Yellow Discharge During Pregnancy: Know The Probable Causes And The Risks

Yellow discharge during pregnancy is mostly a symptom that there is some kind of an underlying infection. If these are not treated in time, they can affect the pregnancy as well. So, if you notice this, it is best to consult a doctor without delay. Getting wet, watery discharge, and brown discharge before the period is common, but during pregnancy, you should not take things lightly.

The healthcare provider is likely going to collect your urine sample or use a swap to take a sample of the discharge from the cervix and test it in the laboratory. Even though the test results might indicate that there is nothing worrisome, yellow discharge during pregnancy might be the result of some underlying infection and can affect your pregnancy.

Conditions that cause yellow discharge during pregnancy

Yellow discharge during pregnancy could happen if there is some infection and more so if it is accompanied by itching and a foul smell. If these infections are not treated timely, they can even lead to miscarriage. The reasons could be:

Bacterial vaginosis

If there is too much bacteria in the vagina, then that causes bacterial vaginosis or BV. Even though there is no specific consensus in the scientific community about the cause of BV. The CDC or Centre for Disease Control and Prevention denotes that it mostly affects those women who are sexually active.

Symptoms of bacterial vaginosis

However, most of the time women do not show any symptoms, but they can experience:

  • Vaginal discharge with a yellow hue
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Vaginal discomfort
  • Itching in and around the vagina
  • Unpleasant odor, mostly after sex

Can it affect pregnancy?

As per the CDC, a pregnant woman who has BV is at higher risk than someone who is not pregnant. They face difficulty in particular areas:

  • Preterm labor
  • Endometritis
  • Premature delivery
  • Low birth weight
  • The membrane ruptures prematurely
  • Chorioamnionitis is a form of bacterial infection, also known as amnionitis

Yeast infection

Yeast infections or vaginal candidiasis, or vulvovaginal candidiasis, are very common. It is more common during pregnancy as the level of hormones keeps changing. The body grows a natural amount of yeast fungus. This is an important part of the gynecological ecosystem. but when this amount increases, it can cause vaginal yeast infection. 

If you have been prescribed antibiotics and have been taking them for a long time for some other ailment, you are at higher risk of getting a yeast infection because antibiotics have the capability of killing the beneficial bacteria along with the harmful ones. This can cause an unbalanced environment in the vagina.

Symptoms of yeast infection

If you have a yeast infection, you might experience some of these symptoms.

  • A thick, odor-free discharge that looks similar to yellowish or white cottage cheese
  • A burning sensation during urination or while having sex
  • Itching inside and around the vagina
  • Redness and swelling in the vulva

Can it affect pregnancy?

According to a study in 2015, even though there is no concrete evidence of this, there is a possibility that yeast infections can cause certain complications, like:

  • The membrane ruptures prematurely
  • Preterm labor
  • Chorioamnionitis
  • Congenital cutaneous candidiasis is a rare condition of skin rash.

If you have yeast infection during pregnancy, refer to your doctor and ask for some safe alternatives for your condition. Because there are certain antifungals like fluconazole that you should avoid when you are pregnant.


Chlamydia is a bacterial STI that can be cured with the help of antibiotics. But if it is left untreated, it increases the risk of reproductive challenges and sometimes damages the fallopian tube or blocks it. It often causes ectopic pregnancy and infertility.

Symptoms of chlamydia

Some of the symptoms of chlamydia include:

  • Bleeding after sex
  • Discomfort during sex
  • Discomfort while urinating, like itching and a burning sensation
  • Bleeding along with rectal pain
  • An unpleasant vaginal odor
  • The urge to urinate more than usual
  • Yellow, grey, or white vaginal discharge

Can it affect pregnancy?

If you are pregnant and somehow get chlamydia, it can increase the risk of:

  • Rupturing the membranes prematurely
  • Preterm labor
  • The low birth rate of the baby

Newborns who are exposed to chlamydia during delivery can get lung and eye infections.


Gonorrhea is another STI that causes infections in the throat, rectum, and genitals. This is a probable cause of yellow discharge during pregnancy. It is mostly treated with antibiotic injections. 

It is becoming difficult to treat this because of the rise of drug-resistant strains. This is because you should let your healthcare provider know if you have symptoms after a few days of treatment.

Symptoms of gonorrhea

Some of the symptoms include:

  • Burning sensation and other discomfort while urinating
  • Bleeding
  • Soreness
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Genital itching
  • Cloudy, thick yellow or green discharge from the vagina

Can it affect pregnancy?

As per the CDC, when gonorrhea is left untreated during pregnancy, it can cause:

  • Miscarriage
  • Premature birth
  • The membrane ruptures prematurely
  • Chorioamnionitis
  • Low birth weight of the baby


Trichomoniasis is another common STI that is an infection with the protozoan parasite.

Symptoms of trichomoniasis

Not many women get the symptoms, but when they do, they might experience the following:

  • Discomfort or burning sensation while urinating
  • Discomfort while having sex
  • Redness of the genitals
  • Itching and soreness of the genitals
  • The vaginal discharge increases along with a foul odor

Can it affect pregnancy?

If you are pregnant and have trichomoniasis, you are at a higher risk of:

  • Having a preterm baby
  • Having a baby with a low birth weight

Wrapping up!

During pregnancy, the volume, color, and texture of the vaginal discharge can vary. However, some of these changes are normal, while others indicate a problem, like an infection. If you get yellow discharge during pregnancy, it is better to get it checked with a doctor.

Especially if you are getting the discharge with an unpleasant and strong odor. If it is actually happening because of an infection, the doctor can get you on medicines right away and do the needful. It is a matter of your health and the safety of the baby as well, so do not take things lightly.


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Subhasree Nag


Subhasree is a content writer who is passionate about traveling, writing, and reading books. In her leisure time, she is seen listening to music and watching web series. Writing along with music and dance are ways in which she expresses herself.

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