Pregnancy brings many changes with it — some pleasant, and others concerning, to say the least. You’ll hear a lot of women talking about how the pregnancy was the best time of their lives.
Still, more often than not, you’ll hear women complain about pain, nausea, body changes, and other symptoms of pregnancy that aren’t as pleasant as the ever so famous “pregnancy glow.”
Furthermore, if we’re honest here, the “glow” is just sweat that’s a result of your body overheating.
Among the “less glorious” symptoms of pregnancy is the brown discharge.
While any change in discharge seems like a cause for alarm, that’s not necessarily the case in pregnancy. In fact, changes in color, texture, or volume of vaginal discharge are often the first signs that a woman is carrying a child. Thus, there’s no need to panic straight away if you notice brown discharge during pregnancy.
While changes in vaginal discharge can indicate an infection or a complication with the pregnancy — brown discharge can simply be a result of the pregnancy itself.
Normal Discharge and Typical Variations
The average woman knows about leukorrhea. You might not know the name, but you’re relatively familiar with the end result.
Leukorrhea is the clear, white, or thin vaginal discharge.
That’s “normal” discharge that simply comes with having a functional vagina. But, discharge can be colored differently and still be healthy.
Still, there are some instances where worry isn’t without cause:
1. Thick, White Discharge Accompanied by Itching
Thick, white discharge is typical right before or right after your period.
However, if your nether regions are also itchy, then you might have a yeast infection.
Itchiness warrants a trip to your gynecologists, especially if you’re pregnant.
2. Stretchy and Clear Discharge
This type of discharge is healthy while we’re ovulating. It’s the body’s way of telling us “Hey, now’s the right time to make a baby.” So, if you’re already pregnant, chances are, you won’t experience this type of discharge.
3. Watery and Clear Discharge
Again, this type of discharge is normal, and no reason for concern. If you don’t have any other symptoms that accompany it (itching, swelling, etc.), then you can file this type of discharge under “normal occurrence.”
4. Yellow and Green Discharge, Accompanied by a Foul Smell
Whether we’re pregnant or not, yellowy-green discharge is a cause for concern. It’s usually a sign of an infection and more than worth visiting your doctor.
5. Brown Discharge
Finally, brown discharge is relatively common during or after the period, or during pregnancy. Many women experience brown discharge in early pregnancy.
Around the time that a pregnant woman is supposed to get her period, brown discharge is a common occurrence.
The Causes of Brown Discharge During Pregnancy
All changes in discharge usually mean that something’s happening. But, pregnancy changes everything — including vaginal discharge.
Brown discharge is fairly common, but it causes alarm in many women because it looks like blood at first glance. No pregnant woman wants to see blood on their undergarments, right?
Still, pregnancy hormones affect the vagina walls and the production of mucus. That, in turn, makes the vaginal discharge heavier and thicker.
Why Is the Discharge Brown?
Brown spotting and brown discharge strike fear into pregnant women because they resemble blood.
In fact, the brown discharge doesn’t just resemble blood — it’s mucus saturated with old blood. The leftover blood in the uterus comes out and, because it isn’t fresh, it looks brownish. When that happens, women automatically think that there’s something wrong with the baby, or the placenta; that there’s a rupture or anything else that might lead to complications or loss of pregnancy.
What Does Brown Discharge Mean?
Luckily, the brown discharge doesn’t necessarily mean that something’s wrong. There are many reasons for it, most of which aren’t bad.
During pregnancy, our cervix is extra sensitive. The hormonal disbalance and the overall changes that happen during the pregnancy make our cervixes especially susceptible to any stimuli.
Thus, brown discharge can be caused by irritation.
Anything from a pelvic exam to sexual intercourse may be the actual cause. There’s no reason to worry.
Brown discharge isn’t uncommon as you near the end of your pregnancy. It’s usually a tell-tale sign that the labor is nearing.
Most women lose the mucus plug a couple of days before they go into labor due to the softening of the cervix. THIS is a necessary step that prepares the body, the pelvis, and the uterus for birth. During that time, brown discharge is normal — often referred to as the “bloody show.”
3. Potential Pregnancy Complications
Unfortunately, brown discharge can indicate any number of pregnancy complications as well.
It is, however, rare that the brown discharge is the only symptom of any pregnancy complication.
Still, it can be the primary indicator of many issues:
- Placenta issues
- Cervix infections
- Uterine infections
- Ectopic pregnancy
Although there’s no reason to worry simply based on the brown discharge alone, you should still visit your doctor.
The issue becomes urgent if:
- The discharge turns bright red
- There’s excessive bleeding
- The discharge turns grey
- You experience any cramping, tenderness, contractions, or back pain
Brown Discharge During Pregnancy: What Should We Do?
Various activities, including intercourse, can cause brown discharge. If you notice it after intercourse, don’t worry — it’s normal.
There’s no need to worry, as long as the discharge isn’t accompanied by a strong odor, cramping, or itchiness. If it is, you should visit your doctor as soon as possible. If the brown discharge is your only symptom, then just remember to wear a panty liner or a pad to protect your underwear.
Of course, any bleeding or spotting is concerning to pregnant women. After all, you can never be too cautious.
Although brown discharge is more often than not a typical symptom of pregnancy, there’s nothing wrong with visiting your doctor and making sure that everything is alright. This gives you a chance to check up on the baby as well. It’s another chance to see if everything is developing at a rate it should be. One more pelvic exam or an ultrasound won’t do any harm, especially if it brings you peace of mind.
Furthermore, if your doctor finds potential issues, you’ll be in the right spot to take the necessary steps and ensure that your pregnancy isn’t in peril.