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!
Many things that seem perfectly safe for us to do before pregnancy become very dangerous after we see that little line on a positive pregnancy test. Many things that are normal may seem much scarier than they really are while pregnant, too.
Where do tampons, discharge, and bleeding fall on that scale? Today we talk about the safety of tampons during pregnancy and how to tell if what your vagina is expelling is normal or something to worry 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 some discharge is okay, and it can sometimes be a lot.
Is Bleeding During Pregnancy Normal?
Bleeding happens most commonly 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 (source).
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.
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.
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 and tampons multiple times a day.
Dangers Of Using Tampons While Pregnant
Every risk that tampons present to you is increased when you’re pregnant. Now that you’re thinking about the well-being of two bodies, and not just your own, the whole world seems scarier.
Tampons are normally one of those scary things that you allow for yourself, since the risk is low, but you shouldn’t bring the danger of complications close to your little one.
Let’s go over the threat that tampons pose to a pregnancy.
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.
Our bodies are good at fighting off bad 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!
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.
In my experience, the biggest risk to using tampons during pregnancy isn’t that it will cause a miscarriage but that it will mask the symptoms and may introduce bacteria if a miscarriage is already happening.
Editor's Note:Christine Traxler, MD, BS
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 they’re all very dangerous to you and your baby (source). 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 biggest 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 very possible.
Watch For Infection
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 now 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. What seems like a temporary fix could prevent future pregnancies for longer and make your experience worse.
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.
Keep Your Body A Happy Home!
With safety in mind, be prepared to take the steps needed to keep an eye on your discharge or bleeding and avoid tampons. Always keep an open line of communication with your doctor so early steps can be taken if a problem looks like it’s arising.
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