Yeast infections during pregnancy: How to treat a yeast infection effectively
According statistics from America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 75% of all adult women have had at least one yeast infection in their lifetime. Interestingly enough, yeast infections are also the most common vaginal infection during pregnancy, and if you’re a mummy-to-be, you might develop a yeast infection at some point in those 9 months.
So, how do you deal with a yeast infection, and make sure it doesn’t affect your unborn child? Read on to find out more!
What causes yeast infections?
In a nutshell, yeast infections happen when you experience an overgrowth of the vaginal fungus Candida albicans.
Why are you exceptionally susceptible to yeast infections during pregnancy? Well, when you’re pregnant, your estrogen levels will rise, throwing off the balance of bacteria and yeast in your vagina. This allows the yeast to grow more quickly, and might result in an infection.
How can you tell when you have a yeast infection?
If you’re experiencing abnormal discharge during your pregnancy, there’s a chance that you could have a yeast infection.
To be clear, we’re not talking about the thin, milky discharge that women get during pregnancy. If you have a yeast infection, you’ll have discharge that is white, lump and odourless. On top of that, your vulva (the area right outside the vagina) might also start to itch, and you might experience pain and discomfort when you’re urinating, or having sexual intercourse.
Are yeast infections during pregnancy dangerous?
Yeast infections are more annoying than anything, but you do want to make sure that you’ve treated your infection by the time you go into labour. If you deliver while you have a yeast infection, you might pass the infection to your baby.
Assuming that’s the case, your baby is likely to develop white patches in the mouth (the official term is thrush), and this might be passed back to you when you breastfeed. If this happens, though, an easy fix is to use a mild antifungal medication (for your baby) and an antifungal cream (for you).
How to prevent yeast infections during pregnancy
Want to err on the side of caution? Here are a few things you can do to prevent yeast infections:
- Wear cotton underwear that are breathable
- Sleep without underwear at night
- Opt for showers instead of baths
- Use unscented soaps to wash your genital area
- Do not use douches or vaginal sprays
- Wipe from front to back when going to the bathroom
- Dry your genital area thoroughly before putting on your clothes after showering
- Consume less sugar and refined grain products; these help yeast to grow and thrive
How to treat yeast infections during pregnancy
Instead of simply purchasing over-the-counter medication, go ahead and make an appointment with your ob-gyn. You’ll want to make sure that you actually do have a yeast infection – and rule out the possibility that there are other bacterial infections in play. Based on the diagnosis, your ob-gyn will recommend a suitable oral medication or antifungal cream for you.