We may earn commission from links featured in this post. Read more.
This article is expert referenced – read more.
When you’re in early pregnancy there are many symptoms you can experience which can give you a hint before you take a conclusive test. These are the missed period, feeling sick and tiredness. Some expectant mothers, however, can have completely different symptoms to each other which can make it a stressful time before you get confirmation. Some believe the clear mucus discharge pregnancy sign is one to believe in. Although not untrue, we feel it is unreliable.
A potential symptom of pregnancy is a clear vaginal discharge which looks and feels like mucus. But, is this a nailed-on pregnancy symptom of pregnancy or just something that can happen for women whether they are pregnant or not? The answer may surprise you.
Is clear vaginal discharge a sign of pregnancy?
Changes in cervical mucus are something most pregnant mothers will experience multiple times however, clear discharge is typically not associated with pregnancy and is unreliable as an indicator that they are indeed expecting. Instead, clear discharge is more linked with ovulation (sticky) and sexual arousal (watery). This is not to say you won’t experience clear discharge while pregnant though but it’s most likely a coincidence and not a cause.
What do the experts say?
Traci Johnson, MD agrees as she describes the role of discharge as “Vaginal discharge serves an important housekeeping function in the female reproductive system. Fluid made by glands inside the vagina and cervix carries away dead cells and bacteria. This keeps the vagina clean and helps prevent infection.”
To us, this means that vaginal discharge of some kind will always be present and is essential of keeping it clean.
When a woman is ovulating, her body produces clear creamy discharge (cervical mucus) which role it is to nourish and help transport sperm to the egg safely. There is a clear distinction between this kind of clear discharge and ‘normal’ clear discharge. Ovulation discharge is distinctively sticky and you could stretch it with your fingers.
This clear mucus is a tremendous helping hand for sperm to get through their perilous journey and one of the reasons why it is so hard to get pregnant outside of ovulation (but not impossible). Your partner may be the one to notice this discharge first during intercourse. If you experience this kind of discharge and you are trying for a baby NOW is the best time to have sex.
Arousal fluid is created in response to sexual arousal and acts to lubricate the vagina for intercourse. Arousal fluid is watery and not stretchy and so clearly distinct from ovulation discharge – although the two can be present at once. This fluid quickly goes away within an hour after arousal has ended.
What discharge is a sign of pregnancy?
Discharge can change to a creamy, almost white, colour during and throughout pregnancy – this type of discharge feels different because it is designed to keep bacteria and germs from entering the mother’s body through the vagina. Similar to how a blocked nose is designed to keep nasties away. During pregnancy, your discharge will be heavier than usual with a stronger smell. It may also be very thick and stretchy.
This discharge is similar to ovulation discharge but much whiter, it’s likely to be present for the duration of the pregnancy.
What do the experts say?
Sophie Martin BA MA BSc RM, from the Emma’s Diary team says “An increase in white or clear vaginal discharge is normal in early pregnancy. But if the discharge becomes coloured, smelly, or causes itching, soreness or becomes bloody, you should tell your midwife or GP.”
What are the most common pregnancy signs?
Usually, discharge is not the most obvious tells of early pregnancy. These signs have always been a missed period, morning sickness, tenderness of the breasts and fatigue.
Cervical mucus changes as the woman’s body changes, throughout the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. However, this makes it an unreliable pregnancy signal as clear mucus can appear during the menstrual cycle and early pregnancy. It’s unlikely that discharge is the first thing you’d notice during early pregnancy. The obvious spots are a missed period, feeling sick and tiredness.