Originally published: 15.FEB.2021
Article updated: 08.MAY.2024

Medically reviewed by Dr. Sarah Conway

Vaginal discharge, also known as cervical mucus, exists to keep the vagina healthy and clean - meaning its primary purpose is to protect you against infection and/or irritation!¹ The color, amount, and consistency of your discharge can differ for everyone and can change depending on where you are in your cycle, including the lead-up to your period.²

This is what you should know about discharge before your period - including the most common types of discharge that may appear before your period, how to know if your discharge is normal, and whether or not your discharge is a sign of pregnancy.

See also: Brown Discharge: What does it mean?

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Discharge before your period: What does it mean?

What are the stages of vaginal discharge before your period?

It’s completely normal to experience a change in vaginal discharge throughout your menstrual cycle. A hormone shift can cause your cervical mucus to change in texture, volume, and color.² The amount of discharge can vary too for many reasons such as pregnancy, being sexually active, or birth control.¹

In general, however, for those with a 28-day cycle, it may look a little something like the below: ²

  • Days 1-4 Menstrual blood followed by dry or tacky discharge
  • Days 4-6: Sticky. Slightly damp and white.
  • Days 7-9: Creamy, yogurt-like consistency. Wet and cloudy.
  • Days 10-14: Stretchy and resembles raw egg whites. Slippery and very wet.
  • Days 14-28: Dry until menstruation occurs.

It’s important to note that if you take hormonal contraception, you might not notice a change in your discharge. This is because your progesterone and estrogen levels are more constant in comparison to those not taking contraception.

What does white vaginal discharge mean?

It is normal for your discharge to change throughout your cycle and a clear, milky white, or off-white discharge is considered a healthy discharge. ² This can happen between your period and ovulation.

Is white discharge a sign of period coming or pregnancy?

The substance related to your menstrual cycle is known as cervical mucus. This is what some women use to identify when they’re most fertile. ³

Before ovulation, you can expect your mucus to be thick, white, and dry. Just before ovulation, the mucus will turn clear and slippery - this makes it easy for sperm to swim up to meet an egg at ovulation (if you want to get pregnant - this is usually the best time). ³

How many days before period does white discharge start?

During the follicular phase - the time between the first day of the period and ovulation, you may experience white or creamy mucus.³

It’s important to remember that not everyone’s menstrual cycle is the same - which means not everyone will experience the same types and forms of discharge or mucus. If you’re worried about yours, it’s important to speak with your doctor.

See also: Green Vaginal Discharge: What is it and What Causes the Symptoms?

What does creamy vaginal discharge mean?

In the days leading up to ovulation, estrogen levels rise and many women may experience a milky white discharge with a thick, creamy consistency. Immediately before and during ovulation, the mucus will become clear stretchy and slippery. ³

See also: Yellow Vaginal Discharge: Should you be Worried?

How do I know if my discharge is normal?

While vaginal discharge is undoubtedly a natural occurrence, unfortunately, it’s not often spoken about - which can leave women with several questions. This includes how to know if their discharge is ‘normal’.

It’s important to remember that not everyone will experience the same types and forms of discharge or mucus. If you have any concerns it’s always good to check in with a healthcare provider. Talk to them about what is normal for you, they can guide your situation.

According to the NHS, vaginal discharge is not usually anything to worry about if it:¹

  • It doesn’t have a strong or unpleasant smell
  • Is clear or white
  • Is thick and sticky
  • The consistency is slippery and wet

Signs your discharge may not be 'normal'

If you’ve noticed a change in the smell, color, texture or amount of discharge or if you are experiencing any other symptoms- you should consult with a healthcare provider.

Vaginal discharge can be a sign of an infection if it: ²

  • Causes itching.
  • Causes swelling.
  • Has a bad or fishy-smelling odor.
  • Is green, yellow, or gray.
  • Looks like cottage cheese or pus.
  • Causes pelvic pain or pain when you pee.

Examples of infections that can cause a change in discharge as well as other symptoms include: ⁴ ⁵ ⁶

  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Yeast infections
  • Chlamydia and gonorrhea

See also: STIs That Cause Discharge: What Does Your Discharge Mean?

What does discharge look like before period if pregnant?

Vaginal discharge isn’t a clear sign of pregnancy. It is normal however for some women to experience more discharge than before when pregnant.⁷

Vaginal discharge can play an important role in preventing any infections traveling up into the womb during pregnancy. This discharge is typically thin, clear, or milky white.⁷

A change in the consistency, smell, or appearance of vaginal discharge can sometimes indicate an infection.² It’s important to speak with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.

LetsGetChecked offers a range of STD testing options as well as a Vaginitis Test. Talk to your healthcare provider about the most suitable testing options for you.

LetsGetChecked tests arrive in discreet packaging with a return envelope and clear instructions inside. Online results will be available within ~2-5 days and our dedicated clinical team will be available to answer any questions you may have throughout the process.

Please note that this content is for informational use only and is not a substitute for medical advice. This content cannot diagnose or provide information about treatment. Consult with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns or need specific medical advice relating to any symptoms, conditions, diagnosis, or treatment. Do not delay seeking medical advice, and do not disregard professional medical advice based on this content. Your healthcare provider can provide the most suitable guidance based on your individual situation.

Add descriptive tag

Buy a Vaginitis Test

Check your vaginal health with our Vaginitis Test. Treatment is also available in line with clinical guidelines.


  1. NHS.Vaginal discharge. Online: NHS.uk
  2. Cleveland Clinic. Vaginal Discharge. Online: My.clevelandclinic.org
  3. Cleveland Clinic. Cervical mucus. Online: My.clevelandclinic.org
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diseases Characterized by Vulvovaginal Itching, Burning, Irritation, Odor or Discharge. Online: Cdc.gov
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chlamydia. Online: Cdc.gov
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gonorrhea. Online: Cdc.gov
  7. NHS. Vaginal discharge in pregnancy. Online: NHS.uk