Yellow vaginal discharge is often a symptom of an underlying infection. Without treatment, these infections can impact your pregnancy, so you’ll want to talk with your clinician as soon as possible.

Yellow vaginal discharge could be a sign of an infection. If you’re pregnant and have yellow vaginal discharge, make an appointment to see your doctor.

Your healthcare provider will likely collect a sample of your urine or swab the discharge from your cervix for laboratory testing.

Although testing might show that you have nothing to worry about, yellow vaginal discharge might indicate an infection that could affect your pregnancy.

Conditions that could have yellow discharge as a symptom include:

Too much of a certain kind of bacteria in the vagina results in bacterial vaginosis (BV). Although there is no consensus in the scientific community regarding the cause of BV, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that it typically affects those who are sexually active.

What are the symptoms of BV?

Although many women do not have symptoms, you might experience:

Can BV impact my pregnancy?

According to the CDC, if you are pregnant and have BV, you have a greater risk than pregnant women without BV for:

A vaginal yeast infection, also called vaginal candidiasis, is a fungal infection. According to the Mayo Clinic, pregnancy can disrupt your vagina’s pH balance, making yeast infections common during pregnancy.

What are the symptoms of a yeast infection?

If you have a vaginal yeast infection, some symptoms you might experience include:

  • thick, odor-free discharge resembling white or yellowish cottage cheese
  • itching in and around the vagina
  • burning sensation while urinating or during sex
  • swelling and redness of the vulva

Can a yeast infection impact my pregnancy?

A 2015 study indicated that, although evidence is incomplete, candidiasis in pregnancy might be associated with an increased risk of pregnancy complications, such as:

  • premature rupture of membranes
  • preterm labor
  • chorioamnionitis
  • congenital cutaneous candidiasis, a rare condition characterized by skin rash

If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about safe alternatives for treating your yeast infection. You should avoid certain antifungals such as fluconazole (Diflucan) when pregnant.

Chlamydia is a common bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can be cured with antibiotics.

What are the symptoms of chlamydia?

Most people do not have symptoms of chlamydia and are unaware that they have it. Women who do have symptoms might experience:

Can chlamydia impact my pregnancy?

An untreated chlamydial infection, according to the CDC, has been linked to complications during pregnancy, such as:

  • premature rupture of membranes
  • preterm labor
  • low birth weight

The infection can also be transmitted during delivery, possibly leading to lung and eye infections.

Gonorrhea is a common STI that is treated with antibiotics. Drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea are increasing, so it is becoming increasingly difficult to cure.

What are the symptoms of gonorrhea?

Although most with gonorrhea have no symptoms, those who do might experience:

  • increased vaginal discharge, often yellow
  • discomfort while urinating
  • discomfort during sex
  • abdominal discomfort

Can gonorrhea impact my pregnancy?

According to the CDC, an untreated gonococcal infection during pregnancy has been linked to:

  • miscarriages
  • premature rupture of membranes
  • chorioamnionitis
  • premature birth
  • low birth weight

Gonorrhea can also be transmitted through delivery. This can lead to eye infections if not treated.

An infection with a protozoan parasite (Trichomonas vaginalis) causes the common STI trichomoniasis.

What are the symptoms of trichomoniasis?

According to the CDC, only about 30 percent of the estimated 3.7 million people in the United States with trichomoniasis will develop symptoms. If you do experience symptoms, they might include:

  • increased vaginal discharge, often yellow with an unpleasant odor
  • discomfort while urinating
  • discomfort during sex
  • redness of the genitals
  • soreness and itching of the genitals

Can trichomoniasis impact my pregnancy?

If you have trichomoniasis and are pregnant, you’ll be more likely than pregnant women who do not have trichomoniasis to:

  • have your baby early (preterm)
  • have a low birth weight baby

When you are pregnant, your vaginal discharge can vary in volume, texture, and color. While some changes are normal, others may indicate a problem, such as an infection.

If your discharge is yellow, see your doctor. Especially if it has a strong, unpleasant odor. Yellow vaginal discharge could be a sign of:

  • bacterial vaginosis
  • yeast infection
  • chlamydia
  • gonorrhea
  • trichomoniasis

If it is an infection, your doctor can get you started on treatments right away, not only for your health but for the health and safety of your baby.