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Most expectant moms spring for new undies: not sexy ones, but practical “granny panties.” They not only accommodate a growing belly, but they can also be good throwaways considering all the unexpected things that are going on down below during pregnancy.
Should you be concerned about what’s coming out? “Some women have an increase in their vaginal discharge during pregnancy, and some don’t have an increase at all,” says Karen Nordahl, M.D., co- founder of Vancouver, British Columbia-based Fit to Deliver International and a Fit Pregnancy advisory board member. “A sudden increase should be investigated to make sure there is no infection.”
Here, we look at some common “leaks” for which you might need your throwaway undies or a panty liner. Find out which are merely annoying and which could signal a problem requiring medical attention.
The symptoms: Pregnant or not, you’ll experience the same signs, which can include itching, redness and soreness in the vaginal area, along with an odorless, white, cottage cheeselike discharge. Some women also have pain during intercourse and burning when they urinate.
Normal or not? Normal. because of hormonal and other changes, yeast infections are very common during pregnancy.
How to deal: Consult your doctor about prescription or over-the-counter vaginal creams or suppositories and, if deemed necessary, to rule out bacterial vaginosis or a sexually transmitted disease (see below). Probiotics may also help; try Udo’s Choice Super 8 Hi-Potency Probiotic.
The symptoms: Bacterial vaginosis, an infection caused by an imbalance in the bacteria normally found in the vagina, is sometimes asymptomatic, but it can produce a fishy-smelling discharge that is most noticeable after sex. Itching and/or burning may accompany it.
Normal or not? Not. “Bacterial vaginosis starts out as a vaginal infection, but it can sometimes ascend into the uterus and cause premature rupture of the membranes and preterm birth,” says April Sarvis, M.D., an OB-GYN in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
How to deal: See your doctor right away. Prescription medications can clear up symptoms without endangering the fetus and decrease the likelihood of preterm labor.