Vaginal discharge

Discharge usually increases during pregnancy, as a way for your body to protect against infections moving up through your genital tract. It may be more watery than usual, it should be clear or milky coloured, and have minimal smell. If your discharge is green/ brown/ yellow, smelly, or accompanied by itching and discomfort in your vagina or when urinating, then this may be a sign of infection so notify your midwife.


Thrush is a common yeast infection that affects many people in pregnancy. It usually causes a thick white discharge and itching around the vagina. It can be easily treated but some medications shouldn’t be used in pregnancy so notify your midwife or GP for a prescription. 

Waters breaking?

Late on in pregnancy, it can sometimes be hard to tell whether you have increased discharge, urinary incontinence, or if the membranes around your baby and waters have broken. While it is common to leak a little urine when you cough or sneeze in pregnancy, this shouldn’t happen all the time. There are pelvic floor exercises you can do to prevent incontinence. 

If you are continuously leaking liquid or have a sudden large gush without coughing/sneezing, this is more likely to be because your waters have broken. The fluid is usually clear or a straw-like colour, with minimal smell. If you think your waters have broken, notify your midwife. Before 37 weeks this will need to be confirmed, probably using a speculum examination and a swab test. After 37 weeks, your midwife or triage unit will ask some questions about how you are, and may not need to see you straight away, but will discuss signs of labour with you and what your options are if you don’t go into labour soon.


Once your waters have gone, there is an increased risk of infection for your baby as the protective barrier has been broken. This isn’t a concern if you are full term and go into labour soon after. If you are less than 37 weeks, or don’t spontaneously go into labour, your provider will talk to you about monitoring and other options.