brown discharge during pregnancy
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In pregnancy brown discharge is typically the discharge of the uterus combined with old blood. It is bleeding that has occurred inside the uterus (womb) or cervix and begins to flow out later in pregnancy. In most cases, there’s nothing to worry about, but it’s a good idea to consult a doctor. In the meantime, read this article to understand the reasons and ways to deal with the brown discharge during pregnancy.

What Is Brown Discharge During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, brownish discharge is a common occurrence reported by pregnant women over 20 percent. It is a reddish-brown vaginal discharge that occurs throughout the pregnancy. This is essentially old blood that is being expelled in the form of spotting from your uterus. It can start from early pregnancy until the 37th week, i.e. until labor. Based on the origin of the discharge, the volume and color may also differ. It can be differentiated by both its appearance from menstrual bleeding and that of a miscarriage, and it is less.

Is Pregnancy’s Brown Discharge Normal?

Brown discharge during pregnancy is quite common and happens at various times during pregnancy to more than 20 percent of pregnant women. During the pregnancy, a brownish discharge may be due to:

1. Implantation

During the early weeks when a fertile egg is inserted, the uterus prepares itself to support a new pregnancy by expelling old tissue content.

2. Sex and health examinations

Due to increased blood flow, the cervix and vagina are highly sensitive during pregnancy. Often, medical exams and tests or sex may trigger spots.

3. Readiness for Labor

A brownish discharge may also occur when the mucus plug is removed and labor begins.

Causes Of Brown Discharge During Pregnancy

Brown discharge can occur due to natural changes to an underlying medical condition during pregnancy

Natural Causes

1. Modifications in cervical cells

Cervical cells undergo various changes as a result of hormonal changes during pregnancy and may become tender and extra sensitive. Sexual intercourse or any other rough activity (such as medical examination) may irritate the cervix and cause a light brown discharge.

2. Implantation

Brown discharge during early pregnancy may be due to implantation occurring about nine days after conception (at the time of ovulation) and ranging from 6 to 12 days. The fertilized egg is embedded in the uterine lining during implantation, and slight bleeding may occur. After a couple of days, it could be seen as brown discharge.

3. Close due date

You may be losing mucus plug before you go to work, which is a mixture of cervical mucus and cells. The plug blocks the opening of the uterus and prevents bacteria from reaching the uterus. As the due date passes, the cervix softens. It also softens the mucus plug and ejects it as a brown or red discharge.

Causes That Need Medical Attention

1. Miscarriage

In the first few weeks of pregnancy, mild brown discharge may occur. It could happen in the chorion (the outermost membrane surrounding the embryo) due to bleeding. But brown discharge may be a sign of miscarriage in some cases. If you notice brown discharge along with symptoms such as abdominal pain and cramping, it is advisable to consult your doctor.

2. Molar pregnancy

It is a pregnancy caused by a chromosomal mismatch and is characterized by an abnormal growth of the placenta’s trophoblastic epithelium. While fresh bleeding is normal, this condition can cause brown discharge episodes and requires medical attention.

3. Ectopic pregnancy 

This pregnancy takes place outside the uterus, either in the Fallopian tubes, ovaries or in the cavity of the abdomen. The uterus will remain empty in this situation, but the lining will expand in response to the hormones. It can lead to mild to severe bleeding.

4. Placental abnormalities

Placental anomalies, such as placenta previa (where the placenta covers the opening of the cervix) and placental abruption can cause brown discharges, both of which can result in varying bleeding rates, which could be mild to severe.

When Should You Consult To A Doctor?

The essence of the discharge, its color, amount, texture, and odor depend on your decision to seek the doctor’s opinion.

Please consult a doctor if:

  • There’s a lot of discharge that’s more than being seen. The discharge that needs a sanitary pad should be checked.
  • For more than 7 days, the discharge after sex becomes foul-smelling or unpleasant.
  • The discharge is accompanied by pain or removal of tissue or lumps.
  • Fever or chills are added to the discharge.
  • The discharge is followed by abdominal cramping, severe pain or dizziness.

Remember, although brown discharge during pregnancy is usually not indicative of any problem, if you notice bleeding during pregnancy, always call your doctor. Always take note of your symptoms and if you suspect anything serious, never hesitate to visit your doctor or hospital. After all, being safe is better than being sorry.

Also Read: What Do Various Vaginal Discharge Types Mean?