Pink discharge during pregnancy is something that is common and not always a cause for concern. Often the cause is innocent. For example, some pink discharge may occur early in pregnancy due to implantation. Rarely is there a miscarriage, unless there are abdominal cramps and a lot of blood loss. What is pink discharge and what causes it?
Pink discharge due to implantation
The first pink discharge often starts in the 3rd week of pregnancy. After ovulation, the egg is ‘fertile’ for 12 to 24 hours and can fuse with a sperm. This merger is the beginning of a new life. During fertilization there is nothing noticeable: no blood loss, no discharge, no abdominal cramps. The egg cell begins to divide quickly and travels to the uterus. Once the egg consists of at least 64 cells, it is able to implant in the uterine wall. This happens a few days after fertilization. The uterine wall is well vascularized, extra blood vessels are created to attach to the placenta. Implantation causes minor damage to a number of blood vessels, resulting in some light blood loss. This blood loss mixes with the normal white discharge that every woman has (the white discharge) and therefore turns pink. A pink discharge a few days before the expected menstruation (or NOD) is the first sign of pregnancy for many women.
4 or 5 weeks pregnant
Some pink discharge may occur in early pregnancy. This often coincides with the expected menstruation. It is therefore logical that women wonder whether they are going to have their period or are pregnant after all. A pregnancy test provides clarity. The pink discharge often comes from light pressure in the uterine wall or cervix, such as coughing or sneezing. This can cause small blood vessels to burst and bleed. This very light blood loss produces a pink discharge. Some women get a ‘period’ even though they are pregnant. This is also called breakthrough bleeding. Although this is rare, it can still happen that a pregnant woman has some blood loss around the expected menstruation without a clear cause for this. Some women even experience breakthrough bleeding every month throughout their pregnancy.
7 and 8 weeks pregnant
A little further into the pregnancy, around two months, minor bleeding may occur when sneezing, coughing, bending and lifting. Often this is not a cause for concern. Blood loss may also occur for unknown reasons. In half of the cases it remains a pink discharge, in the other half of the cases the blood loss increases and now turns bright red. If the blood loss continues and is accompanied by abdominal cramps, the risk of a miscarriage is greater. The midwife can check whether the baby’s heart is beating from 6 weeks of pregnancy.
37, 38 and 39 weeks pregnant and pink discharge
Towards the end of pregnancy, pink discharge may occur accompanied by loss of a mucus plug. This mucus plug can be called hard or tough. Sometimes there is no tough mucus plug to be found, but there is a pink discharge. You probably missed the loss of your mucus plug. The pink discharge is a small amount of blood loss associated with losing the mucus plug. This mucus plug has closed the cervix during pregnancy. The mucus plug is there to prevent infections as much as possible, so that the baby is well protected. If you lose the mucus plug, this means that the birth will not take long. Most women lose their mucus plug a few hours to a few days before giving birth.
A pink discharge is a sign of light blood loss. Only when the discharge becomes darker, bright red to dark red, is it no longer a discharge but blood loss. Slight blood loss, i.e. the pink discharge, can occur in summary:
- Incipient miscarriage
- So-called breakthrough bleeding under the influence of hormones
- Ectopic Pregnancy
- Molar pregnancy
- Infection of the cervix or cervix
- Pressure difference such as coughing, sneezing, lifting, bending over
- Sexual contact can sometimes cause a pink discharge only the next day
- Loss of the mucus plug
- First signs of labor
Serious cases such as a detached placenta result in heavy blood loss almost immediately. A miscarriage will also continue with heavy bleeding and abdominal cramps. If it remains just pink discharge, there is often not much to worry about. The obstetrician or gynecologist cannot always find a cause. Only when heavy bleeding occurs is this a reason to alert the doctor.
- Blood loss and pregnant