Black discharge during pregnancy could be due to the presence of old blood. But it may also be due to a missed miscarriage.

Bleeding during pregnancy is always a matter of concern. But don’t take black discharge during pregnancy lightly even though it may indicate old blood and not active bleeding. It can be a sign of issues such as a cervical or uterine problem or even a missed miscarriage. To know more, read on to find out the causes of black discharge during pregnancy.

What are the causes of black discharge during pregnancy?

Black vaginal discharge during pregnancy is not common, but it is essential to recognise that any unusual discharge should be discussed with a doctor.

Pregnant woman
Know the causes of black discharge during pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Here are five potential causes of unusual black discharge during pregnancy:

1. Old blood

Black discharge may happen before or after your period, while you are pregnant or after delivering your child. Sometimes, a woman’s body expels old blood that has been in the uterus for a while, explains gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr Pratibha Singhal. This can occur for reasons, including hormonal changes or irritation of the cervix.

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2. Implantation bleeding

In early pregnancy, some women may experience light bleeding or spotting known as implantation bleeding when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining. This blood may take time to exit the body, and when it happens, it may appear darker in colour.

3. Subchorionic hematoma

A subchorionic hematoma is a collection of blood between the uterine lining and the outer fetal membrane. It can cause bleeding, which might look like dark discharge.

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4. Infection

Infections such as bacterial vaginosis or sexually transmitted infections can cause changes in vaginal discharge colour. Infections during pregnancy should be promptly addressed to prevent potential complications for both the mother and the baby.

5. Cervical polyps or lesions

Growths such as cervical polyps or lesions can sometimes cause bleeding, leading to dark-coloured discharge, the expert tells Health Shots.

6. Missed miscarriage

A miscarriage is a loss of a pregnancy before reaching the 20th week, and when that happens, the woman’s uterus contracts and sheds its lining. This can lead to bleeding, including black discharge, but there are other signs of miscarriage too. There may be cramping, low back pain and a decrease in pregnancy symptoms.

Pregnant woman
Black discharge during pregnancy may be due to a missed miscarriage. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

How can black discharge be treated?

The treatment for black discharge during pregnancy depends on the underlying cause, but self-diagnosis and self-treatment may not be effective or safe. Here are some general considerations based on potential causes:

1. Old blood or implantation bleeding

If the black discharge is due to old blood or implantation bleeding, no specific treatment may be necessary, says Dr Singhal.

2. Infections

In case the black discharge is a result of an infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or antifungal medications, depending on the specific infection.

3. Subchorionic hematoma

In this case, your doctor will monitor the situation closely. In some cases, rest and limited physical activity may be recommended.

4. Cervical polyps or lesions

The treatment will depend on the severity and nature of the growths, but your doctor may recommend removal or other appropriate interventions.

5. Miscarriage

Women who experience a miscarriage may not need any kind of treatment, but sometimes, doctors might suggest removal of excess tissue.

Any abnormal discharge during pregnancy should be discussed with a doctor, who can perform a thorough examination, consider your medical history, conduct any necessary tests to identify the specific cause and prioritise the well-being of both the mother and the baby. You should not waste time, especially if the discharge is accompanied by symptoms such as itching, pain and a foul-smelling odour.

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