How to Stop Brown Discharge During Pregnancy? What to Do?
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It is common for women to have small amounts of brown discharge during pregnancy and generally aren’t a cause for concern. It’s the body’s method of keeping the vagina hygienic and infection-free. However, it may be because of other issues, like infections, pH changes, or cervical dilation going on in a woman’s body.
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In the early stage of pregnancy, light-coloured, mucus-like discharge in scant amounts as usual. Generally, there is nothing to worry about, but dark discharge with a foul odour may be the signs of some serious concerns.
No matter what, be sure to share your findings with your obstetrician. The doctor will perform the procedure of assessing you and order tests to determine the cause of the discharge, followed by the appropriate treatment.
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Normal Vs. Abnormal Brown Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy
In the early stages of pregnancy, small amounts of brown discharge ranging from fluid to mucus-like consistency are typical. It is also usual to have some dark discharge following sexual intercourse. But it is considered abnormal discharge if you notice a foul smell, greenish or yellowish tint, burning, or itching sensation.
You should not ignore the symptoms like vaginal itching, foul odour, and cramping accompanying brown discharge. While these signs may not always indicate something serious, it is advisable to be cautious and contact your doctor.
If you experience a dark brown discharge during pregnancy that resembles coffee grounds, report it to your obstetrician immediately as it may indicate loss of old blood. If your discharge is heavy and brown with a few streaks of blood near the end of your pregnancy, it may be a mucus plug, which indicates that you will go into labour soon.
Leading Causes For Brown Vaginal Discharge
There are many reasons why brown vaginal discharge could occur.
1. Brown discharge may occur when the pH of your vagina fluctuates. It is usually harmless since it lasts for only a few days and resolves independently.
2. Brown discharge in sparse amounts can also occur in pregnant women, particularly after performing any physical activity such as working out, climbing stairs with shopping bags, or moderate-level house chores like cleaning.
3. However, it is essential to note whether the discharge is dark, smells foul, or causes any burning or itching because these symptoms may indicate a more severe problem, such as:
- Infections and STIs: Infections like sexually transmitted infections, in which pregnant women are at increased risk. Some diseases, such as gonorrhoea or chlamydia, may not show symptoms in the start stages. Sometimes, possible symptoms include pain with urination, vaginal discharge, pelvic pressure, and spotting between periods.
- Possibility of miscarriage: Vaginal spotting or bleeding is generally the first indication of a miscarriage. Immediately call your doctor if you have bleeding, which may be accompanied by abdominal pain during pregnancy. However, bleeding during early pregnancy is not necessarily a bad sign— up to one in four pregnant women have some spotting or bleeding at this time, and most of these pregnancies don’t result in miscarriage.
- Ectopic pregnancy: Another possible cause of bleeding or brown spotting during pregnancy is an ectopic pregnancy. It happens when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, often in a fallopian tube. The blood may be brown or red, like dried blood, and it may be continuous or intermittent, heavy or light. Because ectopic pregnancy can be dangerous to mother and baby, it’s essential to identify the early signs such as pelvic or abdominal pain, shoulder pain, and vaginal spotting and consult the doctor to get the treatment as soon as possible.
- Cervical Cancer: In extremely rare cases, the brown discharge could signify cervical cancer if it’s accompanied by symptoms including painful intercourse, heavy or prolonged periods, bleeding between periods, unusual weight loss, or weakness. By having regular Pap smears and gynecologic care, cervical cancer can be prevented and detected early.
- Molar pregnancy: In Molar pregnancy, a fertilized egg develops into growth instead of an embryo. Because you may still have typical pregnancy symptoms initially, it’s essential to contact your doctor if you experience bleeding. The blood may be a brownish or bright red discharge, intermittent or continuous, light or heavy. It may start at six weeks into your pregnancy or as late as 12 weeks. You may also have severe abdominal cramping, nausea and vomiting, and abdominal swelling.
- Placental Problems/ Placenta Previa: In later pregnancy, brown discharge is commonly caused by placental abruption or bleeding beneath the placenta. It happens when the placenta splits from the uterus’ internal wall. The fetus may receive less oxygen and nutrients as a result.
- Implantation Bleeding: Typically, 1-2 weeks after fertilization, the egg is implanted. Additionally, this occurs approx a week after ovulation and a couple of days before a woman’s monthly period. While implantation occurs, the embryo’s adhesion to the uterine wall may cause some of the nearby blood vessels to collapse, causing light spotting. As the body flushes out the old blood, it may generate a light brown discharge during pregnancy.
Large amounts of dark discharge or heavy bleeding, especially in later pregnancy, may indicate complications such as premature delivery or rupture of the amniotic sac. It’s essential to consult your obstetrician whenever you notice dark discharge, even in small amounts. They will likely perform an ultrasound to ensure your health and the baby’s.
How to Stop Brown Discharge During Pregnancy
If an infection is confirmed, you can start the treatment by consulting your doctor and using medication like antifungals for treating a yeast infection or antibiotics for treating a sexually transmitted infection. However, your doctor may recommend rest and avoiding any arduous activity if you do not have any infection.
No matter why brown discharge occurs, You could do the following things to manage brown discharge during pregnancy:
- Avoid using soaps with moisturizing cream or antibacterial/antifungal agents.
- Ensure that your underwear fabric is light, loose, and made of cotton
- Avoiding the use of panty liners
- Consult your gynaecologist before performing vaginal douching
- Avoid the use of softeners or bleach on underwear.
- Wash your underwear with mild soap and water
- Make sure you do not wash your genital area more than twice a day since this can decrease the natural-occurring bacteria that protect you from infection.
- Eating foods high in iron and calories rich in nutrients will support a healthy placenta, which is a primary contributor to brown discharge during pregnancy.
- Avoid sexual activity or inserting anything into the vagina while pregnant, as it can cause cervical irritation or injury, hormonal changes, and infections, which are leading causes of brown discharge.
Is Brown Discharge A Sign of Pregnancy?
Brown discharge may signify pregnancy, but it isn’t always the possibility. Menstrual blood can vary in color depending on the cycle day and the flow of the woman. For example, in the last days of menstruation, the discharge becomes more concentrated and darker in colour because the menstrual flow usually slows, and it takes longer for the blood to travel.
Although you may suspect pregnancy if your period is a late or missed period, dark discharge may indicate early or incomplete shedding of the endometrium. You should, however, have a thorough examination by a doctor.
Brown Discharge After Giving Birth – What Does it Mean?
During pregnancy, your body undergoes a large number of changes. And such alterations don’t end when you give birth. You may continue to experience certain symptoms for several days or weeks after giving birth because your body requires time to heal. This vaginal discharge is one such symptom.
After a vaginal delivery, you experience vaginal discharge called lochia. It smells musty and stale, just like period blood. Lochia is a dark crimson color for the first three days following delivery. It’s normal to have a few blood clots no bigger than a plum in size. The hue of the lochia will turn more liquid and pinkish to brownish from the fourth to the tenth day following delivery.
During pregnancy, it’s normal to have more vaginal discharge because your body produces more estrogen, which signals the vagina to produce more discharge. Brown vaginal discharge is usually not a matter of concern if it happens in early pregnancy. But if it happens along with other symptoms, such as foul odor, itching, discomfort, etc., it may be a point of concern. Many causes could lead to brown vaginal discharge, such as implantation bleeding, hormonal changes, infection or sexually transmitted disease, cervical irritation or injury, and placental problems like placenta previa. So to identify whether you have any underlying condition causing brown discharge, you must contact a doctor if you notice a brown discharge accompanied by other symptoms. It is better to consult a doctor even if you don’t see any other signs because it is always better to be safe. You should also take good care of yourself and follow a healthy diet to manage and prevent any complications.
Frequently Asked Questions
Avoid heavy exercise and sex, maintain good hygiene and follow a healthy diet to manage and prevent brown discharge during pregnancy.
Do not take over-the-counter medications, as you do not know the reason for the discharge. Consult your doctor, and they will prescribe the medication accordingly.
The risks of brown discharge during pregnancy include miscarriage, placenta issues, ectopic pregnancy, and cervix or uterus infection.
Yes, brown discharge can be a sign of preterm labor later in pregnancy but before the 37th week.
Brown discharge during pregnancy could lead to miscarriage, premature delivery, and health risks for the baby.
The short-term effect of brown discharge is pelvic pain, discomfort during sex, and pain when urinating. The long-term effects of brown discharge depend on the underlying condition.
The brown discharge during the second trimester may signify a miscarriage.