If you use the sympto-thermal method of fertility awareness, you are extremely acquainted with cervical fluid (and if you are not using the method… Dude, you should be!). You also might be familiar with arousal fluid, cell slough, what to look out for in terms of vaginal infections, and other similar substances that may show up at your vaginal opening.
But when you’re pregnant, you probably don’t have as much of an idea of what to expect.
I had someone recently ask about fluid during pregnancy and what, if anything, it means.
First of all, it’s normal to have pretty much any range of fluid during pregnancy. Some pregnancies may be super dry and others may feel like they are constantly leaking watery fluid. Both are ok and don’t indicate anything is wrong with the pregnancy.
During pregnancy, a rather enhanced form of something that happens to you every cycle during the luteal phase (that’s the time after ovulation) happens. You produce cervical fluid that fills the cervical canal and creates a mucus plug at the cervix. This helps to keep things out of your cervix and uterus and to reduce the risk of infection. The mucus plug can be a very intense barrier in some women and in others they will consistently lose and regenerate some of their plug. The plug is lost completely when the cervix thins and opens for labor, but some people will lose it in parts and others will lose a huge clump of mucus at once. This tends to be more snotty in consistency, like peak type cervical fluid, and can sometimes be bloody, too.
Besides some cervical fluid, you can also see a lot of other fluid made up of vaginal secretions, old cells from the vaginal walls (cell slough), and normal bacteria in the vaginal canal. Because you have a lot of increased estrogen and blood flow to the pelvic area during pregnancy, this fluid can be increased versus what you would see while you are not pregnant.
The only things that you need to look out for with vaginal discharge/mucus in pregnancy are:
- An infection like yeast, bacterial vaginosis, STI, etc.
- Bleeding. Many people spot during pregnancy without it being a concern, though. Some people even have what seems like real periods during pregnancy. If you have any reason to believe it’s actually a miscarriage see your doctor.
- Leaking amniotic fluid before 37 weeks. Amniotic fluid is colorless, and either has no odor or a kind of sweet smell. It can have some bloody or whitish flecks. Amniotic fluid will often continue leaking, so you can lay down for a while and when you get back up if there is a gush it’s likely amniotic fluid.
Other than those situations you can see a variety of different discharge and it be a-ok and not mean anything bad or good about the pregnancy itself.