge caused by a bacteria infection could also lead to miscarriage or preterm birth.

Yellow Discharge and Itching during Pregnancy?

A yellow discharge that is itchy and smelly is a big symptom of trichomoniasis. Trichomoniasis is a thick, thin or frothy secretion that is accompained by itching and unpleasant fishy smell.

yellow odorless discharge during pregnancy

Yeast infection: If your discharge is itchy but not odor, you may have yeast infection. Yeast infection is characterised by the intense itching but a mild or no smell discharge.

Yellowish Pregnancy Discharge First Semester

First trimester vaginal discharge is usually creamy(light yellow), milky or thick white in color. And does not cause any itching, irritation, or discomfort. It also does not have any unpleasant smell.

If your discharge causes vaginal itching or fishy or rotten meat smell. Then visit a docto​r has this may be a sign of infection.

Infections left untreated in pregnancy, may lead to miscarriage, premature or preterm birth.

yellowish pregnancy discharge third semester

In the third trimester of pregnancy, you may start to see a yellow watery discharge but it shouldn't be excessive to wet your pant. 

If you notice a gush of fluid trickling down your legs, this might be that your water has broken. Call for the Doctor immediately.

Treatment of yellow pregnancy discharge

Treatment of abnormal discharge in pregnant women should be carried out with care. 

To diagnosis the cause of an abnormal discharge, the Doctor or clinician would perform an internal examination. This examination includes performing a swab test by taking a sample of vaginal fluid or secretion from the vagina. 

Medical Treatments

Yeast Infection: Doctors usually recommend vaginal creams and suppositories during pregnancy. Other forms of medications such as the use of Diflucan has not yet been proven to be safe to use during pregnancy.

It may take 10-14 days for the yeast infection to go away when pregnant.​

Avoid using over the counter anti-fungal creams during pregnancy. Even though you have had yet infection in the past.

Bacteria Vaginosis: BV is treated in pregnancy with the use of anti-botics. Clindamycin or Metronidazole.

If Bacteria vaginosis is left untreated in pregnancy, it may lead to premature birth or preterm birth.

Trichomoniasis: Trichomoniasis is treated with Oral anti-biotics(metronidazole) in pregnancy. Your partner should also get treated whether he has symptoms of STD or not.

If Trich is left untreated it could lead to preterm birth, premature rupture of membrane or a baby with a low weight at birth.

Gonorrhea: Gonorrhea in pregnancy can be treated with Ceftriaxone and spectinomycin. They are both safe and effective to use.

Chlamydia: Chlamydia is treated with common antibiotics such as azithromycin and amoxicillin. They are both safe to use in Pregnancy.

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