Even when not pregnant, yeast infections are no fun. Coupled with all of the changes your body goes through during pregnancy your hormones also get pretty disrupted, so don't be surprised if you do develop a yeast infection in the months leading up to the birth of your little bundle of joy. Yeast infections are truly nothing to be ashamed of since they are the second most common type of vaginal infections that women develop, with many women having repeat infections. We have summed up the most prominent questions mommies have about this condition to give you some peace of mind and help make this time in your life even more joyful than it already is.
1. What Is A Yeast Infection?
You are usually more susceptible to a yeast infection when your chemical and hormonal levels are disturbed. This chemical or hormonal disturbance can lead to an imbalance of vaginal microbes and an abnormal amount of sugar production in vaginal excretions. All of these factors contribute to a yeast overgrowth in the vagina, called a yeast infection.
This is usually a very uncomfortable condition but can be quickly dealt with and should be diagnosed by a medical professional, especially if you have never had a yeast infection before.
Diagnosis of this condition is painless and quick and can be done with a urine sample or a vaginal swab. Luckily, these types of infections are not really serious, and if dealt with in the correct way, will have no lasting implications.
2. Symptoms Of A Yeast Infection
These symptoms may not be experienced all at once. The longer you have a yeast infection the more severe the symptoms usually become, so it is best to get yourself checked out sooner rather than later. It is important to make an appointment with your healthcare provider if you think you may have a yeast infection and not to self-medicate. Yeast infection symptoms may include:
- An increase in discharge that may be white or slightly yellow in color.
- A thick, cottage-cheese type of discharge
- Yeasty smell (but can also be odorless)
- Burning, itching and inflammation of the vaginal area
- Burning sensation during urination or intercourse
If you think you have a yeast infection it is important to contact a medical professional as soon as possible. Yeast infections have a lot of symptoms in common with other conditions and diseases so it is important to get checked out, especially if you are pregnant.
3. Yeast Infection Prevention: What Can You Do?
This question is largely dependent on what caused your yeast infection in the first place. Yeast infection prevention can be easily done if the main culprit is not your pregnancy hormones. If indeed your yeast infection was caused by pregnancy hormone fluctuations, there is little to be done but to treat it as soon as possible.
If you are convinced that other causes triggered your infection, here are a few things you can do to minimize infection in the future:
- Wear loose clothing that is made out of cotton, that's very breathable and that has been washed with unscented soap that contains no harsh chemicals.
- Practice good personal hygiene and always wipe from front to back when using the restroom.
- Stick to a balanced diet and exercise often.
- Be sure to shower immediately after workouts and after swimming and don't wear damp clothes for an unnecessarily long time.
- Do not douche, use bubble bath or scented items near your vaginal area.
- Take a full spectrum probiotic daily.
Although hormonal changes may the cause for yeast infections during pregnancy these tips will help to promote general vaginal health and can help to minimize the occurrence and severity of yeast infections during your pregnancy.
4. Treatment Of Yeast Infections Whilst Pregnant
Although you may have had a yeast infection before and probably know the route to recovery quite well, it is very important that you do not self-medicate whilst you are pregnant. Many of the usual oral medication can be harmful to your baby so it really is best to leave the treatment plan in the hands of a professional.
Doctors usually recommend vaginal creams and suppositories but not all vaginal creams and suppositories are safe to use during pregnancy. Since you can't really make use of oral medication it may take a bit longer for your yeast infection to clear up completely. However, most infections will be cleared within 14 days of starting treatment. If you notice no changes after 3 days of treatment, or if you suffer from a continual reinfection, please do not hesitate to call your doctor again.
It is also important to not have intercourse whilst you have a yeast infection since your partner can also get infected and might end up reinfecting you. For peace of mind, it may be best to treat both parties if this has occurred, especially if you are expecting.
Do not try and treat yeast infections on your own whilst pregnant, even if you have had a yeast infection before. Some thrush medicine can be harmful to your baby, so it is best to check with a medical professional before administering any treatment.
5. Can A Yeast Infection Harm My Baby?
It will be a great relief to know that yeast infections do not harm or affect your unborn baby in any way, if you get them treated promptly. If you leave them untreated there may be a minuscule chance of the infection getting into your bloodstream and then affecting your baby, but this is very rare.
If you do happen to have a yeast infection by the time you go into labor you might pass the infection on during the delivery process. Babies usually contract it as they pass through the birth canal and then develop yeast infections in their mouths, but this can also be easily treated.
If you are worried about the effects that a yeast infection can have on your baby whilst giving birth, speak to your medical advisor. Nystatin are perfectly safe to be used on babies and there are also some natural remedies you can try.
Don't Fret Too Much
If you are pregnant it is important to put your health first and to take care of yourself and your unborn baby as best you can. If you know you are prone to yeast infections it might be a good idea to discuss this with your doctor to determine the best treatment plan for you throughout your pregnancy. If you have just developed your first yeast infection, don't stress! This is an easily treatable condition with no long-lasting health consequences for you or your baby. Pregnancy plays havoc on your body but there are plenty of ways you can implement a lifestyle which incorporates yeast infection prevention strategies to push your comfort to the next level not only during your pregnancy, but also for day to day living.