When you shop through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. This educational content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

Using Tampons During Pregnancy

Medically Reviewed by Katelyn Holt RN, BSN, BC
Reasons why using tampons during pregnancy is not recommended.

Have you been experiencing vaginal discharge or bleeding during your pregnancy? Are you ready to be done with it and grab a tampon? Don’t be too quick with that decision!

In this article, we’ll discuss the safety of tampons during pregnancy and how to tell if different types of discharge are normal or something to be concerned about.

Is Discharge During Pregnancy Normal?

One of the most annoying parts of pregnancy was the discharge for me! It made me worried about my body, my baby, and my pregnancy. My doctor was quick to reassure me that typical discharge is okay, and it can sometimes be a lot.

Normal discharge will not have a green or yellow tint, smell, or be enough to fill a pad in a day (1). The most important thing about vaginal discharge? Don’t try to fix it yourself!

You Might Also Like
Pregnant women in the doctors office learning about watery dischargeIs Watery Discharge an Early Pregnancy Sign?

Is Bleeding During Pregnancy Normal?

Bleeding during pregnancy most commonly happens in the first trimester, due to implantation and your body getting ready to hold the baby. The first thing mothers worry about when they bleed is miscarriage, but that isn’t always the case. Around 30 percent of women experience bleeding in their healthy, successful pregnancy in the first trimester.

Of course, good communication with your doctor should be upheld at all times. Make sure you’re wearing pads to see how much blood there is and keep your specialist informed.

Subchorionic hematomas are the most common cause of bleeding during the first trimester of pregnancy, they’re just a little pocket of blood that forms between the outer fetal membrane and the placenta, these can cause bleeding if they rupture (2).
Headshot of Katelyn Holt RN, BSN, BC

Editor's Note:

Katelyn Holt RN, BSN, BC

Can You Wear Tampons While Pregnant?

The temptation to use your favorite method of preventing leakage may be strong if you’re experiencing normal discharge or bleeding, but it’s something you should absolutely avoid doing.

Important Warning

Tampons aren’t safe for you and the baby since they pose a threat of bringing germs and bacteria inside of your body.

These things can cause infections and tamper with the development of your baby. Long pads are a better alternative, but if you see consistent discharge that seems to get worse, bring it up to your doctor. It shouldn’t be enough to entirely fill pads multiple times a day.

Dangers Of Using Tampons While Pregnant

Every risk that tampons present to you are increased when you’re pregnant.

1. Bad Bacteria

Plenty of germs can come in contact with your tampon, despite the wrapper. Things from the warehouse or the manufacturing plant, problems or accidents during shipping, the time on the shelf, and then the exposure in your bathroom once unwrapped. Even your own hands can introduce bacteria if unwashed.

Our bodies are good at fighting off harmful bacteria, which is why tampons are usually perfectly fine to use when done so carefully. When you’re pregnant, it’s easier for these germs to get inside your body and affect your baby.

Bad bacteria can cause infections, which will hurt the growth and development of your baby. Plus, the last thing you want to deal with while being pregnant is an uncomfortable infection down below!

2. Irritation

Changing your body’s natural balance of good bacteria in your vagina can make it too dry or irritated. We are extremely sensitive during pregnancy to these sort of changes since our hormones are doing entirely new things.

Using a tampon can be painful if they aren’t getting completely absorbed, either. Since your bleeding and discharge should be fairly minimal, it’s unlikely that it will be filling your tampon within the 4 hours recommended to leave it inserted. No woman likes pulling out a dry tampon!

3. Hiding the Real Problem

If you can’t see your blood or discharge, you’ll never know if a problem begins. Paying attention to everything your body discards during pregnancy is important to monitor your health and the safety of your baby, so you could be masking a true problem by using a tampon.

Infections or excessive bleeding that go unnoticed and untreated can seriously hurt the growing child inside of you, or even lead to miscarriage. That’s the reason why it’s so important to pay attention to your body, and a tampon prevents that from happening.

You really do know your body the best, so report any changes to your healthcare provider.

4. Toxic Shock Syndrome

Since it’s so rare, toxic shock syndrome may not seem like a real concern or something to worry about for you. However, it’s a potentially life-threatening condition that is most often caused by superabsorbent tampons that have been left in for too long.

Fevers, seizures, low blood pressure, and other harmful side effects happen to your body if you have this condition and it’s life-threatening (3). The chances of it happening to you are low, yes, but is it a risk you want to take?

Will Tampons Increase Miscarriage Odds?

Many women wear tampons when they get close to their period starting, and may be wearing one before finding out about the pregnancy. If this is the case, stop using them as soon as you find out the news about your new little one!

Since the most significant concern with tampons is introducing bacteria to the vagina, you’ll want to make sure you don’t have an infection. It’s not a very common occurrence, but it is possible.

Watch For Infection

Check with your doctor if you experience symptoms of an infection. If you don’t have any other side effects that may indicate infection, you’re perfectly fine and shouldn’t worry!

One of the most damaging things a new mom can do is worry about what happened before she knew she was pregnant. You’ll drive yourself crazy! Just focus on the present and the future and making your body a safe home from this time forward for your growing little one.

Can Tampons Be Used After Miscarriage?

One of the most heartbreaking things a woman can experience in her life is a miscarriage, and it comes with a whole new world of needs. A lot of horrible things happen to your body during this emotional time, too, which can make a tampon feel like an easy fix.

When you’re sad and uncomfortable after a miscarriage, think twice about grabbing that box. As your body gets rid of the tissue it no longer needs, the cervix is open and vulnerable to infection and bacteria. All of the dangers a tampon poses are heightened to the max during a miscarriage, and if you get an infection, it could take much longer to become pregnant again.

Headshot of Katelyn Holt RN, BSN, BC

Medically Reviewed by

Katelyn Holt RN, BSN, BC

Katelyn Holt RN, BSN, BC is a cardiology nurse and freelance medical writer. Katelyn has 8 years of nursing experience inpatient and outpatient, primarily medical-surgical and cardiac. After having two children she has a passion for Women’s Health and Lactation teaching and support.