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Brown Discharge While Pregnant: Should I Be Concerned?

Milky brown discharge pregnanacy

Experiencing brown discharge while pregnant can be a frightening experience leaving you worried and distressed. Most women are not sure if a brown discharge is normal or a warning sign. Understanding what can cause a brown discharge during the pregnancy can help alleviate unnecessary stress.

During your pregnancy, your body will experience a rise in hormone production, which can result in an increase in vaginal discharge. When this discharge is brown in color, it can lead to worry and stress wondering if something is wrong with the pregnancy. A brown discharge while pregnant is a normal occurrence; however, if the discharge is accompanied by other symptoms you should immediately seek medical attention.

Normal Causes of Brown Discharge While Pregnant

If the brown discharge occurs near the time of your expected period during the early stages of your pregnancy, it may be implantation bleeding. Implantation bleeding is either brown or light pink in color and is nothing to be concern about. However, if the discharge is accompanied by pain, dizziness or nausea, you should seek medical advice.

If the brown discharge occurs during the first trimester, it could very well be old blood. When your body settles into the gestational period, it will expel the blood used to protect the fetus since it is no longer required. This brownish colored blood is considered a normal occurrence during pregnancy.

Serious Causes of Brown Discharge While Pregnant

Also known as HPV, human papillomavirus is a virus that can result in genital warts and — in some cases — lead to various cancers. A brown discharge during the pregnancy can mean you have HPV. There is no treatment currently available for human papillomavirus and your doctor will have to perform tests to determine if the virus is present.

A brownish discharge can also be an indication of an ectopic pregnancy, which occurs outside the uterus and threaten the life of the fetus. Symptoms of this condition include a brown discharged followed by severe abdominal cramping. Nausea, vomiting and coughing are also signs of an ectopic pregnancy. Seek medical attention immediately if you suspect this condition.

Although the signs typically include bright red blood resembling menstrual blood, if the brown discharge is accompanied by abdominal cramping you may be experiencing a miscarriage and should contact your doctor immediately.


Normal vaginal discharge that occurs during pregnancy is milky white and thin with a mild odor. If the discharge is greenish or yellowish, and has a strong odor or is accompanied by itching, you may have an infection.

Timing, frequency and recent history are all things you need to consider when your vaginal discharge has a brownish color. How far along you are in your pregnancy helps determine the cause of the discharge. When in doubt, always seek medical attention. It is best to be cautious then to ignore a possible serious condition.

Once you understand what can cause brown discharge while pregnant, you can take the appropriate action to protect yourself and your unborn baby.