By 15 weeks along a woman may experience numerous symptoms of pregnancy including nausea, vomiting, headaches, fatigue, backaches and unusual vaginal discharge. Vaginal discharge in pregnancy can be a normal symptom of the bodily changes a woman experiences. There are some more bothersome causes of discharge that require medical treatment. When cramping or bleeding accompanies discharge, a woman should seek immediate treatment.
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Leukorrhea is a normal increase in vaginal discharge. The American Pregnancy Association points out that this discharge is often thin, white, milky and mild smelling. This type of discharge is nothing to worry about but a woman may want to practice good hygiene to keep the vaginal area clean and as dry as possible. Women should not use tampons during pregnancy to soak up the discharge because it can introduce germs to the vagina. Douching is also not recommended. A regular pantyliner or frequent bathing can help keep the discharge under control.
Increases in estrogen during pregnancy can cause a woman's body to make more glycogen, a type of sugar, explains the BabyCenter website. Yeast thrives off sugar, darkness and moisture. Leukorrhea makes the vagina the perfect environment for frequent yeast infections. Keeping the vagina dry and clean can reduce the risk of infection. Symptoms of a yeast infection include redness, itching, thick discharge that has a white color and resembles cottage cheese and a mild odor like bread. Yeast infections require anti-fungal medication. Vaginal suppositories or creams remain the first line of treatment during pregnancy. Despite the medications available over-the-counter, a woman should consult her doctor before using them.
Other more serious vaginal infections require medical treatment to prevent complications, including miscarriage. If the discharge looks yellow or green, strong smelling or is accompanied by itching or redness, a bacterial infection is likely present. Common locations of bacterial infection in pregnancy, as indicated by the American Pregnancy Association, include the pelvic region, vagina or the urinary tract.
Most miscarriages occur during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, according to the American Pregnancy Association. A miscarriage can still occur at 15 weeks along. Symptoms of this include abdominal pain that feels stronger than menstrual cramps, vaginal bleeding and the passing of tissues through the vagina.
An ectopic pregnancy is usually discovered during the early part of pregnancy. This occurs when the fertilized egg attaches somewhere other than inside the uterus. It can be a serious condition if it goes undetected. The KidsHealth website suggests the earliest signs often include pain or vaginal bleeding. The pain commonly occurs in the pelvis, abdomen or in the most severe cases, in the shoulder and neck. If the egg ruptures or separates from the tissues where it attached, such as the fallopian tube, internal bleeding will occur. This creates serious symptoms like sharp abdominal pains, dizziness and lower back pain.