Vaginal yeast infections are quite common among pregnant women. This is because, during pregnancy, hormonal changes such as higher estrogen levels may disrupt the pH balance of the vaginal, thereby making the woman more prone to yeast infections. Although common, yeast infections do not pose any risk to pregnancy even though they might cause uncomfortable and unpleasant symptoms.
The major symptoms of yeast infections during pregnancy include vaginal itching, burning, swelling or redness in the vulva as well as a white, thick discharge that looks like cottage cheese. If you are pregnant and experience any of these symptoms, it’s imperative to see your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Bear in mind that these same symptoms are also associated with other conditions such as bacterial vaginosis and sexually transmitted infections (STI) such as chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Yeast infections during pregnancy can be caused by several factors, some of which include taking antibiotics that changes the balance of yeast and bacteria in the vaginal and having sexual intercourse with a partner who already has yeast infections. More so, women with certain medical conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes and HIV can easily get yeast infections when they are pregnant. In addition, medications like corticosteroids can also hinder the immune system from working well, thereby making pregnant women more susceptible to different kinds of infections, including yeast infections.
Even though, yeast infections can be safely treated with over-the-counter medications like antifungal creams, ointments and suppositories, pregnant women are advised to seek help from a doctor before self-medicating since pregnancy in itself is associated with many complications.
However, doctors typically recommend medications for the treatment of yeast infections during pregnancy. These medications are actually safe and can be used at any stage of pregnancy without resulting in adverse side effects, like birth defects and other pregnancy complications.
Fortunately, yeast infections can be easily prevented during pregnancy through measures like avoiding tight pants and pantyhose, wiping from front to back after using the toilet paper, and wearing cotton underwear. Women suffering from diabetes can also prevent yeast infections by controlling their blood sugar levels. Research also suggests that eating yogurt with live cultures can help prevent yeast infections.