You are currently viewing Why the Yellow Discharge in Early Pregnancy? What are the Causes?

You would’ve gone through some signs and symptoms of pregnancy before your pregnancy got confirmed and among many, vaginal discharge would’ve been one. So you shouldn’t be necessarily worried if you notice change in vaginal discharge as it could just be one of the signs and symptoms of early pregnancy, but then again, there is also a possibility of the presence of an infection. It can also indicate a possible leakage in the amniotic sac, which contains and protects the baby in the womb.

You should be concerned about the yellow discharge if observed in combination with pain, itching and unpleasant smell. If you notice these you should immediately seek professional help and explain your condition, they would immediately perform an examination and may suggest some tests like urine tests for diagnosis.

You would get your results and soon after that, treatment would be prescribed for the relative infection if present. It is better to get the treatment as soon as possible in order to avoid any complications during pregnancy or delivery.

Let’s look into the possible causes of this yellow discharge and look into its basic details.

Appearance of the Yellow Discharge:

A yellow discharge that indicates a possible infection would appear as thick and lumpy with a darker yellow shade which has an unpleasant smell. It can cause burning and itching in the vaginal area and a confirmed infection would make the discharge appear as green or grey.

How can you differ it from the amniotic fluid? Well, that’s pretty easy, its thin having low viscosity, appears urine like and is either sweet smelling or odorless.

Causes of the Yellow Discharge:

The yellow discharge during pregnancy can be either of the two causes, either you have an infection or there’s a leaking in the amniotic sac. The possible infections could be:

  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • Yeast infection

Let’s look into its details:


One of the most common type of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) is the gonorrhea and causes infection in the throat, rectal region and genitals. It causes yellow discharge during pregnancy and is common among teenagers and young adults between the age range of 15-24. Usually treated with antibiotic injections, but today its treatment has become difficult and continues to get harder due to the drug resistant strains.

This is why even if you’re being treated but still observe symptoms after somedays, talk to your doctor. Some symptoms of gonorrhea observed are as follows:

  • Bleeding
  • Painful when passing stool
  • Soreness
  • Itching
  • Burning when urinating
  • Yellow or green, cloudy and thick vaginal discharge

How can it affect your pregnancy?

Gonorrhea is the type of disease that can be passed onto the child during birth as the baby passes through the infected birth canal and can have the following risks:

  • Low birth weight
  • Premature birth
  • Miscarriage
  • Membranous rupture
  • Chorioamnionitis

The baby can also have an eye infection due to the disease if not treated properly.


Chlamydia, also being an STD is also common among young people and can potentially cause challenges during pregnancy if left untreated. Chlamydia can result in infertility or an ectopic pregnancy. you can observe if you have any symptoms of chlamydia and seek medical attention. Some signs and symptoms are:

  • Unpleasant vaginal smell
  • Bleeding post sexual intercourse
  • You feel itching or burning sensations when urinating
  • Bleeding and rectal pain
  • Yellow, white or gray discharge
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Lower belly discomfort

If the infection is left untreated, such complications can occur during pregnancy:

  • Preterm labor
  • Premature membranous rupture
  • Low birth weight

If you deliver your baby while still having chlamydia, the exposure can lead to a good chance that your baby would have eye and lung infections.


This STD is caused by a protozoan parasite, namely Trichomonas vaginalis and is also pretty common. It is estimated that about 30% of 3.7 million people in the US would have symptoms for trichomoniasis however, for the people who do experience the symptoms, they could be the following:

  • Genital redness
  • Increase in vaginal discharge that appears to be yellow with unpleasantly strong odor
  • Difficulty in urination
  • Uncomfortable sex
  • Itching and soreness of genitals

How can it affect your pregnancy?

Untreated trichomoniasis can result in the following complications:

  • Preterm labor
  • Premature membranous rupture
  • Low birth weight

Rarely, but there is a possibility for a female baby that you delivered to acquire the infection which can result in vaginal discharge.

Bacterial Vaginosis:

Bacterial vaginosis is typically the overgrowth of bacteria and are usually present in people who are sexually active. If you have the disease during pregnancy, it can cause yellow vaginal discharge during pregnancy. Many women do not experience any symptoms for the disease but if there are symptoms, they would be the following:

  • Yellow colored vaginal discharge
  • Itching sensation
  • Uncomfortable urination
  • Usually, unpleasant odor after sex
  • Vaginal discomfort

How can it affect your pregnancy?

Bacterial vaginosis can potentially cause the following complications:

  • Preterm labor
  • Premature membranous rupture
  • Premature delivery
  • Amnionitis (an infection)
  • Low birth weight
  • Postpartum endometriosis

Yeast Infection:

Yeast infection is more common among women than men and women tend to be more vulnerable to the infection during pregnancy due to the fluctuations in hormones. Apart from that, your vaginal pH may also change during pregnancy making you vulnerable to the infection.

Yeast is a part of the natural flora of the vaginal and is an essential part of the gynecological ecosystem but too much would cause and infection. If you take broad spectrum antibiotics for whatever the reason, you have a higher risk of having yeast infection as the antibiotics kill the harmful and the beneficial bacteria in the vagina. This could play a havoc with the bacterial balance in the vagina.

Symptoms for the infection could appear as:

  • Swelling of the vagina and vulva
  • Redness and itching of vagina
  • Yellowish or whitish discharge
  • Burning when urinating
  • Discharge is odorless

How can it affect your pregnancy?

If you have yeast infection during pregnancy, it doesn’t really harm your pregnancy or your baby and you can safely use OTC drugs/medications but in low doses. If the infection tends to be resistant to the medications while you’re pregnant, and you take higher doses, you should know that it could cause birth defects and can even put your baby at other risks. This is rare but possible.

When to contact the Doctor?

Anytime you notice yellow vaginal discharge or change in the discharge, you should book an appointment with your doctor. The discharge could be thin, thick or lumpy and could be yellow or white in color. It may or may not smell, whatever the case it is better to talk to a doctor.

The Takeaway:

While you’re pregnant, you may notice a lot of changes in your body, some of which may be alarming and some may be normal. If you notice that you have yellow vaginal discharge it can be due to an infection or leakage in the amniotic sac.

You should definitely consult your doctor regarding the situation as it can potentially cause problems if left untreated and may harm your little one during delivery, transmitting the infection. Notice the signs and symptoms and make an appointment, your doctor would recommend treatment methods accordingly, given your pregnancy.

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