Yeast infections can sometimes occur during pregnancy, and expectant mothers wonder whether or not these infections will negatively impact their unborn children. In this article, we will provide information on identifying, treating, and preventing yeast infections, as well as answer the question, “Are yeast infections common in pregnancy?”
What are Yeast Infections?
A certain amount of yeast bacteria is always present in the vaginal canal and is considered part of a healthy bacterial makeup. When there is an overgrowth of the fungus candida albicans present in the vaginal canal, bacterial vaginosis or a yeast infection occurs, resulting in various uncomfortable symptoms.
Causes and Symptoms of Yeast Infections
The root cause of developing a yeast infection, also referred to as vulvovaginal candidiasis, is a change in the balance of bacteria in the vagina. Vaginal yeast infections may develop because of many different internal and external factors. These factors can include:
- Taking Antibiotics
- Poorly Managed Diabetes
- Compromised Immunity (Resulting from HIV or medication suppressing the immune system)
- Sexual Contact
- Hormone Changes (Resulting from birth control or other causes)
Common symptoms of a yeast infection include:
- Itching in the genital area.
- Burning sensations during urination and intercourse.
- Redness or swelling in the vulva.
- Thick, white vaginal discharge resembling cottage cheese.
How to Treat Yeast Infections
Treating a yeast infection is very simple, as over-the-counter medications, vaginal creams, or suppositories designed to treat the condition often work quickly. Treatments for yeast infections can usually be purchased at any drugstore and administered from the comfort of your own home.
Are Yeast Infections Common in Pregnancy?
Yeast infections commonly occur during pregnancies. The elevated estrogen levels present in a pregnant body can upset the pH balance of yeast and bacteria in the vaginal canal and cause an overgrowth to occur. Yeast infections occur most commonly during the second trimester of pregnancy.
Are Yeast Infections During Pregnancy Dangerous?
Pregnant women may worry that a yeast infection, or the treatment of one, will have a negative impact on their unborn child. However, yeast infections will not harm a fetus. Additionally, it is safe to treat a yeast infection during pregnancy using vaginal creams and suppositories containing miconazole or clotrimazole. Oral medication containing fluconazole should be avoided as it may cause birth defects.
While yeast infections cannot harm an unborn child, yeast infections can pass into a baby’s mouth during delivery, causing a condition known as “Thrush.” For this reason, and because uncomfortable symptoms of a yeast infection may worsen over time, it is important that you seek treatment.
Speak with your general practitioner or your OB/GYN to find a yeast infection treatment that is right for you.
How To Prevent a Yeast Infection During Pregnancy
To prevent a yeast infection during pregnancy, or at any time, make sure to do the following:
- Wipe from front to back when eliminating.
- Wear cotton underwear to keep genitals dry and let the area breathe.
- Avoid douching, as this can interrupt the natural balance of vaginal bacteria.
- Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing.
- Change out of wet clothing right away.
- Avoid scented toilet paper, bubble baths, and other personal hygiene products.
- Avoid very hot baths and hot tubs.
- Control sugar intake and actively monitor diabetes.
- Eat yogurt with live cultures.
- Get plenty of rest.
While the steps above may help you avoid getting a yeast infection during pregnancy, remember that you don’t have to panic if one does occur. This condition is perfectly normal and easily treated.
Take the Road to Village Emergency Centers
The female body undergoes many changes throughout pregnancy, and with the help of an OB/GYN, those changes can be understood, expected, and prepared for. If a yeast infection does occur during pregnancy, or you experience any troubling or unknown symptoms that cause you concern, remember to take the road to Village to get the care you deserve. Visit our website to find your Village today!