Ah, the first trimester. It surely brings with it the exciting news of pregnancy, but for many women it also means morning sickness, exhaustion, and mood swings that can flare up with a simple side glance from your partner. You know, just an example. Anyway, for some women it also means multiple panty swaps as a result of increased discharge. But if you’ve been wondering, “Why is my vagina always wet during the first trimester?” then experts say you aren’t alone.
“Increased vaginal moisture or even discharge is a frequent symptom of pregnancy and, with few exceptions, it is normal and should not raise any concerns,” says Dr. Vasiliki Moragianni, OB-GYN and reproductive endocrinologist with Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine in Northern Virginia. “The changes that your body undergoes during pregnancy include hormonal fluctuations, increased blood flow to reproductive organs, and altered vaginal pH, all of which can contribute to increased vaginal moisture.”
Moragianni tells Romper in an email interview that this is often referred to as leukorrhea, which means “milky white discharge.” Physiologic (i.e. normal) leukorrhea is odorless or mild-smelling. But Moragianni says signs that warrant further evaluation by a healthcare professional include a strong odor, itching, clear watery discharge, any color other than milky white, spotting or bleeding, pelvic or abdominal pain, or having a fever.
So what’s a gal to do in order to avoid changing her underwear several times a day? Dr. Aaron Styer, OB-GYN and reproductive endocrinologist with Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine in Boston, tells Romper he recommends women wear a panty liner, making sure to choose one that is thin and comfortable. Moragianni says to also make sure sanitary products and soap are odor-free, and to avoid tampons, douching (whether with “natural” or over-the-counter products), sanitary washes and wipes, or products containing perfumes.
It's been said before, but it's worth saying again: Pregnancy means there is no end in sight for discourse about your vagina. Basic rule of thumb? If you're worried about it, then it's worth mentioning to your doctor. Trust me, it will be the first of many conversations about your lady parts.
After all, no one said pregnancy was always about glowing skin and precious baby bumps, am I right? It might not always be pretty and you might have to distract yourself to avoid inevitable first trimester symptoms, but the end result — well, it’s pretty freaking worth it.