Chances are that talking about your vaginal discharge is not a topic that likes to be discussed at the kitchen table. This is because vaginal discharge is considered taboo. And somewhere we can understand where it comes from, because it makes many women insecure. But it shouldn't be that way! Secretion has an important function for the female body and it tells a woman about her health. As the title says, it speaks its own language. So in this blog we try to teach you to listen to it.
What is vaginal discharge?
Many a woman is certainly familiar with it. Are they happy with it? Chances are they are not. Is it human? It certainly is! Vaginal discharge is a combination of fluid and mucus produced by the cervix (The Obstetrician, s.d.). The secretion protects the vagina from germs and also serves to cleanse the vagina. So should we be happy about it? Yes, actually we should (Nutricia for You, 2021)!
Vaginal discharge during pregnancy
It is common to have more vaginal discharge than normal during pregnancy. And this will only increase in the coming weeks of pregnancy. The discharge during pregnancy is thin and watery and it still has the protective and cleansing function, just as it did before pregnancy (Maternity Care the Values, 2020).
Vaginal discharge versus amniotic fluid
Especially at the end of pregnancy, it is sometimes difficult to determine whether it is discharge or amniotic fluid is. We explain the biggest differences to you below:
Vagina discharge: watery and white
Amniotic fluid: clear, colorless and may contain white flakes
Vagina discharge: smells a little sour
Amniotic fluid: smells sweet
Vagina discharge: slimy
Amniotic fluid: liquid and non-stick
When in great doubt, you can always contact your midwife. That's what they are there for, after all. And even if it is amniotic fluid, it means the baby is coming!
What to do about it?
Nothing at all. Especially do not use tampons, pads or panty liners. These products increase the risk of infection. This also applies to synthetic underwear. Wash your vagina only with water, do not use soap. Don't fight your discharge, but let the discharge tell you how your health is doing. It speaks its own language, so learn to listen to it (Kraamzorg de Waarden, 2020).
As told above, your discharge tells you how your health is doing. Healthy vaginal discharge is white in color, translucent, liquid, slimy and does not smell strong. Does your discharge have a different color, texture or smell? Discuss it with your obstetrician or family doctor. This is because during pregnancy you are more susceptible to vaginal infections (Kraamzorg de Waarden, 2020).
It may sound a little poetic, but that doesn't make it any less true. It is important for women to know and understand what their bodies are saying. This often goes hand in hand with the health of the (pregnant) woman and moreover her baby. So let's put the taboo on discharge behind us forever, because it's more important than we sometimes think!
The Midwife. (s.d.). Separation. Accessed October 31, 2021, from https://deverloskundige.nl/zwangerschap/subtekstpagina/201/afscheiding/
Maternity Care the Values. (2020, April 6). Vaginal discharge during pregnancy. Accessed October 31, 2021, from https://www.kraamzorgdewaarden.nl/blog/vaginale-afscheiding
Nutricia for you. (2021, October 4). BRUIN DISTRIBUTION when you're pregnant: WHAT NOW? Accessed October 31, 2021, from https://www.nutriciavoorjou.nl/zwangerschap/symptomen/bruine-afscheiding/