Pregnancy and Yeast Infections

If you have a yeast infection while you are pregnant, you are not alone. They happen to be fairly common during pregnancy. Luckily, they are easy to treat and do not usually have an effect on your pregnancy.

The levels of acid and yeast in your vagina are generally in balance, but when an imbalance occurs it can cause a yeast infection. These imbalances are more common during pregnancy than at any other time during a woman’s life. This is particularly the case during the second trimester.

Luckily, yeast infections are relatively easy to treat and have little to no effect on your developing baby.

Yeast Infections

Caused by microscopic fungi in the Candida family, yeast infections are also called vaginitis or vaginal candidiasis. There are few things that can cause them during pregnancy.

Causes

  • High estrogen levels
    • Since your estrogen levels are elevated during pregnancy, glycogen is produced more quickly by your vagina. This makes it easier for the yeast to grow.
  • Antibiotics
    • If you are taking antibiotics, they can kill off the good bacteria that deals with the yeast. This is especially true if you have been taking them for a prolonged period of time.
  • High blood sugar
    • If your blood sugar is high, the amount of yeast will grow because of the extra sugar.
  • Intercourse
  • Douching
    • Douching is not good for your body, especially if you are not pregnant. It upsets the balance of bacteria in your vagina and can make it a favorable environment for harmful bacteria to grow.
  • Blood or semen
  • Birth control pills
    • Your hormones are already going crazy so adding birth control on top of that can cause even more imbalances.

Symptoms

  • Itching
  • Irritation
  • Soreness
  • Burning
  • Redness
  • Odorless discharge
    • This discharge is white and looks like cottage cheese.
    • May smell like yeast or bread.
    • Can also be yellowish or greenish.
    • There may also be a lot of this discharge.
  • Discomfort or pain during sex
  • Burning during urination

What to Do?

When you have a yeast infection, it can be really uncomfortable. Add that to the discomfort of having a baby on the way, and it can be really frustrating. There are things that you can do to deal with it when it happens, however.

Visit your doctor to verify that you do indeed have a yeast infection. There may be other things going on that could be more impactful on your pregnancy. Your doctor will examine your vagina and take a swab to look at under the microscope.

In rare cases, the culture will be sent to a lab to take another look. Once it has been confirmed, you will be recommended cream and suppositories, but not the oral medication Diflucan. This drug has not been proven to be safe during pregnancy.

If you leave the infection untreated, it is possible to pass it on to your baby during delivery. Thrush is the result of this, but it can also happen if your vagina is infection free. Thrush is treated with Nystatin.

It might take up to 10 to 14 days for the infection to go away or for you to find relief from it. Once it has cleared up, it may be useful to use a drying powder that is starch free or Nystatin to prevent it from coming back.

If you end up not having a yeast infection, other measures will be taken to take care of whatever is going on. Since yeast infections have a lot of the same symptoms as some STDs, it is critical to see your doctor if you are having any of these symptoms. If no improvement occurs within three days, contact your doctor again to see where to go from there.

Prevention

There are ways to lessen your chances of getting a yeast infection during pregnancy. By taking these measures, you are ensuring that you are doing the best that you can to take care of yourself. This is essential to having a healthy pregnancy.

  • Underwear
    • Wear something breathable and make sure that you avoid tight pants and pantyhose. Synthetic ones should be especially avoided.
    • Going commando at night allows air to get to your genitals and keeps more circulation going.
  • Exercise
    • Remove a wet bathing suit quickly after swimming and change your underwear after you work out, especially if you break a sweat. Preventing the growth of bacteria from sweat or chlorine is important.
  • Bathing
    • Bubble baths, scented laundry detergent, feminine hygiene sprays, and perfumed soaps can all cause irritation that can lead to yeast infections.
    • Use only warm water to clean your genitals and never use a douche. Douching, in general, is not good for your genital health.
    • Do not douche.
  • Wiping
    • Always wipe going from front to back when you use the bathroom. This prevents bacteria from getting into the vagina and causing problems.
    • Avoid scented or colored toilet paper.
  • Diet
    • Eating yogurt with live active cultures can help to keep your vagina and your gut balanced bacterially. Look for ‘lactobacillus acidophilus’ on the yogurt container.
    • Limit the amount of sugar that you have in your diet. Sugar stimulates the growth of yeast.

Yeast infections are common in pregnant women and easy to take care of, as long as you are taking care of yourself and seeing your doctor when any problems arise. Going too long without taking care of an infection can lead to further issues.

Pregnancy is a wonderful time sprinkled with daily discomfort. Any unnecessary discomfort may cause stress on the pregnancy and should be taken care of immediately. With yeast infections, it is not worth dealing with how uncomfortable they are.

When you have symptoms, it is important to talk to your doctor to rule out any other problems. As long as you do this, your baby will be healthy and so will you. Taking care of your body during pregnancy is crucial for both you and your child.

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