Immediately after falling pregnant you will begin to notice your body change in a myriad ways. Your breasts will begin to grow (and become more tender), you may start to experience morning sickness, heartburn and fatigue, or you may put on a little weight.
Another thing that your pregnancy will affect is your vagina. Let’s take a look at some of the ways this happens.
Vaginal Spotting or Bleeding
Roughly 25% of women experience some spotting or light bleeding during their first trimester. This may be normal – bleeding may be a sign that the embryo has made its way to the uterus. However, heavy bleeding, severe abdominal pain or consistent cramping is not normal and will require immediate attention from your doctor. These might be symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.
One of the main things you may notice downstairs during pregnancy is increased vaginal discharge. This is due to increased levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. It should be the same as any discharge you’ve experienced before – white and milky – and it shouldn’t smell abnormal (if it does, see your doctor immediately as this may indicate an infection). You may begin to notice more as you get closer to your due date.
Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections are more common during pregnancy, particularly in the second trimester. This is due to hormones that cause issues with urination, making you more susceptible to an infection. If you notice any symptoms of a UTI, book in to see your healthcare provider right away. If left untreated, they can cause complications with your pregnancy. See more about the symptoms of a UTI here.
Other Vaginal Infections
During pregnancy, the delicate pH balance in your vagina will change, which may increase the risk of vaginal infections such as yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis. The latter is particularly worrisome as it can cause complications with your pregnancy. Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection. Symptoms include abnormal vaginal discharge, itching and redness, and pain during urination or sex. If you notice any of these symptoms, see your doctor immediately.
A Change In Smell and Taste
The shift in pH balance may also change the way your vagina smells (and tastes). This will be subtle. If there is a noticeably different odour (and if it is accompanied by another symptom), it may indicate an infection.
A Change In Colour
During pregnancy, you may notice your vagina change colour from its usual pink hue. This is called Chadwick’s sign and it due to increased blood flow. You may notice it on your vagina, labia and cervix. If you have pigmented skin on your vulva, this will also get darker, along with your nipples, and any moles or freckles you might have.
The increase blood flow during pregnancy may also cause varicose veins to appear. This usually happens during the third trimester and will usually go away after you give birth.
A Swollen Feeling
The increased blood flow may also make you a bit swollen down there. This usually won’t be visible, but rather something that you feel. This may have an affect on your libido and how sensitive you are (many women see this as a positive!). However, if swelling is accompanied by another symptom, it may indicate an infection. So be wary of this!
If you have any questions regarding your pregnancy or would like to book an appointment, please get in touch today.
Dr Bevan Brown is one of the most trusted obstetricians in the Hills District.
We understand that no two pregnancies are the same, so we’re there for you every step of the way, before, during and after. Personalised care and strong relationships with our patients is of utmost importance to us!