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What Does Early Pregnancy Discharge Look Like? An Expert Weighs In

TMI alert, folks — it's time to talk about discharge and cervical mucus (CM). But this is nothing new if you’re trying to conceive (TTC) — you may feel like you’re talking about CM and “discharge” more often than you ever have (or wanted to) before. Both are huge indicators for many different things going on in your body — when you’re fertile and ovulating, when you have an infection, and even when you’re pregnant. So what does early pregnancy discharge look like? If you’re really paying close attention to your body’s signals, is it a good way to tell if you should be prepping a nursery?

Honestly, what early pregnancy discharge looks like depends on the woman, according to Kameelah Phillips, an OB-GYN and founder of OBaby. “For many women, it increases in volume and is white and creamy,” she says in an email interview with Romper. “A discharge should not itch or have a foul odor, and it is generally not the clear, sticky discharge associated with ovulation."

If you’re not seeing any type of discharge before you take your pregnancy test, don’t fret — you’re not totally out yet. Phillips says vaginal discharge is not the most reliable marker of pregnancy since it varies so much from woman to woman.

When you already have a confirmed pregnancy and you see bloody discharge, does that mean you’re having a miscarriage? Phillips says no. “Large amounts of blood, clots, and pain often happen with a miscarriage. Either scenario should be evaluated by your doctor,” she says.

What are some types of discharge that may be warning signs of other things going on in your body? “Blood in the discharge can happen in the setting of infection [or] after intercourse…” Phillips says. According to the Mayo Clinic, if you have a yeast infection, your discharge will be watery or thick, white and sometimes odor free, but with a cottage cheese appearance. And if it does have an odor, it will smell like yeast, because, duh. Bacterial vaginosis signs include gray, white, or green discharge with a fishy smell, according to Mayo Clinic.

Checking yourself out down there and being aware of what’s on your toilet paper when you wipe, or in your underwear, is an important part of women’s health. Knowing what’s normal for you and paying attention to any abnormalities will ensure you catch anything wrong pretty quickly, and you’ll be able to treat it effectively. It might even be the early pregnancy indicator you were looking for.