Disclaimer: Please note that this blog is for educational purposes only, it includes general information on health-related topics. Women’s Healthcare of Boca Raton is giving medical advice to Patients Only. Follow this link to request an appointment with Dr. Ellman.

Women have a vaginal discharge which is fluid that comes out of the vagina, and this is usually white or clear. The amount of discharge they experience depends on whether they are menstruating, are pregnant, or going through menopause. 

Normal discharge looks like milk, water, or egg whites, and any changes in its consistency indicate an infection.

So, why do women have watery discharge? What are the factors associated with clear watery discharge early pregnancy? What does it mean when you have clear watery discharge and cramps?

This article explores how clear watery discharge is associated with pregnancy and the other factors and conditions that can lead to this type of discharge. It also describes what can lead to an excessive vaginal discharge and other signs that women can look for when they are pregnant. 

Clear Watery Discharge Early Pregnancy

How is clear watery discharge a sign of pregnancy?

Women start having vaginal discharge before they go through puberty, and this ends in the postmenopausal stage. 

When women are pregnant, both the cervix and vaginal walls soften and increase vaginal discharge as the body starts preparing for pregnancy.  This helps to prevent viruses and bacteria from entering the vagina. 

Without this increased vaginal discharge, women would have a high risk of developing an infection that could affect the womb, placenta, and the baby. 

In addition, as the pregnancy progresses, women may notice that they may have excessive vaginal discharge, and they may confuse it for urine. 

However, having a watery discharge doesn’t mean that you’re pregnant. Other factors can lead to watery or clear discharge. 

Other Signs of Pregnancy

Woman Holding a Menstrual Calendar With Crossed off Dates

Watery discharge isn’t the only thing that you should look for when trying to get pregnant. Other signs and symptoms that can indicate that you might be pregnant include:

  • A missed period: This is the most common earliest sign of pregnancy that many women experience. However, some patients have irregular and long cycles, so it would be best to look for other pregnancy signs. 
  • Spotting: It is normal to have slight spotting during the first four to 12 weeks of your pregnancy, as implantation occurs and the mucus plug seals the cervix to protect the pregnancy from an infection. However, if you experience heavy bleeding, this could be your period or a serious problem. 
  • Nausea: Some women feel sick as soon as they wake up or when traveling by car. 
  • Breast tenderness: Some women have tender breasts early in their pregnancy, but some also experience this during their periods. 
  • Fatigue: This is one of the symptoms that women experience during their pregnancy. This occurs due to hormonal, physical, and emotional changes that lower their energy. For example, these changes can include disrupted sleep, heartburn, frequent urination, pelvic pain, stress, and low blood pressure.
  • Frequent urination: Pregnant women tend to pee more as their body has an increased amount of blood. Therefore, the kidneys have to produce more fluids which then flow to the bladder. Some women start urinating more often during their sixth or eighth week of pregnancy.

Causes of Watery Discharge

If you’re not pregnant, the other factors that can cause a watery discharge include the following:

  • Birth control pills: These lead to an increase in estrogen, which is one of the two female sex hormones that are responsible for breast development, keeping cholesterol in control, etc. The more estrogen levels a woman has, the more vaginal discharge her body produces.
  • Ovulation: During ovulation, you may notice that your vaginal discharge is clear and stretchy but less watery than the discharge you usually have during your menstrual cycle. 
  • Sexual arousal: When you are sexually aroused, you may have increased vaginal discharge. This is because blood flushes to the vagina and releases lubricating fluids. As a result, you may have a more watery discharge after engaging in sexual activity. 
  • Menopause: Some women have watery discharge during and after menopause as they develop vaginal atrophy. This condition causes thinning, inflammation and drying of the vaginal walls and occurs when the body has low estrogen levels and is more common in postmenopausal women. 
  • Dietary change: People who consume soy are more likely to have a watery discharge, as this type of food increases the body’s estrogen levels. 

Watery Discharge and Infections

If you have a clear watery discharge and cramps accompanied by a strong odor and itchiness, or a discharge that has a different color, then you might have an infection. 

Infections include:

  • Bacterial vaginosis: This infection occurs in the vaginal walls and is common in pregnant women and produces a yellow, gray, or green discharge with a fish-like odor. 
  • Candida albicans: This is a yeast infection that produces a lumpy discharge that looks like cottage cheese.
  • Gonorrhea: People with gonorrhea have a watery, creamy, or slightly green vaginal discharge, and they may also experience pain during sexual intercourse and the need to urinate more frequently.

What Happens During a High-Risk Pregnancy

We use the term “high-risk pregnancy” to refer to a pregnancy that may develop complications affecting the mother and the baby. 

Risk factors that can lead to a high-risk pregnancy include the following:

  • Health conditions that develop before pregnancy: Medical conditions that are already present before the woman gets pregnant, such as obesity, diabetes, epilepsy, high blood pressure, and infections, can increase pregnancy risks. 
  • Health conditions that develop during pregnancy: These conditions include preeclampsia, a condition in which the patient experiences high blood pressure, and gestational diabetes. This refers to diabetes that develops during pregnancy. 
  • Maternal age: The risk of pregnancy complications increase when the mother is under 17 or over 35 years. Those who get pregnant after the age of 40 are at an increased risk of having a baby with congenital disabilities. 

In addition, we recommend that women who have a high-risk pregnancy see a medical professional if they have:

  • A clear watery discharge and cramps in their lower abdomen.
  • Abnormal bleeding.
  • Dizziness. 
  • Severe headaches.
  • Blurred vision.  

Seeing a Doctor

We recommend seeing a doctor if you are concerned about your vaginal discharge. These are some of the worrying signs that you shouldn’t ignore:

  • Itching and soreness: These can indicate that you have a fungal or bacterial infection. A doctor can recommend the best treatment plan to ensure that the medications are safe for your pregnancy. 
  • Water breaking: If your water broke and you are during or after the 37th week of pregnancy, this means that you’re going into labor. However, if this happens before the 37th week, the best option would be to go to the hospital, as this isn’t normal.
  • Heavy bleeding: If you’re pregnant and have heavy bleeding that resembles menstrual blood, this may mean that you’re miscarrying or have other serious problems. Therefore, immediate medical attention is required.
  • A discharge that has a strong smell: Natural vaginal discharge has a sour or slight sea-salt smell. If you notice that your discharge has a strong and fish-like odor, this can be a sign of an infection.  

Doctor and Patient Discussing Something While Sitting at the Table.

Dealing With Watery Discharge

People who have a clear watery discharge can consider wearing pads or panty liners as they manage excessive moisture. Don’t buy scented products as these are more likely to cause irritation. 

You can also wear period underwear, as it can absorb moisture. 

We also recommend that you avoid douching, as it removes the good bacteria in the vagina and increases the risk of infections. 

Book Your Appointment Today

An increase in discharge during your pregnancy is normal, but it can also indicate that you have an infection or other condition. 

If you are concerned about any changes in your discharge or about your pregnancy, book your appointment with our gynecology specialist today.

Dr. Ellman is a Board Certified OBGYN who established his medical practice in South Florida over 25 years ago. His office, Women’s Healthcare of Boca Raton, is located in Boca Raton, Florida at West Boca Medical Center. Dr. Ellman attended Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, where he received his medical degree. He went on to intern at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston- an affiliate of Harvard Medical School- and continued his residency at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York- an affiliate of Cornell Medical School.

Dr. Ellman has practiced Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Boca Raton area since 1995. In addition to treating patients at West Boca Hospital, Dr. Ellman also treats patients through his own private practice, Women’s Healthcare of Boca Raton, located on the West Boca Medical Campus.

Published On: July 13th, 2021