How To Treat Yeast Infection During Pregnancy (You Can Pass It To Your Newborn)Oral anti-fungal medications are not recommended for pregnant women.by Rachel Perez .
A pregnant woman’s body is working double-time to nourish another life growing inside her. This multi-tasking and the surge in hormones make her more prone to infections, especially down there.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says nearly 75% of women have had a yeast infection at least once. It’s one of the most common vaginal infections during pregnancy, and commonly occurs during the second trimester of pregnancy.
Thankfully, it poses no significant threat to you or your baby, but it can cause a lot of discomforts. It's best to treat it as soon as possible to avoid complications.
Cause of yeast infection in pregnancy
According to the American Pregnancy Association, “yeast infection occurs when the normal levels of acid and yeast in the vagina are out of balance, which allows the yeast to overgrow.” It’s typically caused by an overgrowth of an otherwise healthy vaginal fungus called Candida albicans, which is why it's also commonly called vaginal candidiasis.
The rise in hormone levels during pregnancy can disrupt your vagina’s pH balance. Excess moisture down there, a.k.a. the increased vaginal discharge during pregnancy, can also affect your vaginal pH imbalance, making your vagina a more conducive environment for fungal growth.
Outside hormonal changes during pregnancy, a yeast infection can be caused by the following:
- Hormonal changes before your period arrives
- Taking birth control pills or other hormonal supplements
- Taking antibiotics or steroids
- High blood sugar, diabetes
- Vaginal intercourse
Symptoms of yeast infection in pregnancyADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Some symptoms of a yeast infection may be similar to other vaginal infections and a variety of sexually transmitted diseases. It’s another reason why you shouldn’t ignore any of these symptoms:
- White or tan (sometimes yellowish or greenish) -colored vaginal discharge with a consistency that is lumpy or similar to cottage cheese, and either odorless or smells like yeast or bread
- Pain, redness, itching, burning sensation, or irritation of the lips of the vagina (vulva)
- Redness and swelling of the vulva
- Pain or burning sensation during urination
- Pain or discomfort during intercourse
If you’ve never had a yeast infection before you got pregnant, you need to consult with your doctor regarding your symptoms. It’s also not so easy to differentiate normal leukorrhea or vaginal discharge during pregnancy characterized as thin, milky, and mild-smelling.
Diagnosing a yeast infection during pregnancy
If you suspect a yeast infection, consult your doctor. You want to be sure, so you can get treated accordingly and not prolong your condition or make it worse.
To diagnose a yeast infection, your doctor can diagnose a yeast infection with a simple vaginal culture. He or she (or a clinician) will insert a cotton swab in your vagina to collect a sample of your discharge and then look at it under a microscope.
Treatment for yeast infection during pregnancy
Once confirmed that you have a yeast infection, your doctor may prescribe over-the-counter creams, ointments, and suppositories. These may include clotrimazole, miconazole, or terconazole. “These products can be used at any point during pregnancy and don’t pose a risk of birth defects or other pregnancy complications,” says Dr. Yvonne Butler Tobah, M.D., an OB-GYN at the Mayo Clinic.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOWRecommended Videos
“Oral medication isn’t recommended if you’re pregnant,” Dr. Tobah stressed. The oral anti-fungal medication, fluconazole, which can be an easier course of treatment, has not been proven safe for pregnant and lactating women. Some research suggests it could cause birth defects in babies exposed to high doses.
Medication may resolve a yeast infection only temporarily. It can return on and off after you deliver your baby and may require repeated treatment.
Complications of yeast infection in pregnancy
While having a yeast infection will not negatively affect your pregnancy, you need to be treated to avoid complications. If you go into labor and have a yeast infection, you can pass it to your newborn as e baby moves through your birth canal and out your vagina.
The fungus that causes vaginal yeast infections can also cause thrush in a newborn. It’s a condition described as a yeast imbalance in the mouth wherein your baby might develop white patches in the mouth. Your baby can then pass it back to you via breastfeeding. It’s easily treated, but you may prefer not to put your baby at risk in the first place.
Preventing yeast infection in pregnancy
It’s hard to control your hormones during pregnancy. You can take extra care of your vaginal area, keeping it dry and allowing air to circulate down there. Try the following:
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- Practice proper hygiene; always wipe from front to back.
- Only use gentle, unscented soaps when washing your vagina.
- Make sure your vaginal area is dry before wearing your underwear.
- Wear cotton, breathable undergarments.
- Sleep in your undies (or without one at all!) to allow the area to breathe.
- Dry and change clothes as soon as possible after swimming.
- Don’t douche or use vaginal sprays or deodorants, scented wash soaps, or do bubble baths.
- Avoid too much sugar or refined carbs; yeast loves sugar.
- Drink lots of water and pee regularly to help flush out infection-causing bacteria.
- Include yogurt and other products containing live lactobacillus species in your diet.
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